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A Short Review of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was one of the most anticipated role-playing games for many years, and this past Thursday I waited in line at the midnight release party to get my hands on a copy. The previous game in the Elder Scrolls series, Oblivion, provided my sister and me many years of entertainment. So after getting our money’s worth ten times over from Oblivion, we couldn’t wait for Skyrim to come out.

The game feels like Fallout 3, a game from another series from Bethesda Softworks; the people are proportioned similarly, and the perk system, quest prompts and certain animations are all similar as well. But the dramatic orchestral score and sprawling mountainous landscape, complete with mountain flora and fauna, keep the game on the fantasy side. And the game’s heads-up display has taken a major graphical leap forward from old fantasy parchment in Oblivion to a modern, sleek black and white design complete with sans-serif fonts.

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The game begins with your character as a prisoner on a ride to meet his or her fate, true to Elder Scrolls form. Making a character is nowhere near as in-depth as in Oblivion, which disappointed me; I like to spend at least an hour perfectly tweaking my custom characters. Also the characters seem to have become much more rugged than before. Not my particular aesthetic preference, but it works for the story I suppose. The character creator system is reminiscent of Dragon Age or Mass Effect, where you customize your character’s appearance through a combination of premade features.

After escaping a particularly vengeful dragon, your character is let out into a surprisingly beautiful, lush landscape, complete with snowcapped mountains looming in the distance. Needless to say the graphics have improved by leaps and bounds.

The gameplay in Skyrim is much more natural than Oblivion. There are no longer restraints on which skills help you to level up. You develop inclinations toward skills and choose perks for them as you progress. In addition, being able to choose which two weapons or spells—or any combination of the two—to equip is a wonderful change from Oblivion and Fallout. You’ll quickly discover your favorite combinations, which makes the game more intuitive and fun.

The dungeons are far better as well. They are deliberate in their design instead of being haphazardly thrown together like in Oblivion. The dungeons, forts and tombs are still sprawling, but now they feature puzzles to solve to keep things interesting.

Unfortunately the game freezes on occasion, which keeps me paranoid, but it’s nothing that saving often won’t fix.

There’s certainly much more to be said of Skyrim— I’m only a couple hours into the game, and I haven’t done the first tasks in the main quest yet— but the only real way to know if Skyrim is for you is to become immersed in it for yourself.

Amaris Marshall, Contributing Writer


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