Skyrim: RPGs trendsetter, or letdown of the year?
Bill Walter, contributing writer
January 3, 2012
Filed under Features
In a land of snow, grime, grit, and chaos, you alone are left to decide your destiny. Your will alone is what will decide whether you become a saint or villain. This is the basic idea behind the groundbreaking game, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. With Skyrim, Bethesda Softworks has taken the framework of their successful titles Oblivion and Fallout 3 and combined it with the lore of older titles Morrowind, Arena, and Daggerfall to create what quite possibly could be the defining roleplaying game of the decade.
Set in the wintery, mythical world of Skyrim, the game takes place in a high fantasy medieval realm populated by humans, elves, beasts and demons that is crumbling due to civil war and the return of dragons and contains over 300 hours of gameplay. While at first glance this may turn away casual gamers who are used to popping off headshots in Call of Duty, to pass this title up would be idiotic. There is something for every type of person, gamer or not, within this game. Whether you want to complete quests and gather loot or play the game like Grand Theft Auto and go on a massive killing spree is entirely up to you.
What stands out immediately once you begin to play Skyrim is the extraordinary beauty and level of detail that radiates from every surface and creature. Utilizing the new Creation Engine,Bethesdahas made a world that is both visually fantastical and surprisingly real. Furthermore, it is a world that is huge; the size of the game world is mindboggling. The game feels similar to Oblivion and Fallout in terms of combat and movement but is drastically improved. Specifically, you are now able to duel wield weapons to chop enemies into to mincemeat and combine spells in from both hands to roast them like chicken. But the best part of the game, like every RPG, is the quest system. Within a few hours of gameplay, it is possible to complete quests that range from fighting dragons, resurrecting long dead demons, and becoming a cannibal. The quests and story are both mature and gripping, containing moments of despair, misery, and suspense. Of course, this is not to say all of the game is dramatic; instances such as one where a little girl extorts money from a pudgy preteen or another where a giant beats crabs to death with his eight-foot club add comic relief. Yet the aforementioned moments are mere scratches on the surface, for there are, as mentioned earlier, over 300 scripted hours of gameplay and countless more due to the game’s generation of random quests.
To review this game in its entirety in a half or so of a page is like attempting to explain string-theory or the theory of gravity in ten minutes. In the end, Skyrim is a game that you must try yourself in order to understand. If you played Oblivion or Fallout 3 and enjoyed either or both, then you will love Skyrim. If you haven’t played or didn’t enjoy either of the aforementioned titles, play Skyrim nonetheless; for who wouldn’t want to set entire hordes of beasts or enemies on fire rather than do Calculus homework?