The lights are on
Skyrim is the best game I have played all year. It captivated me, and taught me new levels of exploration I had never seen in a video game before. The first dragon you see in the game was so exciting, it had me sold from the start. I don't always play RPGs, but when I do, I prefer Skyrim.
The gameplay in Skyrim is simple for a new RPG player like myself, but has enough content in it to keep hardcore players up all night for weeks. I really admired how, unless you were switching items, you stayed out of a menu for most of the game. I don't like games where you go to grab an item, and it asks you "What do you want to do with this item? Eat it. Take it. Drop it.". I am playing a video game, not a 1980 text adventure game! The leveling system is very commendable, with the ability to "master" all areas of gameplay such as weapons, smithing, talking, and using magic. The level cap is 81, which is exactly enough to master all of your skill branches. The skills take forms of branches, and each branch has a different "perk" on it to help you out, such as unbreakable lockpicks and the ability to decapitate.
The graphics in Skyrim look great...when they work. I've had entire sections of rivers disappear, but I can still swim in them. I've also had the textures of floors drop out while walking on them, and my horse has turned invisible on a number of occasions.
The sound in Skyrim is wonderful. The theme is stunningly beautiful, and me and my friends can't help but sing along when it plays (but it sounds like "DOVAHKIIN, DOVAHKIIN, see blah eat cho martin..."). The voice acting is alright. Most of the characters sound good, but one in particular, Mercer from the Thieves Guild, sounds like a mentally slow version of Adam West, who pauses after every word.
The game has the highest replay value I've ever seen in a game. It has so many branching paths, and there is even one right in the beginning of the game! I suggest saving very frequently, so if your not happy with your results, you can try the other option. It also has 300+ hours of content, and I have beaten the main story quest and there is STILL so much I can do!
While Skyrim is an amazing game, it does have many flaws. With texture drop in/out, and some weird NPC bugs, its broken, but not unplayable. Like an Ipod with a cracked screen. It doesn't look nice, but it still plays music. I did, however, run into one game-breaking bug along my journey. (SPOILERS) When you go into Windhelm, a man approaches you about entering a house with rumored Daedra worship occurring within. When you go into the house, the Daedra commands you to kill the man and locks the door. When you kill him, the Daedra gives a long speech and gives you a quest. It is at this point where the door unlocks, and you are free to go. However, it is a common recurrence with me and a friend of mine where the door is NOT unlocked and you are stuck in there and forced to revert to an earlier save. (SPOILERS OVER)
Skyrim is a truly fantastic game, but not without it's flaws. A man could get lost for days within the unforgiving countryside of Skyrim. Now, go get playing and keep those arrows out of your knees!
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