I got Skyrim Legendary Edition for Christmas recently and decided to get the guide as it was very cheap for such a big book. I've had guides for computer games before (Final Fantasy VII springs to mind) but nothing anywhere near as comprehensive as this. This is truly a labour of love, pretty much every single thing in the game is covered... it must have amounted to 1000's of hours of gameplay and a lot of work for the small team that wrote it.
Plus points: - Organised into clear sections covering races and abilities, weapons, armour, magic, all the quests, and maps of all the dungeons and major outdoor locations. - Folding map of Skyrim and Solstheim with every location marked. - Index of quests by name (very handy) and main index for everything else. - Mentions other quests or important tidbits during each quest - e.g. don't kill this guy if you want to come back on X quest and find his sword etc. (again super helpful) - Covers the Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn DLCs comprehensively Dawnguard quests and locations covered Large section on building your own house with the Hearthfire add-on Maps of Solstheim and related locations and all Dragonborn quests detailed
Minus points: - This is a massive book - about the size of a telephone directory - and as it is paperback, and printed on flimsy telephone directory style paper, you can't really balance it on you and read it at your leisure. It works much better if you've got it on a flat surface and are just flicking through to check the occasional thing. - There are spelling mistakes but to be honest in a 1100+ page guide that can be forgiven!
In short, you need this in your life. Even if you're the sort of person who wants to experience the game with no spoilers there are times when you will get lost or frustrated and without this book you'd have to resort to internet forums or give up!
Having bought Skyrim on PC at it's release 11/11/11, and having chalked up almost 800 hours in game, as you'd expect iv'e seen a lot of what the game has to offer. But i wanted to ensure that no detail had passed me by, hence my investment into this mighty tome.
PRO(S): -1117 pages of everything you'll ever want to know about Skyrim & it's DLC, from details on every quest, guild member, enemies to skills & perks etc... -Pull out map charting all key locations. -Detailed colored pictures & easy to read text on nice quality paper.
CON(S): -It weighs a lot, that only a true Dragonborn may lift it (not much hope of relaxing with this on your own throne ;-P).
In conclusion, i'm very happy with the book, despite my own extensive in game experience it has still managed to teach me a thing or two, helping me find new locations, quests & tips on fighting styles etc... It's simply just a pleasure to read in the comfort of your own home. Highly recommended.
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.
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.
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.