The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an RPG developed and published by Bethesda. The game lacks any multiplayer and is entirely focused on singleplayer.
One of the main claims about this game is that there's over 300 hours of gameplay. After playing it for 48 hours, this sounds more than likely. With the main quest taken out of the equation, there's still numerous side quests. Each side quest, some of which can and are in fact the same length as the main quest itself, is different; calling it a side quest is insulting to the game in its own right. Don't like fighting dragons? Fight in the civil war. Want some good stuff for sneaking? Join the Thieves' Guild. The main quest doesn't even need to exist; there's so much content present already you'll probably lose your social life for a good while once you start up that disk.
Yes, the rather realistic looking Northern Lights are very pretty.
Indeed, for anyone who has played and followed Bethesda's RPG since Daggerfall first came out, it's a familiar yet refreshing game which will take little time to adjust to. The gameplay itself is easy to jump into, yet at the same is rather advanced for an RPG; sprinting in first person causes the screen to move about, you don't look at a dungeon and go "I've seen this before," in contrast to Fallout's vaults, which were monotonously boring to quest in. It's a big game, yes, but there's those little extras that make it that much deeper. It's highly reminiscent of Fallout, more so than Oblivion, but feels more polished. The game feels like Bethesda cared about what they put in it.
- "And then there are so many tiny details. If you go in the rivers, you can see fish swimming. The river has flow. Probably the tiniest one that very few people will notice, is that on some of the logs, if you look really close, every once in a while there are ants crawling around on it."
- — Todd Howard on Skyrim's detail.
The Creation engine, the in-house successor to Fallout's Gamebryo game engine, greatly adds to this immersion. In the last game, Fallout: New Vegas, if you looked in one direction you'd see the mountains appear out of nowhere, starting off as mere greyish blurs. In Skyrim, however, even if you look at the furthest away mountain you know off, you'll see it right away. And no, there's no grey blur; what you see is the crisp snowy peaks of said mountain, peaking out of the strangely detailed clouds. NPCs do stuff they wouldn't do in Fallout; rather than sitting on their asses all day drinking, Blacksmiths will work in their forge, servants will brush up and cut wood, hunters will... hunt. The engine Bethesda improves upon its previous iterations in every way, and leads to a wholly different immersive experience.
The new Creation engine truly adds a new layer of immersion to the game.
Another nice thing the game has achieved is that you're pretty unbounded by what you can do. Gone are the days of XP for slaying monsters and handing in quests; it's not like Fallout or Oblivion where you level every so often and can allocate some points into a skill to determine what damage you do; in Skyrim you can level whatever the hell you want whenever you want to by simply using something belonging to said skill. They're more simple, as well. There's no more agility skill or unarmed skill (the later of which I must admit to missing slightly); the overall leveling aspect is simpler and less restricting than before.
Dragons are a mix for me, however. Yes, the first time you see Alduin your jaw drops, but at the same time they attack perhaps too frequently. After your 10th (believe me, that'll come by pretty quickly), they become more of an inconvenience than anything else. If they were slightly buffed and didn't attack half as often then it'd be a completely different story, but there's only so much you can take of fast traveling to Winterhold only to hear the roar of a dragon in the distance. My only one true criticism about this game is, asides from a relatively repetitive soundtrack, the frequency of dragon attacks.
The graphics on PS3 are about that of a PC's on low settings, but they're still lovely none the less.
The large bombardment of rich lore is still present in the game that's present in all of Bethesda's RPGs; the Thalmor are incredibly efficient and highly unlikeable, being given somewhat fitting accents, hundreds of different books with different colours can be found left, right and center, some of which are rather interesting.
In terms of glitches, I'm not going to bother talking about those; I rate a game by its content; not its glitches. I haven't come across any game ruining glitches as it stands, and with the exception of one particular miscellaneous quest I can't hand in; it's been a pretty smooth experience.
The game itself feels more like Fallout than it does Oblivion; this is in no way a bad thing as it capitalises on the good aspects of both games and builds upon them with shiny new gameplay aspects. Overall, this game is unmissable for anyone who is interested in the Elder Scrolls, Fallout 3/Fallout: New Vegas or indeed any game rich in content.