The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review

Hey guys, hope your Thanksgiving weekend was as great as mine. Mine was made great because I got to spend it with my family that I love and my WWE ’12 review went live this past Wednesday (read it here) and has gotten praise for the most part. So here I am back with another review for you guys. I’ll do my best to crank these out weekly right now with all these new holiday games finally in our hands. Once I’m done with the holiday titles, then I guess I’ll be going through my back catalog of games until we get some new releases next year. Let me just say that this game I’m going to review is my personal favorite and is a pick of mine for Game of the Year in my year end videos. You can check those out on my YouTube channel, or maybe Jeremy will allow me to post them here as well since they are based on Video Games.

So let’s get started…

Let me start off by saying it’s VERY hard to review this game. Mainly because it’s FREAKIN’ HUGE! How can you sum up this game in a review when there are literally infinite things to do in it? Well, I’m going try. But first, like always, a bit of a back story. Skyrim is the 5th title in the Elder Scrolls franchise, given away by the V in the title. It takes place 200 years after the events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, but is not a direct sequel in that it has little to nothing to do with that game. The main premise of this game is the Dragons that the Elder Scrolls spoke of have returned, like they predicted. It is up to you to find out why and to stop them before they destroy the planet. But how can a mere mortal take on a giant dragon?! Well, that’s the kicker; you aren’t just a mere mortal as you will be told billions of times in this games main quest. You are Dovahkiin (Doh-Vah-Keen) which is Dragonic for Dragonborn. Yes, that’s right, Dragonic.

Bethesda went as far as to make up an ENTIRE language for the dragons. But it’s not like they go to Starbucks and sit and chat over coffee. See, in Skyrim, when the Dragons attack you with fire, ice, whatever they use, they are speaking. They are using Thu’um, or the Dragon Shouts. And being that you are somehow Dragonborn, you will throughout the story learn this language and use the Thu’ums of the language against the Dragons to defeat them. Do you have to use them? No. But Bethesda made them so damn cool to use that you won’t be able to help yourself. The only drawbacks are that 1) you will have to find the Thu’ums that are hiding throughout the world of Skyrim on Word Walls, you will figure out how to do this VERY early on in the main quest. And 2) after using a shout, they have to recharge. Some shouts charge quicker than others, but some are more powerful than others. For example, one of the ones you will learn early on, called Whirlwind Sprint, when you press the shout button, your character (for me, a Nord named Altaïr showing my love for Assassin’s Creed) will charge forward at an EXTREMELY fast rate. Depending on how long you hold the button will determine how far you go. It’s not far, but if you need to avoid a trap in a cave, it’s VERY helpful. There are a total of 20 shouts throughout the world but most shouts have more than one word. You should be able to find most, if not all, by just playing the game.

So when the game starts off, you are tied up in the back of a carriage with a few other people. You discover that one of them is the supposed right heir to the throne of Skyrim. Turns out, there is a civil war going on in Skyrim. It turns out that this civil war was the last sequence of prophetic events told by the Elder Scrolls (not just a cool title for the games) that would lead to the return of Alduin (All-Do-Wheen) the Dragon God of Destruction, also known as the World Eater. He’s also the Dragon that comes with the collector’s edition.

So back to the game. You listen to the dialogue of the other characters that are being carted along with you and you learn about the civil war going on between the Imperials (Empire) and the Stormcloaks. The Imperials are trying to keep Skyrim apart of the Empire and the Stormcloaks are trying to get the Empire out of Skyrim altogether. You finally reach your destination and you find out that the Empire captured you near the border, I assume the border leading to Cyrodiil (Ser-Oh-Dill) which would be the country in which The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion took place in. And you are now set to be executed. One of the people in your group runs off quickly and gets killed by multiple arrows from the security.

You also learn that you have been taken to a town called Helgan, which is kind of important for later. While going down a list of people they captured, the Imperials don’t recognize you and ask you for your name. So you type in whatever name you picked, like I said I used Altaïr. After that, you begin to set up your character. CHOOSE WISELY! You will NOT be able to make changes later. And yes, it does matter what race you pick to determine what powers you get. Read the description and choose your race. I picked Nord, which is basically the rugged human race of all of Skyrim. All races live there, but Skyrim is known as the home of the Nords. I also wanted my guy to look like the bad ass from the trailers.

So after you pick your race and customize your character to your liking, you find out that you too will also be ending your life on this day, by being beheaded. So you take your place in line, with your hands still tied. You even get to see someone before get beheaded. Sounds gruesome, but it’s a video game, and its damn cool HAHA! So once that’s over, you realize that you are next. You just started your journey and now it’s over. You head for the chopping block, get down on all fours and place your head over the basket below (which by the way, still has the last guy’s head in it!) You brace for the end of your short life, when suddenly, everyone hears a load noise and begins to panic. Then above you, on a castle tower, lands a HUGE FREAKIN’ DRAGON! Did I mention this game has Dragons? So in a huge panic, everyone starts getting killed by this thing, but your buddy from the carriage saves you and you haul-ass indoors. Knowing that won’t help you, you both try to find a way out and come across your first cave of the game.

