The year was 2006 and I was a stranger in a strange land when I was introduced to Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion. It was touted as the best RPG of its time and I started playing it and time just flew by and in no time I was at the climactic battle scene. I immensely loved it. Oblivion made me an RPG fan and no other RPG title had won its place…UNTIL NOW! Bethesda’s 5th installment in the Elder Scrolls series entitled ‘SKYRIM’ took 5 years in the making but after playing it you cant help wondering how it was possible to make this gem of a game in under 5 years.
“The fifth in the series, Skyrim pulls into its world filled with Dragons, Nords and Daedra…and Kings and mythical beasts and everything else in a fantasy RPG and guess what it clutches by your throat and never lets you go. This game will chew and spit out your social life…atleast for 100 hours. Yes, World of Warfraft does it time and again…but its an MMO… What you get here is strictly single player and the game makes you, indeed, feel like a Hero. The immersion level is dependent on how much you time you invest in the game’s mechanics. Go get this game now!” -There…I’ve said it…coudlnt hold it much longer. Rest of the patient beings…read on!
Initially Skyrim starts off as a generic RPG…ie until you finish with your Character Customization. After that it completely puts you into the shoes of your new Hero. Freedom, Non-Linearity has been redefined in Skyrim. Its impossible to go through every aspect of this awesome game…so I am going through the things that I found intriguing and Hell!…even they are a lot.
Skyrim has a colossal open world. You can keep going in one direction for a long long time and you’ll stumble upon something exciting in every turn. The world is not only massive but also incredibly detailed…the foliage, climate and the living inhabitants adds to the authenticity of Skyrim’s living breathing world.
I, for myself, own a Manor at Vindred Hall and a house at Whiterun…I can stack up the books on a book shelf. You can read each book and its entertaining and sometimes rewarding or sometimes sets u off on another mini quest. I have a house carl and a dog and my house is decorated with a wide variety of stuff. NPCs have distinct personalities (even though model-wise they all look generic) and its a joy to talk to some of them. That’s how much detail Bethesda has put into Skyrim. The graphics is definitely not next gen but it serves the purpose of making you feel like ‘you are really there’. One of the best features I loved was the realtime Day-Night cycles and climate changes. Ofcourse I am no stranger to this feature but Skyrim looks great coupled with it. I still find myself standing at the ‘Throat of the World’ and gape at the sunrises.
Upon close inspection I found some texture issues on some of the wildlife and dungeons…but who cares as you dont interact with them much.
Skyrim has a well written fantasy lore in par with the LOTR which makes up the main quest. Dragons, A Civil War, Magical Creatures, Racial Politics…its a rich setting for questing. Varied quests rewards u immensely as well as meagerly…though u are bound to be sidetracked by a side quest. You might find a headless ghost or something interesting in every turn while u are on the main quest. Each mini quest tells a story of its own and I felt content with each finished quest. If you alone you can always add a follower from Inns scattered throughout Skyrim’s strongholds or buy a dog. These AI being are very well programmed and aids you in combat lifting some burden off your shoulder. There are a number of things you could do in Skyrim besides questing…Smithing, Fishing, Mining, Farming its just impossible to list out all and everything you do rewards you some way or another.
Bethesda promised 100+ hours of gameplay and they have kept their promises. The reason this article is so late after its release date is just coz of that. For an MMO 100+ hours is nothing but for a Singleplayer adventure to offer this much gameplay time is just magnanimous. TRUE, I have been ignoring my social life a bit after getting this game. If I am not questing I just roam around the huge map on my ‘steed’ discovering places which later helps me to ‘Fast Travel’ for questing.
Skyrim’s background score is just as epic! Composed by Elder Scrolls veteran Jeremy Soule…and comprised of grand orchestral heroic chants, thumping drums, melancholic violins and similar beats, it definitly adds up to the over-all Skyrim Experience. The pleasant and mellow score while strolling through Winterhold quickly shifts to a more menacing and unsettling one when you are at the Labyrinthian. You’ll feel like a true Hero when you have just slayed a Dragon and absorbed the Dragon Soul…thanks to the awesome score. I recommend the OST a must have for all music lovers. Though you’d have to admit that the score is stupendous…even if you are not an audio enthusiast…you’d subconciously be influenced by this game’s powerful and heroic score. And don’t even get me started on the main title ‘Dragonborn (Dovahkiin)’, listen to it and Google the lyrics…its worth it!
Dragons, in Skyrim, are astounding & exciting abominations to be encountered and a worthy edition to the gameplay. From the moment you notice a huge lurking shadow on the ground, the first roar…you’ll feel the adrenaline pumping through. The next time you even see an eagle’s shadow you are bound to frantically look above for a ‘Dov’ (Dragon). Once u level up Dragons are fun and rewarding to slay as it gives you Dragon Souls which helps in leveling up your Dragon Shouts. Dragon Shouts are spells which does’nt use Magicka…you can use various shouts to bring a Dragon to the ground, spit flames, force push and slow time.
The Leveling System has been greatly improved and could be considered an innovation. There’s no more allotting points in skill trees and regretting later. You level up as do more in Skyrim and u learn by doing the things that u do well. For example if u want to level up more in Two Handed Weapons you just do more combat with Two Handed Weapons and leveling up gives you perks which you can allot to different perks like decapitating and being fast using those weapons. Likewise if you want to level up in using spells, use those spells more and voila!
Skyrim is not without flaws though. Its ridden with bugs…from teleporting mammoths to implausibly strong giants (that shoots you 60 feet up) to buggy quests which you’d have to play through from the last checkpoint. Some of these bugs are fun to come across and plays off as unintentional easter eggs but it never spoils the over-all Skyrim Experience. Most of the bugs are already patched…make sure you update your game often with official patches.
Hopes were obviously very high for 5th in the Elder Scrolls series entitled ‘SKYRIM’. I’d suggest that you memorize the title coz its gonna make history. It already has. It was tough for developer Bethesda to overcome its own crowning glory that was ‘Oblivion’. I mean how much of an RPG could you effectively change? But Bethesda has surpassed expectations and anticipations alike with Skyrim. Its not just a winner…its a triumph that even major and minor flaws of the game were exceedingly overshadowed by SKYRIM itself. SKYRIM succesfully instills in you, the true feeling of being a Hero…being a Dragonborn…a Dovahkiin!