Quantity and quality!
The only other Elder Scrolls game I played is Oblivion and it overtook everything for around four weeks of my life. I even took a week off work and didn’t do anything apart from play Oblivion, often until past seven o’clock in the morning. It’s not something I’m proud of, however it is testament to the fact these games are extremely addictive and incredibly immersive.
Skyrim is in the most northern part of Tamriel and is home to the Nords. The graphical shift is quite a bit different from the more colourful Oblivion. The graphics are more serious with an almost black and white look at times and in certain parts of Skyrim you will come across sever snowstorms that drastically block your view and if it wasn’t for the compass it would be easy to get lost. There are beautiful waterfalls and flowing waterways and this along with the dynamic weather system makes the world of Skyrim feel vibrant and alive.
The main quest is an enjoyable tale but the meat of the game as in Oblivion is in everything else you can do. All the usual guilds make a return here apart from the fighters guild which has been replaced with something else that I wont spoil for you here. Considering the amount on offer here it’s amazing how good the quality of most of the missions is. Apart from doing some fetching or going to kill this enemy here type quests, which at the end of the day are optional anyway, every quest has an interesting story to tell and some unexpected twists and turns. If you prefer doing your own thing you can spend hours and hours in Skyrim without progressing any story whatsoever. Instead making up your own path through the game clearing caves and dungeons as you see fit.
When you really start thinking about how much work has gone into the game as a whole it is an amazing place to behold. There are books to read everywhere and I’m sure many people will ignore them but they’re actually worth reading, especially for fans of the series as many of them have nods to past games. Some books will increase your skills automatically and some will even trigger quests. The addition of bookshelves to store books in your homes has made me go on a mission to collect series of books.
Skyrim does away with all the equipment needed to make potions from Oblivion and has now replaced them with alchemist labs. These can be purchased for your various homes or found in different places around the game world.
The sound is good and at times reminded me of Star Wars. It works well within the game for the most part but there were some annoyances such as characters speaking over each other, and hearing the same voice on two people next to each other. These are minor gripes and had no impact on overall gameplay.
Levelling up is more streamlined now Bethesda have done away with choosing major skills at the beginning of the game. Skills like one handed, conjuration and light armour level up purely based on how much you use them throughout the game. This feels like a more natural way of levelling up and doesn’t force you to use your major skills as in Oblivion.
The menu interface is a huge improvement from Oblivion’s book like look. It’s clean, modern, practical and considering the amount of items and information available it’s a pleasure to use on a PS3 controller.
The wonderful world of Skyrim is beautiful to look at and pleasure to explore as there is always something to do, whether it be collecting plants and insects to make potions with, exploring caves, taking down dragons and giants or actually completing an objective. Nobody can deny how involved this game is and how many hours it will suck out of your life. There is plenty of content to keep the majority of gamers happy for at least 100 hrs.