Why I Refuse to Review Skyrim
I’m 60 hours in. I’ve slain dragons, raided bandit hideouts, and mourned the loss of my valiant steed, Mortimer. My home in Whiterun is decorated with tokens of my travels: swords, shields, and amulets, each with their own story to tell. I’ve stalked the town proper as a beast of the night, and I’ve saved the great college of Winterhold from the machinations of an evil Thalmor. The tops of the highest peaks and the plains of the deepest valleys have tasted my steel, as the great conjurer Mixlemuggins sees no end to the adventures he would behold.
Questlines completed? One.
Welcome to my experiences in Bethesda’s latest creation, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Yes, a creation – to call the result of this work simply a game would not do it justice. Across every stretch of land, every broken archway, there is lore awaiting the weary traveler. To be fair, I am a big fan of Bethesda; their approach to the open-world RPG is, in my opinion, leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. This is their strength, and is exemplified in no short order in the world of Skyrim.
To get the most out of this experience, one must embrace complete immersion. Indeed, I find myself experiencing moments of vicarious bliss as I walk along with the residents of town, assuming my role as one of their own. Moments will arise when I just allow the world to sink in; slowly, I pan the camera left and right, examining the landscape and taking in a cool breath of air, which tastes oddly like my second floor apartment complex.
The sheer volume of content available is nothing short of stunning. Recently, I was on a quest to retrieve fragments of an ancient weapon. Denying the option to fast travel to a nearby location, I instead chose to hoof it to my destination. Along the way, I ran into a Khajiit (cat-person) who handed off an apparently stolen piece of armor to me, informing me of my imminent demise were I to rat him out to local authorities. He quickly dashed away, and as I contemplated my options, a Nord gentleman came running by. I returned his temptingly shiny piece of armor to him, and he thanked me with a few hundred gold pieces.
I continued to make my way and was distracted yet again by a stone staircase to my east. I determined that a short detour was in order, and escalated the frozen threshold. Step by step, I began to take notice of the escalating size of bones scattered across the path. My internal debate over the likelihood of a mammoth having gotten that far up the mountain was quickly cut short, however, by a friggin’ dragon.
After taking down the beast and learning a cool new word of power thanks to the stone carving at the peak, I hopped back down the rocky hillside and continued my journey. That is, until I stopped and thought to myself, “…where the hell am I going?” A quick consultation of my journal set me on the right path again, and one hour later, I completed the adventure I had originally set out to do.
Certainly, though, the game does have its faults. Characters continue to look rather stone-faced, and texture glitches run rampant (with often hilarious results). Game crashes and buggy quests plague an otherwise engrossing atmosphere – but hey, let’s be fair. A game of this magnitude is nearly impossible to playtest to the point that would allow for the expulsion of any and all coding flaws. As expected, a patch is soon to come for owners that will likely repair a majority of these issues.
Skyrim is a work of art, and a prime contender for Game of the Year. To assign it a numerical value would be trivial; frankly, you owe it to yourself to play this game. Rent it, buy it, or borrow it from a friend (in a couple years). Completely immerse yourself in the world; watch people interact with each other, see the sky shift, and just let the world of Skyrim envelope you in its marvel. Now, please do excuse me – it’s hard to cast spells while I’m typing.
(Be sure to check out Clint’s Anti-Review as well!)