You don’t actually get to fight the Dragon that’s killing everyone and destroying Helgan, at least not yet. But you and your new best friend set off for a way out. Creeping and crawling through this cave, I won’t spoil what awaits inside, but you both should find your way out eventually. Stick with him when you get outside. He says to split up, but he’s just too trustworthy to leave behind. Plus he wants you to come to a town called Riverwood with him. This begins your main quest-line.

It will get confusing as to which quests are main & side quests throughout the game, but they are all worthy of completion. So that’s it, no more quest line spoilers here. But you might be asking what is there to do in this game if you don’t feel like doing quests or if you come across a quest that is too difficult and you need to level up before continuing? Well, anything really. This is the most quintessential non-linear game ever, I swear. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cancelled my marker for my quest and just gone off for hours and hours discovering things or shooting animals with my bow and arrow to get my favorite skill up, which would be of course, archery. Also, since I don’t believe I’ve mentioned it yet, this game is very different from Oblivion in that you no longer pick a class. See, in Oblivion, you picked your race and your class and the only way to level up was to raise the skills of that class. So if you picked a Warrior, you would have to level up your Warrior skills such as your Blade or your Heavy Armor. No more. Now you have the freedom to literally play any way you want to. If you want to specialize in magicka only, then only level up your Mage skills. Or you can be like me, and pretty much everyone else, and be a jack of all trades character.

I’m currently ranked 50 or above in my skills of Archery, Destruction (magicka), Sneak, Smithing, One-Handed, Speech, Restoration, Lock-picking, Heavy Armor, Enchanting & Pickpocket. So as you can see, I’ve spread my skills around pretty much as much as one can without trying purposely. But one of the big selling points of this game is that you play the way you want to, and that really comes across in a big way throughout my 100+ hours spent in the game.

Now, of course, if you’ve played a Bethesda RPG before, you know that it comes with some bugs and glitches. And Skyrim does not disappoint. Like I mentioned, I spent over 100 hours in the game on one save and never once did I experience game crippling bugs like I had when Fallout: New Vegas launched in 2010. At around 45 hours, I hit a bug in New Vegas that deleted my saves, which I had 3 at the time. It was a bug that crippled my experience and it was a few months before I went back to play the game again. Luckily they had patched it up quite a few times by then and I spent countless hours on that game and its 4 DLCs. But in Skyrim, I never experienced a bug or glitch that crippled my game or experience. Occasionally, I’ll see a flying Mammoth. But when I see it, I honestly can’t help but to laugh out loud. And where there’s Mammoths, flying or not, there are sure to be Giants, I warn you guys now because this isn’t patched yet.

DO NOT fuck with these Giants! If they hit you with a certain move that they do 90% of the time, you’re character will not only die instantly, no matter your level or skills, but you will fly high up into the air, literally higher than the tallest mountain in the game, The Throat of the World. I mean there are hundreds of them in this game, and honestly, I hope some of them don’t get patched. They are that good. Longtime fans of Bethesda’s huge open world RPG’s have come to love these types of glitches.

Seriously, open a new tab right now and go to YouTube and search for the video called “Skyrim Glitch – Amazing Horse” It’s awesome. But ones like the Giant one hit death shot that rockets you to the moon should be taken out as soon as possible because there’s a LOT of Giants in this game. You will even come across missions that want you to kill certain ones. And they are a bitch to kill, believe me. It’s about a 10 minute process of shooting an arrow, turning around and running away, turning around, shooting an arrow and repeating. Because if they swing down at you, BOOM! You’re gone. And that brings me to my next point and the biggest tip I could possibly give you ever about this game…Save!

Save your game as often as you can, seriously. There’s been a few times where I’ve exited a place, and the game auto-saved, and then I went around, killed a bunch of things, leveled up a few skills and before I know it, I’m either in an area where I’m not supposed to be with my level or I’ve stumbled into a Giant who instant kills. When you die, the game reverts to the most recent save. So anything you did after your last save, if you die, is gone. Save often. VERY often!

I think I’ve covered just about everything so far, and now I have the Amazing Horse song stuck in my head. I cannot give this game any higher honors other than it’s a must play. It really is the best RPG game ever created. The world that Bethesda created is just flat out beautiful, from looking up in the night sky to watching the fog move high up on the mountains. The best part is, it’s not static, it actually moves. This game is easily the best thing I’ve played all year and I’ve played all the big releases from January to November, since December has no big releases. If you haven’t tried it, try it. Rent it, buy it, Gamefly it. Either way, you need to try this game out. There will not be a higher recommendation from me when talking about this year’s titles.

Final Verdict: 9.5/10

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