Review by TitanInATux

"Ready your weapon, brave adventurer, it's time to explore a mysterious, magical world filled with things beyond your wildest dreams."

Well, to start, this game didn't deserve an EXACT 10 out of 10. No, it's more like 9.9 out of 10, but hey, close enough for me (and you too, hopefully). I will also try to keep spoilers to a minimum, so as not to ruin much of the game's element of surprise.

I'm going to be breaking up this review into pros and cons, which I suppose is to be expected. Well, I might as well start out with the cons...

Minor Glitches - Yes, there are several small flaws that came with the game, but I have to say; what game DOESN'T come with flaws?

Graphics - Occasionally, there are bugs where a weapon or item falling out of an opponents hand will suddenly end up in a strange place right before it hits the floor, e.g., behind you. This has something to do with the game having trouble deciding where the item is supposed to land. However, glitches of this sort appear to be far and in between.

Giant Fights - Well, I really don't think that this is really a CON, per se, but as it is a glitch, I thought I would include it in this section. Basically, whenever you (or any other NPC or creature) die by the hand (club, really) of a giant, you are tossed hundreds of feet above the earth, your character careening wildly above the mountain tops. These scenes will cause you to positively crack up laughing, as the sight of a 500 pound bear being tossed hundreds of feet above the frosty ground below is simply hilarious.

Wow, and really, when I think about, yeah, those are the only cons I can think of. Crazy, huh? Of course, that's not to say that YOU won't run across some odd, random glitch, it's just that I never have.

Pros --

Well, many features have taken a big step up from Oblivion. For instance, I'm sure you remember how in Oblivion there were only like 10 voice actors? Well, in Skyrim, you will find the pleasant surprise of there being over 70 voice actors in the game, probably more.

Talking (to NPCs) has also been improved greatly, as in Skyrim, the world no longer freezes around you, and you have the choice of roaming around the place while the NPC talking informs you of his (or her) troubles.

On a similar note, people in the world now look and act MUCH more realistically. That's to say, their schedule isn't comprised of the exact same thing, day in and day out. Another little thing that made the game a tad better was the addition of children. If I recall correctly, the closest thing to a child in the other Elder Scrolls games was the Adoring Fan, in Oblivion. Oh, and about that adoring fan, you will find out in Skyrim that he killed the Grand Champion of his time, by "posing as a starstruck fan"! Rather rude of him...

Combat - Another feature has been greatly improved. Now, you will hear some people complain, saying things like,
"Oh, all you have to do is block and then power attack over and over. Lame."
My response to that? It is ENTIRELY your choice if you want to do that. Okay, yes, you CAN do that, but that is 100% your decision, not the game's.

Now that that's out of the way...A nice addition to Skyrim is the ability to dual-wield weapons. You decide, a longsword in one hand and a spell in the other? Maybe a plain longsword in one hand and a powerful enchanted dagger in the other? How about-- Yes, you're right, enough of that...

I must say, there isn't much that compares to the pleasure of standing in the middle of a clearing at twilight, as the last glimmers of light slowly fade, and then equipping a powerful flame spell in both hands, preparing to roast the dark creatures of the night that are sure to start slinking out from their slimey lairs and other such hidey-holes.

Dragons - Okay, Bethesda positively outdid themselves here. The detail on the dragon's is incredible, and you are sure to recieve at least a tiny twinge of anxiety and awe when a dragon comes roaring over the treetops, fire flowing from its gaping maw. Dragons will even attack the larger towns, the cities, to be exact, which is something that would never happen in Oblivion. Back in Oblivion, you could limp into town half dead, having barely escaped a fight with two of those blasted will-o-the-wisps, and there was always that feeling...You knew you were safe, but once you had fled successfully, there was just no chance that you would die. In Skyrim? Everywhere is a possible target for a dragon.

Level Scaling - This is perhaps one of the greatest things that was fixed in Skyrim. Ugh, I'm sure you remember, how in Oblivion, a bandit wearing glass armor and wielding a daedric warhammer would run out from under a bridge and demand...yeah...100 gold...
Anyway, this was fixed in Skyrim. Now, there are places where those lowly bandits will always lurk, and there are places where vampire patriarchs will always creep about as well, no matter what your level is. Yes, if you are a low level, it's in your best interest (if dying is one of your concerns) that you try not to go too high up on a mountain, as you never know what kind of dark creature will be waiting there, biding its time until you emerge so that it may devour you for an afternoon snack.

Killmoves - These positively rock. There was this one time, I was playing a stealth character...I was assassinating this person, just for the heck of it...I was creeping up behind him, just waiting for the right time to strike. I made my move. I jumped up with my enchanted dagger and slit the woman's throat from behind. I chuckled in delight and dragged the corpse off behing a warehouse, where no one would ever find it.

Letting Your Character Develop - Back in Oblivion, you always had to stick to that ONE class of skills, which severely limited your options. Playing a sword wielding, spell casting, charming assassin...well, in Oblivion, trying to create a character like that meant that your death was almost assured at higher levels. In Skyrim? Not so. You CAN be that sword wielding, spell casting, charming assassin, and there's no penalty to you.

Contracts On Your Head - Sometimes, whenever some-one catches you stealing something from them, they will send a group of hired thugs to take you out. The same if you kill somebody; If you kill some-one and get away with the crime, a relative of the deceased will send a group of thugs to kill you. And sometimes, they will even send...............The Dark Brotherhood. That's right. Not a typo. They WILL send a hardened assassin to end your life. Cool, huh?

Which brings me to another nice little quirk about Skyrim. Remember how frustrating it was, back in Oblivion, when, if you were killing somebody in a shack in the middle of nowhere, and if they saw you, you were a wanted man, no matter what part of Cyrodiil you were in? Now, if you kill all witnesses to the crime, your bounty poofs right out of existence. Extremely handy when you decide to undertake the Dark Brotherhood questline. Also, if you commit a crime, you won't suddenly be known as a criminal all over Skyrim, your bounty stays in the hold you were in where the crime was committed. There are nine holds. For example, if you commit a crime in one of the holds, if you manage to get far enough away, the guards will stop trying to arrest you; you won't have a bounty on your head in eight of the nine holds.

However, if you do go back to the hold in which you committed the crime, the guards will again try to arrest you. You can also, if your bounty is small enough and your speechcraft skill high enough, persuade the guard that you aren't worth the trouble, and he'll let you go. Your bounty won't disappear, you will simply have a little more time as a free man.

Well, there you have it. I've informed you of many of the nicer features of Skyrim, and I'll let you take it from here. In my honest opinion, this game is worth the money. DEFINITELY worth the money.

So, the final score is 9.9/10, which I believe rounds up to 10/10.

Toss all of those other Sandbox RPGs out, this one takes the spotlight and will remain there until TES VI comes out. Now go, Dovahkiin, slay the foul beasts of the mountains, travel across the world to speak with the mysterious Greybeards, create a legacy which will last throughout the ages.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 03/09/12

Game Release: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (US, 11/10/11)

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