Personally, I consider Skyrim to be a beautiful escape into a real Fantasy world. Sure other RPG’s will allow you to wear the shoes of a hero going on a grand adventure but none of them feel as “table-top” as Skyrim does. I think this element is the key to its draw (gamers like myself are drinking the Kool-aid hardcore) along with the beautiful real-time scenery, the impressive dialogue and the lack of loading in the massive world a la Grand Theft Auto. Imagine this scenario:
The Day A Dragon Burnt My Trainer:
I am to meet with this rude woman that I met in a tavern when I started the game in order for her to tell me about my special power. Taking to horseback, I ride the distance from the city of Whiterun, taking the time to fight off a pesky wolf or 2 when on approach of the town I hear the familiar scream of a dragon prepping to bring the pain. Looking at the rooftops I suddenly see them burst into flame as the dragon begins to terrorize the townsfolk and I am off the horse bow in hand, ready to shoot it down and force the beast to land. I did just that and as it landed and gives me a face full of flames, I circle to it’s side and unleash dual wield hell on it with my pair of health stealing swords.
The dragon dies, people run up to me gasping at my leet skills and I notice that the NPC who trained me to use that very bow was on the ground, ablaze and dead. Oh no, this means I can’t buy anymore archery skills… I will have to gain them from killing stuff! Oh no! Next thing I know the little boy who is normally playing in the village streets is running over to him going “ugh a dead body!”
This all happened and if that random dragon were to burn your town in your game, it’s pretty likely that your archery teaching elf would not have died like mine did. This is an example of how wonderfully dynamic Skyrim is. The dynamic quests and cause/effect of the choices that you make in the world is the main reason that Skyrim is talked about so heavily. Everybody wants to tell you about their freaky story or compare notes to see what you did in a certain situation.
Damn you Skyrim it’s 3am and I have work tomorrow!
The quests that you come upon in Skyrim aren’t like other RPG’s where you walk up to random guy with a question mark over his head and run to go fetch him a sword from the chest of some unknown creature. Skyrim is much more evil than that, it has a way of daisy chaining you along to where the objective is a minor piece of your adventuring. Take for instance you going to the Halls of some dead elf king to get an amulet. Along the way you will no doubt run into some ruins that you just HAVE to explore, then the ruins run deep into the ground where you find the remains of a few spelunkers who got trapped there seeing a sword of destiny and ended up starving to death. Of course you’re going to read their notes and go grab the sword… after which you can finish looking for the amulet.
This is how Skyrim strings you along and eats up the time like nobody’s business. It doesn’t help that the underground caverns and ruins are beautiful, some even have puzzles, traps and that old Indiana Jones feel. It may lead you to think that the world is an endless bastion of things to do… and it is. Walking by a stranger he may make mention of a dragon being spotted to the Northwest of town – which of course you will investigate. I mean, why not? Dragons always have a ton of gold and other cool things.
The quests’ being dynamic is just the tip of the iceberg as the game is absolutely beautiful (check out the images which are my screenshots on high). The other thing is… and I know this is going to sound like an exaggeration but.. you can be ANYTHING that you want to be! Skyrim gives you an empty shell and you can build it into anything that you want it to be. Want a ninja thief who breathes fire? You can have it. Want a Conan the Barbarian in Loin cloth and broadsword in tow? Have at it. What about a magician lord? You can be that too.
Skyrim has perk trees that will allow you to specialize heavily into a skill, so you have trees in one-handed weapons, 2 handed, alteration, conjuration, illusions, blacksmithing, there’s a bunch of them. Throughout your 80 or so levels you get to put points in any of these skills and before you know it you will be a god.
So what is Skyrim about?
Well once upon a time Drgaons were a part of Skyrim, flying around, capturing blondes and roasting villages – you know, typical dragon stuff. Then they all got wiped out for whatever reason and men grew to believe that they were extinct. When the game starts you bear witness to an actual dragon, a town is burnt to the ground and it becomes quite evident that the dragons are back. Your hero takes up arms, goes around helping people (or killing them), discovers a hidden power and the rest is history.
In other words YOU create your own story, this is just the canvas that Bethesda gives you to paint on.
What impressed me the most?
The world! It’s so huge and it’s so real. The climate changes based on regions, you meet different people with different personalities with varied problems seeking solutions. You get spontaneous attacks by bears, bandits, dragons, the undead, vampires… yes I said dragons. It’s like a little world bottled into a neat little, light-weight game on my PC. Seriously I take a trip to Skyrim and the girlfriend is like “NINJA IT’S BEEN 6 HOURS!” Ya it’s like that and much more.
What annoys me, bugs me or is just plain broken?
This can only be answered through an itemized list of whine… and Skyrim comes with it’s share of wine let me tell you; Fighting dragons, drinking wine and eating feasts… mid-battle. This is Skyrim.
- Everyone you meet is an asshole… well Imperials, I hate Imperials.
- Combat needs an overhaul… run in circles and hack em to death.
- The A.I. is laughably bad… I found it easy to trap things behind rocks while I healed…
- My worthless horse can fight… but still worthless.
- Lydia my companion is a fighting mule that knows her place and nothing else. So I’m spoiled from Mass Effect and Dragon Age… sue me!
- Cooking and eating… why bother when a potion does so much more? Skyrim food = health and stamina in small portions but the thought of it is silly. I’ve slammed 20 apples, a roast horse, some beef stew and 5 gallons of ale in the middle of a fight before, just to top off my health and stamina. This is silly, come on Bethesda give us some belly limits!
- Killing dragons is easier than killing bears and sabretooth tigers. True story.
- I’m allowed to be a man whore in Dragon Age… Skyrim forces me to behave myself. Gimme dat Isolda!
- Dirt! Everyone is dirty! Yes it’s real but damn… dirty ass people, jump in a lake or something!
- Lemme stop here before you forget how awesome Skyrim is…
All of these complaints will be fixed sooner or later via patches or the beautiful modding community. So in essence the game is frickin perfect, if you have a problem on the PC version – just fix it already and stopurbitchin! At this point and time Skyrim is my drug of choice and it’s virtual crack cocaine, it’s crack baby and I’m hitting the pipe extra hard!