The lights are on
I'm not entirely sure if Skyrim actually has a true ending to it. and if it does, i feel i'm far from it. However, having beaten the main story quest, and putting a total of 100 hours into the game (75 hours on one profile, 25 on the other), i feel it's as good a time as any to hammer out a review for the game.
Skyrim starts off with a bang. it is a linear start but teaches you the ropes. the graphics look great as it is right now. after trekking through this dungeon, you are then open to the full world of Skyrim. from this point, any place you see is a possible desination. you can opt to follow your ally from here, or take off on your own. to people not familiar with The Elder Scrolls, going off on their own may seem a strange take of actions.
however, once you set out on your own for a long distance, you truly feel the vastness of this game. It's huge. As you journey along to your destination, you even bump into new places that you discover that now pop up on your map. each of these locations a distraction to keep you busy. Late in the game, your map screen will be filled with these icons (provided you didn't constantly use fast travel or carriages).
the music in the song is great. you'll find your self trusting in what the music is playing. i can tell when an enemy is attacking me from behind simply by the "combat" music coming on. a nice feature. all the character animation look great and it's when having a partner follow you everywhere that this really begins to show.
however, there's a downside to every game, and Skyrim's has to be that one you get past the 40-or-so hour mark, the game can adopt a lag. this is incredibly frustrating. Bethesda is supposedly working on a fix for this, but it's been a while, and it's release is still unknown.
Skyrim's story takes place i believe around 200 years after the events of the last Elder Scrolls game Oblivion. The empire has move on North to gain control over the Nord homeland of Skyrim. However, the Nords aren't settling to well with this and quickly form a rebellion known as the Stormcloaks. The Stormcloaks leader Ulfric Stormcloak, killed the High King of Skyrim who greatly supported the Empire by using his voice in the form out a "shout" (words from the dragon language that have immense power behind them). This ignites a flame that erupts into a full out civil war.
this is where you come in. right in the middle of the fray. and as if things weren't bad as it is, the reappearance of Dragons takes place, and you later find out that you are the Dragonborn. a slayer of dragons and destined to kill the evil dragon Alduin aka "World Eater". from here you shape your character and move on from here.
Several stories branch out from these initial two. the main story quest will follow you the Dragonborn on your journey to slay Alduin. there are also quest involving the Civil War where you take a side and fight to claim the land of Skyrim. There are also quest for the Dark Brotherhood which is a much smaller group since we last saw them 200 years ago, along with the Thieves Guild who has also lost their former glory. The Fighters Guild and Mages Guild are non-existent is Skyrim, however, those looking to learn a little more magic can attend the College of Arcane Arts in Winterhold, or for those looking to fight, could join The Companions, each of these having their own quest line. these are just the major quest throughout the game. each has it's own involving story with twist, decisions, and surprises around every corner. not to mention the overflowing amount of side quest, though these lack the story-telling skills of the more major quest lines.
each story i've played through has all been fun and interesting and each grants its own rewards. i'd definitely take the time to play through each of these main quest lines for sure.
this portion is going to definitely be harder than usual (and that's not good considering that this is naturally the hardest section). the reason for this is because the gameplay experience in skyrim can be incredibly varied. i have 2 files at the moment, and each of them is incredibly different with the only similarities being that my taste are being put into them. Let me describe my first character for you:
my first character is a Nord. one of the human races. i specialized him with heavy armor and two handed weaponry. he's basically a brute. his full focus is on onfense and where i have him now, he can take down most foes with no trouble at all. just run in and kill.
now my second character is a Khajit. a cat-man race. i specialized this character in stealth skills such as sneak, and one handed weaponry. in this character, each encounter is like a puzzle as i try to do this while remaining undetected. at he level i have this character at, i can get by almost anyone without being seen one way or the other.
as you can see these characters are entirely separate people. this is mostly made possible due to the perks system. everytime you level up you can use one perk. using that perk in a certain section (i.e. sneak, one handed, archery, ect.) helps provides that bonus in that certain section. another thing is you only really level what you use, so taking the obvious option in using those perks on stuff your using is ideal.
the way you shape your character in skyrim is different from that of previous elder scroll games. your character will usually get chosen from the 3 categories: warrior, thief, or mage (weaponry, stealth, or magic). you'll most likely invest greatly in one of these, and then some into a second, but the third will mostly remain untouched. the difference in skyrim is that you can choose this as you go while in other games, it was a decision you made in the begining, with no chance of alteration later in the game. skyrim allows you to mold your character as you go.
combat in Skyrim is quite unavoidable. however, there are several ways to tackle this. you can use magic, stealth or just full out weaponry. and for each of those, there are several other options. take magic for instance: you can use a conjuration spell to send other creatures or spirits to fight for you, or use an illusion spell to falter your enemies, or use a destruction spell to clear the enemies out yourself. so it really boils down to your play style.
Skyrim is mainly run by quest. you'll come across different quest as you travel the land and interact with people. you do this quest in a number of different ways. some quest you have to clear out a cave, others you have to find different things across the land. it's hard to find similar quest theres just so many. so if you ever even come across a quest you dont like or are having a hard time, just leave it or come back to it later, for there are tons of other quest you can do.
im just going to face it. the gameplay in Skyrim is just too varied for me to get it all in. you'll have to play for yourself.
Skyrim is huge. and most likely, so will be the experience of any RPG fan. the game is damn near perfection, and once Bethesda releases the patch for the boo boos (taking a while...), it will be one phenomenal game. every one is bound to have a unique and engaging experience and this is great.
be warned though, despite all my praise, Skyrim won't last forever. but when it took me 115 hours of gameplay to want to pop in another game, hell...that's saying something. check this game out.
Update: i still love Skyrim, but a lack of DLC for the PS3 is rather frustrating.