January 1, 2012

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim redefines fun

To understand where I am coming from here, I have over 20 years experience with video games. I had never been heavily involved in hardcore RPGs, lacking the patience and slow progress. That all changed when I walked into a retail store with holiday money burning a hole in my pocket. I decided to give Skyrim a try- I remembered back in November that I wanted to give it a try.

From the get go, my mind was blown. It wasn't just the graphics that enhanced the experience- those seemed to fade secondary or tertiary to the amazing immersion and role playing that were taking place. With the close call at Helgen, I was hooked on this game. My interest was cemented when I left the city and began adventuring in the countryside; seeing the beautiful snow capped mountains and flowing streams.

Skyrim seems to do something... different than most video games. Not only is the game huge, it is jam packed with content and narrative. I mean seriously, the amount of stuff in this game is absurd. For the first time in a video game, I was not concerned about leveling my character. Instead, I was simply playing the game- and how I freakin' wanted to.

You learn the details of the world, and if you look close enough there is plenty of humor.

"Well, you see- the store is named the Drunken Huntsman because my brother and I were out hunting. We had too much mead, and he shot me... well... in the rump, and we decided upon a name for our new store".

Everything is believable. Most things are optional. You have so many choices that you can make, from being the sneaking bad guy to the vagabond 2-handed warrior. The perks system allows for extreme flexibility in bonus stats. There are so many fun spells, imcantations and pieces of gear that it will have anyone foaming at the mouth. Of course- there are the mother ******* dragons. Oh what fun I have slaying badass dragons.

This game has the richest soundtrack I have heard to date. Everything is vivid and has its place- this music sounds epic and magical, but of this world. Gregorian monks, chorus singing, epic battle ballads- this game has everything that I have asked for in a game- and it is extremely hard to knock points off from it.

I am playing the PC version, and I have very minor complaints. The game could have used more voice acting and a little more gore. The voice acting is AMAZING. I am not going to complain about that. I sort of wince at the fact that I have to hear very common voices all around Skyrim. The power blows would be more gratifying if a stringy esophagus was coming off of a chopped persons head. Nasty yes, but it would have been much more gratifying. I guess with the ESRB that Bethesda had its limits. Then again, what the hell about Fallout 3?

It is hard for me to explain this game in one small article. I am 30 hours into the game- a place where many gamers end their adventures in other games. Not this one- oh hell no. I'm not even a QUARTER done with this game. There are literally hundreds of hours in this game- for you to explore and enjoy. Oh- zero of it is padding. This game literally is the life sucker. If Bethesda were to ever make this series into an MMO, and apply the Skyrim formula- they could usurp World of Warcraft in a heartbeat.

I will give Skyrim the honor of a 99/100. It has officially trumped Zelda: Ocarina of Time as my best game ever made. Well done, Bethesda!

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