For the 3rd time in as many days, I've found myself staring blankly at the TV wondering why it's dark outside, why I'm still in my dressing gown and why I haven't done anything constructive yet. Sure, I'll admit this has happened many times before during my life; in this case however, I've found myself to be unashamed. I haven't achieved anything that would seem 'useful', but man alive, I've seen an entirely new world and I've barely scratched the surface. Skyrim has yet to disappoint me, and here's why.
1. One of the largest games yet?
So far I've crossed maybe half of Skyrim's world, after having played the game for close to a week. Of that half, I've discovered close to a 100 locations, the majority of which are varied enough to dedicate time to explore: I've climbed mountains; I've scaled cliff top fortresses; I've swum through wreck-filled oceans and I've explored vast underground ruins. Every location has been lovingly crafted which shows that Bethesda, developers of Skyrim, have succeeded in creating a world you can truly get lost in - a far cry from the previous Elder Scrolls game, Oblivion. It's not just the size of the world that shows just how large it is, either. For every major town, dungeon or city, there are guaranteed to be several quests which can easily evolve into a lore-driven storyline unique to the location, which succeeds in drawing the player into the game.
2. You're not limited to one path.
In my game, I have: Slain dragons; Conquered cities; Murdered kings. I've been married - Twice. I've worked at a village's sawmill, forge and farm, all to just eke out a living. I've caught salmon, and harvested cabbages. One might laugh at the last few experiences, but it's experiences like these that ensure that everyone has something to do. You don't want to become the Dragonborn and save the world? That's fine, you can buy a house and read books. The campaign -what I've seen of it, at least - is amazing, but it's only a minute section of what Skyrim has to offer. By providing this amount of freedom to pursue whatever journey you want, you truly can make your own way. We can't all save the world, after all.
I've climbed mountains; I've scaled cliff top fortresses; I've swum through wreck-filled oceans and I've explored vast underground ruins.
3. Skyrim is visually stunning.
A boon of Skyrim's ambitious level of freedom is that these underground caverns and mountain peaks provide the means for you to get experience the amazing scenes that Skyrim has to offer. The graphics engine Skyrim uses, while dated, has been overhauled for Skyrim's release and certainly doesn't disappoint, even on aging consoles or low-spec computers. Within 10 minutes of playing, one can view forests, swamps, mountain ranges and so on, which provoke a sense of wanderlust within. Quests, plots and items don't matter - It's just a joy to explore.
4. Questlines are extremely varied and involving.
As is tradition in Elder Scrolls games, Skyrim comes with the usual Main Storyline quests, Guild Storylines, and sidequests - However where Skyrim differs, is that the sheer amount of quests is staggering - Every major town is guaranteed to give you hours of entertainment. For example, it took me around 9 hours to completely finish the first starting town, which certainly is the norm for Skyrim. Sure, that may sound like a huge investment, it might even get boring - But that's definitely not the case in Skyrim - There's enough detail in each individual quest to feel immersive, enjoyable and most of all, important. Skyrim is a game that, after having played it non-stop for days, is probably going to be a game that I won't ever finish completely. But that's ok, because the sheer amount of freedom offered here means disappointment won't be an issue.
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