A game that combines dragons, magic and combat with real-world elements such as earning money via jobs and being punished for committing crimes? A tall order for any developer but Bethesda Studios can do epic games. And they do them very well. Skyrim comes from a studio which developed Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion; and though each of these games had their flaws, they pushed the boundaries of role-playing and fantasy games to new heights. However, is Skyrim a step too far?
The game follows a typical fantasy plotline, the last of a bloodline with an ability that makes the player the only person capable of saving the land from an ancient evil – in this case Dragons. Bethesda dodges the typical fantasy cliché by immersing the player in a very real world with literally hundreds of other missions or quests to take part in for a multitude of factions. It’s not as complicated as the Game Of Thrones series, but it certainly aims for that level of political and personal intricacy. While this level of scale could have been overpowering, Skyrim manages to give the player just the right amount of possibilities without feeling overwhelmed.
The gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has played other Bethesda games, especially Oblivion, with the choice between 1st and 3rd person perspectives. The magic and much vaunted “Shouts” mechanics are well executed, as are the combat elements but the standout feature is that of the levelling-up system which rewards specific skills rather than giving the player points to allocate in underused skills.
As expected, Skyrim has raised the standard of quality in the Fantasy RPG genre with a high level of graphic detail coupled with the epic scale of the game which immerses the player in a fantasy world that allows multiple styles of play and, let’s be honest, the massive draw is that Skyrim lets you take on Dragons.
An immersive game with 300+ hours of gameplay and massive replay value. If this appeals to you, or even tickles your fancy a little, buy it.