Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The prophecy fulfilled, and the dragons return to scorch the planet.


Story

As many likely know, but I'll cover just in case, Skyrim is in the northern part of Tamerial, full of snow covered mountains. Skyrim is also very rich in minerals and beauty, making it a heavily populated land for all the races, to which the Nords are native. The game begins, 200 years after Oblivion, with the traditional "you being a prisoner" introduction. You are caught entering Skyrim, as well as several others, who are believed to be a part of a rebel group called the Stormcloaks, who believe the Empire is crumbling and wish Skyrim to be separate from its destruction, come to find that one of the captives is the leader of the group and had assassinated the King not long before his capture.

Upon arrival to a small town, you learn your fate. Death. However, after creating your character, it turns out that the guards find you are not one of the rebels, but are sentenced to death anyways. As you are about to have your head painfully removed from your shoulders, a dragon crashes the party, and you are able to escape, with the help of some captives and Imperial Guards.


Graphics

Skyrim uses a new graphics engine this time around, making the environments look gorgeous. The new engine is able to give each branch, each blade of grass, its own sense of being, they move separately, affected by the wind.People also have been redone, they move more fluidly, act more natural and go about their own schedule. Weapons will retain blood on them from previous fights, and spells look much better this time around.


Controls

The controls have been edited slightly, you can equip a weapon in each hand, and to use them, you pull the corresponding trigger. Some spells, like racial abilities, need to be used via the right bumper. You can sprint now by clicking the left joystick, and speed is determined by amount carried, and stamina. To access your journal (which has your quests and settings) you press the "Start" button, but to access inventory, you press "B", which can take some getting used too.


Voice/Music/Sound

Bethesda has always impressed me with their music scores for their games, and they didn't disappoint this time. Music is always well done whether in town, wilderness, combat or caves, the music always feels right. Voices seem to be done right, except for the Khajitt, some sound a bit like French people, I liked the way the spoke in Oblivion, but since that took place 200 years ago, it's understandable that they would lose their accent.


Other

This time around, you have no major or minor skills, your character will receive the bonus its races naturally gets, but how you level is up to you. Every skill increase adds to your level progress (any 10 skill increase and you level). You no longer get to allocate skill points to Strength, Speed, etc, this is seemingly done automatically, which is a bummer to me. This does allow you to level up more, but prevents in-depth customization from previous installments.

Dragon Shouts provide a nice new feature, and have 3 levels. You must learn each form to use it, and they become much stronger as you do, I've only unlocked 2, one is a blast and the other gives you a speed boast for a second, which comes in handy.

When you level up, you'll earn a skill point that you can use in a specific skill area,each skill has several "Perks" that you can unlock, from increased armour while using light/heavy armour, to increased damage with one-handed weapons, there are several upgrades that will come in handy.

You can make weapons and armour, as well as other niffty items from various methods (using leather you collected, gems, etc) much like Morrowind did, which is a nice touch.


Overall

Skyrim is a awesome game, but may take a bit of adjusting if you're fresh off of Oblivion. With a vast area to explore, several quests, and many characters, Skyrim will undoubtedly be one of the better games on the X360 (or PS3 and PC) for quite awhile.


9.5/10.0

Pros:

- Beautiful graphics and character design 
- Weapon, spell and armour crafting
- Interesting spells and talents available

Cons

- Difficult in the beginning
- No skill points to allocate
- No major skills