5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The ultimate role playing experience,
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This review is from: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
I've had this game since the release date (11/11/11) and only now do I feel like I have explored most of what Skyrim has to offer. Having logged well over 400 hours on this game I have not yet found every place or indeed every item. Before this game was released I played Oblivion and before that was released I played Morrowind.
First of all, the world of Skyrim is gigantic, surely rivalling or surpassing any other game daring to claim the largest area of gameplay or sandbox style RPG. The space and land mass available for exploring is obscene. The wildlife and scenery react independently to the environment and the weather as well as your presence. This environment has been carefully moulded and put together in such a way that as much detail as possible is captured. Sometimes on my travels I have just stopped and stared at the magnificent landscape ahead of me whilst listening to birds singing, deer running and the warning from a nearby bandit camp not to approach any further...I don't listen too well.
The controls are solid, easy to grasp and a joy to behold. Every effort has been made to accommodate first time players of the Elder Scrolls series as well as journeymen such as myself. Some changes have been made since Oblivion, and from a fans & gamers point of view, all for the best. These are in relation to the HUD, third person view and combat. You do not need to know how everything works straight away. Time is very much on your side in that respect.
The audio effects are immaculately timed and perfectly orchestrated, assuring a sense of realism thus bonding you closer to your chosen character. You will hear your enemies before you see them (providing they are not alerted to you first). Quietly hunting in the woods with your bow is a rich experience, made all the more satisfying when you release your first fatal arrow to snare a stray deer or buck. The in-game music score is a masterpiece, always adapting to your environments and individual situations.
Gameplay is how you would expect from Bethesda games, virtually flawless. The AI is sound and not always predictable which is never a bad thing. You may occasionally see a frame rate issue when fighting off a horde of enemies but I don't believe this affects the game at all. Dual-wielding one handed weapons is a new option in this game, and it does not disappoint. Whilst each individual blow is less powerful you can hone your skills to a point where your attacks are lightning fast and multiple attacks create a 'flurry'. This is immensely pleasing on the eye as your foes get cut up like Sushi. Magic use is visually outstanding and may encourage delusions of grandure when faced with minor miscreants whom you can torch with fire spells, paralyze with frost spells or electrocute with lightning spells. There are many ways of using these spells and all are creative and good fun to practice. Riding horses is made easier and more realistic in this title and the horses themselves have a much more battle hardened wintery look about them. Bethesda have also focussed on a better gaming experience from the third person view i.e. battle, sprinting or just walking around town. Whilst in the third person view all actions are more fluid and the bodyresponds more realistically to various actions. In combat 'Finishing moves' are also present. These come in different styles and camera angles but ultimately make the experience of mopping up the bad guys more of a thrill than ever. Character races no longer govern how good or bad you will be at certain skills,but each race has perks. There are no longer character classes restricting you from creating whoever you want to be.
The main story is deep and engaging. Choices you make really do affect the game and the people you interact with. If you arrive at a point in the game where you are struggling to make a decision, then you are reacting exactly how the creators/ developers want you to react. You care! You feel a responsibility, passion for a cause, devotion to a faction or you're just in it for yourself to see how much gold you can make out of the situation. No decisions are to be taken lightly and certainly don't assume you can always change your mind later. A good tip is to save often.
The end? There is no end. You can play on indefinitely. I doubt anyone will have explored the entire land before they complete the main storyline.If it was possible to do so then you are missing some of the finest graphics work gaming consoles have ever seen.
Bugs? Yep, and lots of em! Don't worry too much, most of them are small and bare no significance upon gameplay. Bethesda have been releasing patches over Xbox live every 6 weeks or so. One issue on this is that if you download a patch that fixes a bug that prevented you from buying a certain house, you will need to start a brand new game in order to benefit from this. I have had 2 playthroughs and there are many less bugs in the second, however some bug fixes caused other bugs to occur within that game. It is annoying I agree, but in the grand scheme of things this is a tiny ripple in a reservoir of beauty and depth. If you're buying the game, check what versions are in stores now to make sure you're getting the newest release, or if you have xbox live ensure you download the latest patch before starting up a new game. There was no question about this getting 5 stars. Even with all the bugs this is still a work of genius that we'll still be marvelling at in 2 years time. Even with the bug riddled first version I couldn't put this down for weeks, it is quite simply the biggest and best role playing game to date.