The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim review
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim; The definitive RPG of our generation

The good:

-one of the biggest worlds in any game
-tons of dungeons, towns, etc. to explore
-Beautiful environments
-New enemies (Dragons, Draugr)
-Refined weapon/armor system
-Dual wielding spells/weapons makes for seemingly endless combinations
-two main quests (Dragons and Civil War)
-Improved guild quests from oblivion
-Archery is usable
-stealth works better, not as glitchy as oblivion
-Glitches are minimal compared to its predecessors
-fantastic dungeon design, a huge improvement over oblivion
-Improved voice acting
-interesting side quests
-side quests are now separated from misc. tasks

The bad:

-still rather glitchy, although most are very simple to fix
-short and somewhat uninteresting main quest
-magic is slightly underpowered
-"arrow in the knee" jokes


Previous gaming generations had RPG's like the Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Secret of Mana. All of these games were revolutionary, and were part of what defined their generation; nowadays, we have The Elder Scrolls. No other franchise has been able to match the level of exploration, customization, or the feeling of discovery that Bethesda has put into these games. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim far exceeds all others in the franchise, and will be representative of our generation in years to come.

This game is so fantastic, I could go on all day about it. To save time, I will rate this game on five categories: Gameplay, Music, Story/Characters/lore, Looks, and Replayability.

Gameplay: 9.8/10
The Elder scrolls series is known for its fantastic gameplay. This reputation is derived from the huge amount of content put into the game, with skyrim claiming to have over four hundred hours of content. The already huge world is packed with hundreds of long and well-designed dungeons, all with their own theme and feel. There are caves, mineshafts, bandit camps, giant camps, falmer caves, dragon lairs, and my personal favorite, dwarven ruins. Each is distinct and has its own identity. In oblivion, almost every cave and fort felt the same, there wasn't much to distinguish between each individual dungeon. Skyrim has fixed that problem completely; I can actually go into a dungeon and recall the name of it and its location on the map, just by looking around. Of course, that comes with play time, but it's something that never could have been done in previous installments.

The elder scrolls has always been known for having excellent character customization, and Skyrim is no exception. In fact, Skyrim is the best one so far! The developers of this game wanted to make you able to be any character you wanted, no matter how odd(I've even seen builds for playing as a Pokemon Trainer). I can tell you, they succeeded. One of the things Bethesda did to accomplish this was getting rid of classes. Classes assign you certain skills that you may not want in a specific character, they waste alot of points on things you won't use. By removing classes, Bethesda has allowed you to choose whichever skills you want, and however many of them you want. The possibilites are endless.

Skyrim's combat is easy to learn, yet difficult to master. You have normal attacks, power attacks, blocking, and spells. They are all very easy to execute, but timing them all perfectly takes experience. You can fight the lowly bandit or wolf on the side of the road by simply swinging your weapon around, but more difficult enemies require you to master these simple tasks. Power attacks, for example, are used to break guards and stagger enemies. This is essential for more difficult foes like Draugr Deathlords. When they block, power attack to knock them out of it and possibly stun them. Only normal attack when their guard is down, otherwise your weapon will bounce off and leave you open for attack. When you recognize that they are about to attack, power attack if able to stagger them and leave them open for attack, or block at the last moment. Learning the cues from various enemies is very difficult and takes dozens of hours of play time, and learning the correct timing for each action takes even longer.

Magic in this game is severely underpowered. It was very overpowered in oblivion, as you could create any spell you wanted at the arcane university. They got rid of that feature, but also made it less powerful, which was overdoing it. It's bad, but not nearly as bad as archery was in oblivion (which, by the way, they fixed in Skyrim. So I guess they kind of cancel out). Combat (and the aforementioned magic) is the only reason gameplay loses points, as sometimes the easier fights can turn into button mashing. But that can always be solved by raising the difficulty.

Story/Characters/Lore: 9/10
Ah, lore. This is where The Elder Scrolls really shines. The elder scrolls has such a deep and complex lore, I'm pretty sure nobody at Bethesda even knows it all. When I'm playing this game, it seems like I'm always discovering something new. Whether it's in a book, told to me by an NPC, or on a loading screen, there's always some juicy tidbit of information to be found in this game. This world is more complex than many fantasy series nowadays, rivaling such works as the Wheel of Time, or even the Lord of the Rings.

Characters in this game, however, are... meh. There are few likable or standout characters in this game (Cicero, Nazir, Delvin Mallory, and Sheogorath come to mind). Most of them are very bland and have no personality.

The storylines in this game are... above average, at least. Definitely good, but the lack of developed characters severely damages them. If the storylines of this game had been coupled with characters who I could grow attached to, the story of this game would be much more meaningful, more memorable. That being said, they did very well for a game where the main character is never defined. Having a main character with no defined personality makes it very difficult to have a good storyline, and so I think what they managed to pull off is remarkable.

Music: 8.5/10
The elder scrolls series has always had a good music score. The main theme is catchy, and they have several calming tracks for exploring the vast realm of Tamriel. They have decent tracks for fights, very aggressive and suspenseful. That being said, none of the tracks really pop out, aside from maybe the main theme. They lack individuality. I rather dislike the new main theme: it fits with the setting, and it's very creative, but I think the one in oblivion or morrowind was better. There's not much else to say here, it's great, but not fantastic.

Looks: 9.5/10
Skyrim looks fantastic. Every mountain, plain, forest, or swamp is distinct and interesting. The forested area of the Rift, for example, is beautiful; the many colors of the leaves make it stand out from the rest of the world(which is composed of deciduous trees, and therefore they do not change color). Each environment is memorable. They're so distinct, in fact, that I could probably pinpoint my location on a map just by looking at my surroundings. The developers put alot of care into this game's overworld, and made sure it wasn't as constant as its predecessor, oblivion. In oblivion, going off of the road meant one thing: forests. Trees were everywhere, and nothing stood out unless you were close to the cities. It was like the developers got lazy. In skyrim, however, almost all of the dungeons were off of the road! they're spread about, causing you to explore and marvel at the beautiful landscapes.

The cities and NPC's look wonderful too. Jumping and moving in third person looks natural now, whereas before it was very stiff and inhuman. Each city has its own distinct architecture style; they all, however, take after ancient norse architecture, giving skyrim a unified, yet diverse, feel.

Replayability: 10/10
As stated before, skyrim has over four hundred hours of content. That's almost 17 days of solid gameplay, where everything you do is fresh and exciting! And, if you ever manage to get to that point, you can make a whole new character and do it all over again, but with an entirely new style of gameplay! With the endless combinations of skills and combat styles in this game, it will be awhile before you get bored. This game, no matter how much you play it, will always be fun. You can always come back to it and play again. There is no game I have played more, not even oblivion or a pokemon game.

The scores average out to 9.36- which I will round to 9.4. TES V: Skyrim is a game that I can recommend to any gamer. Other RPG's pale in comparison to it. I truly don't think there is anyone who won't get enjoyment out of this masterpiece, so if you haven't already, go buy it. This is a game that will be heralded by future generations as both a classic and a legend.

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