Review by rojse

"Elder Scrolls V - A remarkable and remarkably flawed game"

"The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" is a strange game to mark. There are times when the game lives up to all of the hype surrounding it, when you just go off in any direction you choose to and do whatever you decide to do. You want to climb a mountain or go spelunking a cave? You want to slay monsters or bandits? You want to talk to the villagers? Go on a murderous rampage and slaughter all of the villagers instead? You want to harvesting flowers and herbs? Complete quests and save the world from doom? Any and all of those are perfectly acceptable choices. Such a breadth of choices a feeling that I haven't felt playing any other game, where a mark of 10/10 feels fully and utterly justified.

And then, there are the times when the game is horribly, fatally flawed, where you suddenly find yourself falling through the texture of a mountain and can't see your avatar, when your character is stuck and constantly floating in a crack in the mountains and can't escape or fast-travel out, or when a doorway into a cave hasn't loaded up and you have to reset your console to gain access into there, or the many, many times when a load screen suddenly fails and won't load, even after waiting several minutes for the game to try to work. Graphical flaws that don't impede gameplay might be acceptable, but when you take a game back to the store to swap it for another copy in case the game is broken, but find out with the second copy of the game that it is still flawed, a mark of one or two out of ten can only be the appropriate response.

Even if I were to forget the constant and infuriating glitches (that have continued when using multiple patch fixes), there are too many other aspects of the game that annoyed and infuriated me. The difficulty is poorly-implemented - by combining legitimate skills in the game without using glitches or cheats, you can kill even the most difficult of opponents in, at most, three shots, and everything else in one and laugh as your opponents fail to inflict damage to you. Or you can find out that you're having to constantly battle ridiculously-challenging enemies with almost no way of beating them, and there is rarely an even middle ground between them. Combat itself is a farce in the truest sense of the world - you can pause in the middle of a battle, drink a million potions without a single moment passing in the game, and go back to slaughtering enemies without penalty. It makes all but the toughest battles feel extremely cheap, and it really shouldn't have been difficult to implement a time penalty for using potions or the like.

While it is true that Skyrim gives you a world to explore, it often feels like you are penalized for wanting to do so. If you want to explore when you first have the opportunity, you will often run into enemies which you have no chance of beating, or even fleeing from. Or you try to climb a mountain and find out that you can't head in the direction that you would like, and you have to go the way the game wants you to go. So, you can explore, but if you don't explore how the developers want, well, you're going to suffer the consequences.

So, the game has a score of 4/10 - it's both remarkable and remarkably flawed. It's a game that allows you to go anywhere you want, but punishes you for exploring. It's a game with beautiful graphics and ugly and gamebreaking glitches. It's a game that's ridiculously difficult and easily broken. It's a game where you can do what you want, but since there is so much that is flawed, poorly-designed, poorly-implemented, or a combination of all three, you won't really want to.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 07/30/12

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

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