Well, i’ve been playing it for long enough, and finally the time has arrived for me to review, the elder scrolls V, Skyrim.
First off, if there is anything at all you want to know about the lore of Tamriel, it’s people, it’s Gods or anything else, i suggest watching Shoddy Cast on Youtube. There doing a lore series at the moment that is so detailed and involved, it was educating me, and i really get into these sort’s of games. I mean, i was reading the books, learning the legends and everything and still, they’ve managed to say things so early in the series i didn’t know about. Here is the first episode on the Daderic princes; it’s really worth a look!
So anyway, i started where everyone else did, with there head on the chopping block. I don’t think i shall ever get tired of the imprisoned/convict start that Bethesda go for, because it’s the perfect explanation as to why you start with nothing; as long as you don’t apply that knowledge to your magical skill.
The game flows very well from the ending of the last game, which again lead me to question why i have no magic skill! Still, transferable characters would make the need for exploring to level up a little redundant, so annoyingly, that makes sense to…. but i’m not happy about it!
In Skyrim, as with all elder scrolls games, shit has hit the fan. It’s the forth era and the long dead dragons have been res-erected by Alduin, eater of souls and destroyer of the world. He is strongly based, as i believe all of Skyrim is, on the Viking beliefs of a great dragon like beast being the bringer of Ragnarok. The people all so seem very viking, living in mountains, unaffected by cold; a little brainless and love to swing big battle axes over there heads while shouting at there enemy, and upon victory return to the local tavern for mead, music and merriment with tales to tell.
If it wen’t for all the pesky dragons and undead guarded crypts, it would be a perfect place for the Scottish to live. All so, there greatest hero and leader of the old empire Tiber Septim, was so heroic and such a great warrior and leader, strategist and ruler, he was granted eternal life as a divine upon his death, as many legendary hero’s in Viking lore were granted.
Anyway, moving on from viking halls to the game. As always, you can go your own way with an elder scrolls game, but in this one you are more free to do that than in others. In Oblivion for example, you could choose your character at the start and then go off and get good at whatever you want, but you were still bound to that character and it’s perks throughout the entire game.
On the other hand in Skyrim, you are free to get good at whatever you want, whenever you want, using the star map system. Each time you level up, you are able to unlock or improve one perk. These can be saved up or spent and you can improve whatever you want. If you want to be an archer, but with great heavy armor skill, or a mage who’s also a superb pickpocket, or even a thief who can swing a war-hammer with the best of them, you can do it. There are no limits.
So, what about the land of Skyrim. Well, it’s at war between the imperials and the storm cloaks. Now obviously, i picked a side. You can play the entire game without getting involved in the war, at all, but that’s no fun. Anyway, i did chose my side with intelligence and forethought. Here are the arguments, summed up in my own words:
We were here first! It is Tiber Septim’s land and he claimed it all under his great empire, so we always controlled it! It’s just we need to stay cozy to the elves of the Thalmor and they think it’s silly to worship a mere human, no matter how great he was, as a God… and we agree! These Storm cloaks are just a group of bandits.
Tiber Septim was a true Nord hero and God or not, his life is worthy of remembering and his memory worthy of worship. The Nords joined swords with the Empire during it’s crisis’s and have gained no just rewards for doing so. We have been faced with a hard life and no support from the Empire, so now we want to reclaim our land as our own! We are true sons and daughters of Skyrim and we deserve justice!
Who did i side with? ……
The Imperials. Why? I took both capitals of Skyrim to work it out. On the one hand, we have Solitude. Kept rich by it’s busy trading port, home of the blue palace and the Bards college, as well as the main Empire barracks in Skyrim, it is a rich, well defended and profitable, cultured city. It has a grand public house, a popular market and is of course, backed by the empire, as well as a supporter of magic (which is a big bonus for me).
