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5 out of 5

by Tim

     Bethesda Game Studios has given us many things within the last few years for us to be very grateful for.  The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is most definitely one of those things. This game is quite possibly the best game they’ve developed, and quite possibly one of the greatest games of all time… and is (without a doubt) the best game of 2011.     

     Skyrim’s main story revolves around you – a character destined to defeat Alduin… a dragon who is prophesied to destroy the world.   Skyrim is set two hundred years after the previous game (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion) – in a world undergoing a civil war.  Which side will you choose?  The story outcome is reflected upon each and every decision you make in the game.       

     The open world gameplay makes it easy to venture off of the main storyline, but it’s hard not to when you are indulged with the eye-candy scenery of Skyrim and the many side quests that this game has to offer.  And that’s one thing that makes this game different from the other open world games out there – the side quests were hard to differentiate from the main story.  They didn’t seem watered down or unnecessary, each quest felt as though it was the next chapter in the Skyrim storyline.  Whether it was to retrieve a helmet for a wayward soldier who is now begging for money in the streets or delivering a love letter for another inhabitant of Skyrim – each mission felt natural and flowed smoothly throughout this game.        

     Exploring the land is a game within itself.  You can (and will) spend hours locating and exploring new areas.  Within those areas you will find new villages, inhabitants, creatures and animals – and most of them will have something for you to progress further into the game.  Maybe it’s in the form of an abundance of gold, or a unique sword only found in a particular location on the map, or a special ingredient you can use in one of your potions – there always seemed to be some sort of motive to explore the land.   And there is nothing more epic than defeating a dragon while exploring the vast and beautiful land.       

     After you spend hours (and even days) exploring and completing side quests – you can then continue the main storyline and defeat Alduin.  I honestly felt that defeating Alduin was way too easy.  I don’t know if it was because I spent hours leveling up and preparing myself for that final battle, but it was incredibly easy and short.  But I do find it refreshing and as satisfying when the levels prior to the last are more difficult than the final encounter.     

     After completing this game I only have a couple minimal dislikes.  I already talked about the ending and it being too easy – I also feel the game suffered slightly because of the lack of cut-scenes.  I know a lot of people are anti cut-scenes, but I feel that it really needed it – especially at the end after defeating Alduin.  For one, I would have been more involved in the storyline, but it would have also cut down on some awkward moments.  For instance, when talking with someone during the game their vocals (which are very important to the story) would often be drowned out by another inhabitant of Skyrim walking by or standing next to you.  Or their words would be drowned out by loud music or sound effects.  Or the awkwardness (and dullness) that would occur when handing someone an item such as a book during one of these scenes – and nothing happening to show you that they reached out and are now looking and reading from the book… but instead the character is just looking at you and reading an item that is not there at all.  This could have been easily resolved with a few short cut-scenes.  I wouldn’t say that it needed much, but at least a few for the main storyline.  That’s it – that’s my only complaint I have about this game.       

     In a world of games taking three hours to complete, Skyrim is a breath of fresh air for all gamers out there.  Skyrim has something for everyone, and at the end of the day – it has a fun adventured filled story that should not be missed.