It's a place all right.

November 29, 2014 (Originally posted on Tumblr)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review

This game's been out for a long while now, and I'm just about wrapping things up with it, so I figure I ought to dispense my feelings about it. Of course, you might already know them, but strap in.

As you may or may not know, Skyrim was hyped up. A lot. With good reason, too, Oblivion was a pretty sweet game. However, there were a lot of disappointments such as armor being simplified, another radiant feature not being as radiant as it was said to be (and one which still isn't so much), a major enemy not being so... major, and things not having durability and needing repair. The last one, well... Honestly, I could give or take it. Of course, there were also many bugs, some worse than others.

In return, though, we got quite a bit. A big harsh landscape to wander around in and climb up with horses, lots of quests, fun with physics, more human-looking humans, lizards that look like lizards and not funny dinosaurs, cats that are... cats, and just generally fun things to do. For the record, I went Argonian as I always do. Lizard power. Also there's dual-wielding. Unfortunately, not with shields only, but you can mix and match just about how you want, even pickaxes or shivs. However, a lot of my playthrough was typical sword and shield. Shields are still quite useful.

The game starts out as usual with you being arrested then escaping. That's just a tradition. From there, you get led into prophecy. This time, like previous games, you matter a lot, as opposed to Oblivion where you were more of a go-getter for the real chosen ones, though did have your moments (and the DLC gave you more of those, plus horse armor). You learn powers called shouts, the first of which makes physics happen. A good start if you ask me. And then you get more that aren't as fun but can still be useful. And later you discover that zombies of some kind can  have these too so it's not so special that you have them. If you plan to just play the main story through, it'll be short. Please do get sidetracked, it's a big part of the fun in these games.

You have four major guilds to tend to, as usual, you have the fighting, mage, assassin, and thief. The latter two have the same name as before, but in Skyrim, the fighting one is the Companions and the mage one is the Mages' College. Still the same general plotline that follows, but enjoy the rewards. Or don't. You might even like those storylines more than the main one.

Another factor is the Civil War. You have two sides, both have their positives and negatives, but it more comes down to who you'd prefer to rule Skyrim, as independent or as part of an empire, and whatever would come with that, mostly the guards patrolling the cities and the Jarl who leans back with bad posture in a chair.

In between all of that, the Daedric Quests do return, with artifacts of decent power and things and stuff. The completionist will want to seek out the "proper" way to finish, that is, to make the choices that result in the artifact instead of... not the artifact. Or which artifact would benefit better. I found these fairly fun, as usual, with some better than others, and usually I didn't use the artifacts that came from them, but I did sometimes.

I should say, it is possible to become pretty overpowered in the base game if you keep at it. You can do exploits to gain effectively instant levels, and with the latest patch, you can re-level to further push your level gains and perks with Legendary skills. Plus, if you boost Alchemy, Enchanting, and Smithing, you can have insane gear that rivals some of the best uniques with repeated consecutive skill boosts.

Also, there are still bugs, including, but not limited to, infinite conversation loops (but thankfully you can escape them in this game since conversations take place in "real-time"), getting stuck, horses being horses, occasional crashes, potentially broken quests, physics, dragons, undead bounties, and so on. Those are to be expected with such a massive game with a ton of content, but still, they can be annoying when they pop up. It's a bit of an endearing quality in a way, though, these games infamous for their bugs create stories you can share. Or glitch videos. It's kind of like what a game like Goat Simulator with all of its purposely ignored bugs is known for, but just as a side effect and also having a deep game you can get lost in on top of it all.

I'd say, if you can, get it on PC, you can mod it and all that fun stuff, but it's pretty enjoyable without as well. Even without the DLC, I still plugged in a bunch of hours doing everything I could find. And of course, the DLC added more fun to it. If you get one DLC, get Dragonborn, it gives you a decent addition to run around in, plus nostalgia factor for long-running fans. I'd then suggest the other two, though to be fair, you can probably just get the whole package in a Steam sale for cheap. Or just pick up the Elder Scrolls Anthology which contains games I through V for not a bad price tag, plus DLC and expansions. I think you can tell that I recommend this game by now. I'll just put a score number thing and be done.

Arbitrary score: 17/20, or 8.5/10

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