Far to the East, Windhelm is very different. The snowiest place in Skyrim, it looks like a large ruin. It’s market is very rustic at best, and it has no culture to it. The Hall of Kings is a sight to behold, but that’s all that’s worth a visit. The place is poor, but the Dwemer are kept even poorer. They effectively live in slums and racism is rife. Ulfric does nothing about it because he wants to see a Skyrim fit for Nords, and although he isn’t directly racist, many of his Nordic followers are and he needs there support, so he must do nothing. All so, the Nords are skeptical to magic ever since almost all of Winterhold fell into the sea of ghosts, but the mages college remained suspiciously unharmed….
As for the main story line, it’s really involving. All so the trip you take to Sovenguard, there version of heaven in this game after your trips to Oblivion in the last, is a nice contrast. The end of Oblivion was that hell came to you; now your meeting a hellish dragon in heaven.
There are all so so many good side stories. Probably the easiest and most used is the Companions story, bound as blood brothers and sisters against the silver hand. The fact you can battle with your fellow companions is a huge bonus to any would-be warrior, as you can access this story line from the first hold you go to.
The thief’s guild operates in Riften. Bringing them from the depths of bad luck and pauperism to wealth, riches and being all powerful again, there is nothing like it. Obviously the Dark brotherhood are present and in operation in Skyrim, but they are, as always, invitation only. Yes, i got invited and i loved the assassin missions, plus taking orders from the dark mother herself as her listener, that was icing on top of a very enjoyable, bloody cake.
Finally, the mages college in Winterhold is suggested to you as part of the main story line, if you take the time to talk to the court mage of Whiterun, or listen to what he says in passing. It’s the only side story that is pushed on you that much. The missions as a member of the college are memorable and interesting. I would suggest playing this story if your of a curious nature.
The bards college in Solitude is the only side story i didn’t do…
There have been add-on’s, but i won’t cover them in this review; sorry.
As for the actual game play. I understand that Bethesda operate there games on a dungeon clearance system, but even so, i still got annoyed of the sheer volume of time i was spending underground. They did everything they could in this game, and it shows, to make the dungeons look exciting and unexpected. I was blown away by some of the things i found underground, level design wise, but i still felt that too much of my time was being spent in the early levels just trawling through tunnels and fighting bandits, spiders and undead.
As my levels got higher, this lessened and as i spent more time outside, i grew a love for just how much work went into the artistry. The Sky at night was the most impressive. The moon was marvelous. I was delighted when i realized the star constellations in the sky were the same ones as for leveling up, and the northern lights…. just took my breath away.
Though, i still found problems. Sometimes, render distance was not as far as the eye could see so i would see a stone circle sticking out of a “green screen” green ground, no grass or anything. It would load in as i got closer but it ruined the idea of actually being in another world for me. All so, despite there best efforts, i still found the characters lacked luster and emotions. It was better than in elder scrolls IV, but still not good enough to match the voice acting.
Sometimes, the game would lag when i’m drawing or switching weapons; often by a good 3-5 seconds, while my opponent feels no remorse whatsoever whacking this poor, defenseless, slow lunatic over the head with his hammer. If the language didn’t give it away, i’m a little peeved at this particular bug as it was the cause of many deaths.
The lack of an option to jump while sprinting was equally as annoying as stopping sprinting to power attack an opponent in front of me, while the game decides i’m still sprinting and pushes the enemy aside so i may swipe the air while my enemy can paint a giant target on my back with there dagger and my blood. Not to mention the awesome cut screens for finishers. There were awesome and they were fatal, but they weren’t half off. Some had parts of my body inserted in my enemy, some had me stabbing the air, just as my enemy falls to the ground dead…. what a coincidence there brain tumor kills them just as i dramatically miss there head.
Still, it was a massively fun game to play. Now i’m a level 29 Breton with only the add-on’s to play. I’m listener for the dark mother, a leader of the thief’s guild, archmage of the college of Winterhold and a companion. My best skill is level 89 destruction magic…. legit as well, no cheating! Got the spells to prove it! My best spell is Thundershock, does 104 damage and that’s before duel casting. Almost always a one hit kill! Don’t piss me off…..
My character may be a bit of a badass mage, but he can’t fight for shit. Anyway (wow i’ve said that a lot!), i would strongly recommend this game to anyone who has A LOT of free time to spend, or who want’s a project.
That Other Guy