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4.8 out of 5 stars
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Official Strategy Guide
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77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
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.

WALKTHROUGHS
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.

ATLAS
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.

ILLUSTRATIONS
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.

OVERALL
5/5
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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 12 February 2012
To be honest, I am usually someone who's against cheating at games. I almost never use cheats and this is the first time I decided to buy a game guide. I believe that you should beat a game on your own.
However, in the case of Skyrim it is almost necessary to have some kind of help or guidance, because the game is so huge. If you really want to enjoy the whole Skyrim world, you really need this official game guide.
It's very detailed(which is why it's so fat), it covers pretty much everything and it warns you from spoilers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 January 2012
I ordered this from Amazon's U.S. site and, including p&p, it cost less than a fiver more than the U.K. SRP. You may not feel that it's worth going to the trouble of doing a transatlantic order for a game guide but a) the guide is absolutely extraordinary and b) if you cave and buy this guide from a U.K. retailer then you are playing into the hands of that retailer, who struck an exclusivity deal on the collector's edition of the game and seems to have done the same with the guide. Basically, if you let the retailer's strategy work then online stores will not be able to use their purchasing power to discount gaming-related products in the future, so you'll end up losing financially. Sermon over.

I had already logged (at a conservative estimate) three hundred hours' play on this game, spread across several characters, before I received this guide, and I had already checked out the various web resources. To be honest, I don't usually trust Prima guides, which can be of very variable quality. In this case, though, an encyclopaedic job has been done; in addition to the masses of statistics, there are substantial paragraphs on Skyrim lore and extensive quest details including "Post-Quest Activities" if these are unlocked by completion. There are maps of every significant location which is pretty amazing considering the huge number of dungeons. You are even given tick-boxes so that you can keep track, for example, of every Stone of Berenziah you have collected! This may seem excessive, but the editors have ensured that you have all the information that you could ask for; being able to look up an Alchemy recipe or enemy level readily really matters with this game. There's a large paper map as well, although you do have to tear it out of the book to use it, which is a minor niggle.

Even at 650 pages, something has to give, and in this case it is the artwork. Instead of big pretty pictures you are given thumbnails which, because they are printed so small in full colour, are quite dark and indistinct. This is the price you pay for an A4 book which prints up to seven screenshots on a page that is already full of small-font text. It doesn't bother me, but it might bother you.

The hardback binding is better than some game guides (i.e. the bound pages have not "rippled" dramatically), and there are a couple of bound silk bookmarks that help. Overall, this is a very nice guide well worth the trouble of tracking down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I bought this guide on eBay and paid about 3 times the retail, and it was well worth the price. If by chance you see a copy in a boot sale or charity shop grab it, and wrap it up, in a few years you will be "quids in" I moved a year ago and threw my Oblivion guide in the bin. Check the prices now !
Anyway back to the review, the amount of information in the guide is amazing. Everything you need just about. The game IMHO is amazing. Downside of the manual is the index. It's a mere eight pages out of a massive Six Hundred and sixty five.
On the absolute basic level of the game, if you want to know what your Quest entails, you would like to see the details?
There are hundreds of quests in the game, you would like to go to the index look up the quest name and go to the beginning of the quest, it is certainly " cheating " but we are not all the uber rpg player, we need help.
If you look in the index for your quest , forget it, not there. The quest is in the guide and in perfect detail, you just have to thumb through the 200 pages of detailed quests in the guide
Would not be without it, wish the author had been given the time to index it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2012
I bought this strategy guide when the game first came out. It is remarkable. Full walkthroughs of all quests, lists of items and excellent maps. A fascinating book to read in its own right. Buy it !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2012
This is a great book and no mistake. All the information you need to make progress in the game. It's a reference book rather than one you would read cover to cover, containing a multitude of facts such as;

- data on each race
- data on each ally and foe you could encounter
- a bestiary explaining information about each creature you could encounter
- every weapon you can use, including spells
- detailed information on each of the holds, cities/towns etc
- lists of the main, primary and secondary quests
- detailed maps of areas, towns, dungeons, tombs etc etc
- a walkthrough of all the quests
- where you can find important items, who has them, why you need them etc

There is more in the book, and it's mostly printed in colour. I understand that much of this information is available in the Skyrim wiki online, but it's no substitution for having the book. All in all it really is a very good buy and I can't recommend it highly enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2012
This is utterly essential if you want to explore as many locations as possible without being dragged down by the storyline. I completed this months ago and have been exploring at my own leisure for at least 2 months, with hundreds more locations yet to be found, it's an awe inspiring game. Unfortunately I believe I'm beginning to experience the infamous 'Rimlag' for the first time since the patch that supposedly fixed it permanently on PS3, my save file is 11 megabytes and when I tried playing it recently it kept lagging badly every 10 seconds. I didn't save so switched it off and haven't played it since, I'm hoping it was just that snowy area that was putting a strain on the PS3, otherwise I'd be very disappointed. I don't want the game to lag like this when I still have so many locations yet to be explored. I will play it again today to see what happens, I really hope that was a one off because this game is the 2nd best purchase I've made on PS3 behind COD4 which I've put thousands of hours into and made lots of new friends online and in real life.

The guide lays out every location in detail, even the unlisted locations or 'random events' you see when traversing the landscape, with maps for many locations, step by step guides on how to beat every cave and dungeon, and everything else you can think of laid out in great depth - every character, weapon, collectable, quest, everything is in this hefty hefty guide. It's pricey but you get what you pay for. I use it every time I play the game now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2013
Never bought a guide before but I got this day of release with the game and I was so grateful that I did. It literally has every little detail in here and helpful tick lists of worthwhile items to find in each dungeon. I could not have master the vanilla game without this and I didn't have to sit with my laptop waiting for the game wiki to get updates. I will definitely be buying their guide for Fallout 4 when that comes!

If you're just getting into Skyrim you should get the Legendary Edition guide instead as it will have all of the dragonborn content in there which is a massive expansion.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Legendary Edition (Prima Official Game Guides)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2011
WOW. Ordered this (one of the lucky few) from amazon.com and it arrived in a week. This guide is just incredible. Solid hardback and over 600 pages that will tell you everything you need to know about what is the best game I have ever played in my 30 years of gaming. PRIMA have outdone themselves with this. Unfortunately it looks like the hardback edition is out of print now, and I dont understand why they never printed more copies. Hopefully there will be a new print, and i would urge everyone to get this. I prefer to work out the game myself, and think of this as a bible or reference guide to the game, and it has been invaluable so far. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2012
Brilliant guide but, if you want the hardback edition, get it from Amazon US. Don't pay rip off crazy UK seond hand prices, get it brand new from Amazon US. Brand new and well packaged, came a week after ordering for about £23
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