Most helpful positive review
77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
Masterpiece game, masterpiece guide ...
on 12 November 2011
There is no point beating around the bush here: the Skyrim Prima Guide has to be one of the most thorough, helpful and comprehensive guides I have ever used.
For the sake of depth, I have broken down this review into components.
CHARACTER CREATION AND TRAINING
The Guide goes straight into the nitty gritty. It illustrates effectively the ten different races and the important strengths and weaknesses of each. Even better, the game provides a number of helpful archetype characters, demonstrating the various ways to create an effective and yet individual character. The Guide provides information on the various starting abilities, spells, skills and so on which each character can use.
Alongside each racial breakdown, there is a "Tip" breakdown, with a handy evaluation on whether the starting Skills and spells are truly worth going for.
The Guide follows this section with a breakdown of what the Skills and Perks are for each character and what they mean for you when you are playing the game. The Guide's thoroughness may be seen as a flaw for some- there is a hell of a lot of information here to be going on with- but it ensures that even a complete novice to RPG games will understand exactly what a "skill" is (not all players will!).
The Guide then goes on to provide over 50 pages of in-depth hints on how to get the most out of your character: from mining to enchanting, alchemy to the most complex battle tactics, and from buying a house to becoming a vampire, this ensures you really get the most out of your gaming experience.
BESTIARYS AND INVENTORIES
Yet again, the game provides an extremely comprehensive list of all characters, potions, apparel, weapons, food items, enemies (and so on!) you will encounter in the game. This can be a little intimidating at first- the guide sacrificies simplicity for the sake of depth- but this is a certainly of benefit to most players like myself, who are happy to spend a few hours trawling through the guide every once in a while to gain knowledge before play.
A quick note here- I have not yet completed the game, although I am a pretty decent way through, and so far these inventories have been totally invaluable. I will update this review for the sake of accuracy on its true effectiveness later on upon completion.
Truly excellent. Each quest is broken down with handy hints, tips and maps, as well as key notes on who you will encounter and the effects of the choices you make. There are plenty of times in the game when you must choose who to ally yourself with from two factions or from two other NPCs- the Guide ensures your choice is informed.
One downside - as the game is so open-ended and such an extreme "sandbox", the guide is not as chronological as some might prefer. This is probably unavoidable though- as each player will make their own game and tackle quests in their own order, any strict chronology is virtually impossible. The contents and index pages ensure you'll find the page you need eventually- it may just take a bit of time!
Another note- the walkthroughs are very thorough, and if you prefer a bit of spontaneity it may be best to refer to it just when you are stuck, or when you are unsure of what decision to make. Otherwise, it may spoil the element of surprise Skyrim is soooo good at.
The true masterpiece of the guide.
If, like me, you are a bit obsessive-compulsive about ensuring you have THOROUGHLY (and I mean thoroughly!) exploring every single area, and combing every bit of the map to ensure you get every random event possible, you will adore this section of the Guide. The Atlas provides details of every single location in the game (even ones you won't find on the in-game map) and details every item, every character, every random event, the difficulty of the dungeons and every other helpful bit of information you could possibly think of.
This is extremely helpful to have open when playing the game, to ensure you don't miss out on that unique Axe or Spell Tome, or whatever other item takes your RPG fancy.
The guide is very nicely illustrated. I have seen other, better illustrated guides (Dragon Age II's for example); however, due to the size of the guide this is probably to be expected. The Guide is primarily functional, although there are some pretty nice aesthetics too- and every illustration provided for items and skills and so on is informative as well as nice to look at.
The Guide is almost flawless. It is literally essential for someone who wants to dedicate time and effort to getting the most out of this wonderful game. If, like me, you want to dedicate hundreds of hours of your life to it, I strongly recommend purchasing this guide.
When you've spent hours wandering around a dungeon, or just cannot come up with the answer to a puzzle, this Guide is your best friend.
The downsides- a little intimidating in size, and sometimes a little difficult to find the information you need because of this- are merely illustrative of the size of the game it is guiding you through. To provide this kind of advice- detailed, informative and accurate on every single aspect of the game- on an RPG of this size, is no mean feat. Prima done good.