The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
|Platforms:||PlayStation, Xbox 360, PC|
Since its beginning in 1994, when first Elder Scrolls game titled 'Arena' had been released, the series has brought many things into world of role-playing games. Very larg game map (randomly generated) in a Daggerfall world, creating of your own spells in Morrowind or riding a horse in Oblivion. But most importantly hours and hours of fun in a living and breathing world with its own elaborate history where you could spend the whole day just reading books and scrolls describing its past.
So far the last part of Elder Scrolls story was released in 2001. Skyrim takes place roughly two hundred years after the events of previous game in a province of a same name in a north part of Tamriel. During a duel, local king has been murdered, which led to an uprising and civil war through the whole country. Soon after these events start, you arrive, together with the king's murderer, Ulfric Stormcloak, into a small fortress called Helgen, where you are to be executed. Nevertheless you are saved from executioner's axe by a sudden attack of a dragon Alduin, who brings further destruction into the nordic province. What is more dangerous, people of the whole country fighting against each other or dragons? Could this prove to be fatal to the fate of whole Tamriel?
Needless to say, your journey to save the world begins, once again. Even though the main story line takes even less time than it took in Oblivion (and much less than it took in Morrowind), what we've always liked about Elder Scrolls games was the "spice". After you successfully break loose from Helgen, you are presented with fully open world to explore and even though game indirectly guides you to the nearest village, you don't have to oblige and you are free to explore the world totally on your own. In comparison to Cyrodiil, Tamriel looks slightly smaller, but it feels much more interlinked and meaningful. It's like this time someone thought about every piece of cave, every ruin, every cliff or mountain, city, old stronghold or tomb. And of course everything wrapped into a gorgeous graphics.
When attending many side quests, some of the old factions come back and new ones are introduced. For example The Dark Brotherhood, Thieves Guild, Mage's Guild and The Companions who acts like a Fighters guild but soon you find out they are little bit more than. During your adventures you can also offer a helping hand to many of the daedric princes, who usually rewards you with a special item. Amount of side quests feels inexhaustible and they will often surprise in a very positive way. In one of the quests, you are forced to resolve a dispute between a little annoying talking dog and his daedric master who got tired of his comments and cast him away. On every step you are presented with bits and pieces of Tamriel's history and when you finally take liberty of visiting a library, you will just feel blown away by the amount of information and its interdependency. If you care about such things, Skyrim offers you a world with best RPG background and history in all of the Elder Scrolls series. If you don't you still have plenty of fun to experience there.
As a Dragonborn, you are able to use Shouts. Shouts are compiled using individual words that can be found throughout the whole Skyrim and which can help you in fight or in some specific situations which would be otherwise unsolvable. As usual, all skills are free to learn, so if you want to wear a heavy armor and use spells at the same time, all you have to do is train. You can pick locks on doors and chests, create potions, craft weapons or hunt animals with your bow. Possibilities are endless and even with repeated playthrough they offer hours of entertainment.
However it wouldn't be an open world game without many technical and gameplay bugs. Later patches fixed the worst cases and improved gameplay a lot, but when Skyrim had been released, the main story line for instance was utterly unplayable. Other things like backwards flying dragons, unkillable horses or rocket jumps after being hit by an ogre, remain legendary remainder of a motto "Do some beta testing if you don't want to be laugh at by half the Internet". Technical bugs leading to a frequent game crashes or practically functionless inventory layout were even considered "minor" for the first few months after game's release.
Even though there are some flaws on the beauty's face, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has already found its place next to unforgettable RPG legends which we would love to forget about only so we could play them for the first time.