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Skyrim: A review

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Colin Briggs

Staff writer

Fus Ro Dah!  These are the first words spoken by the Dovahkiin in the trailers for Bethesda’s latest edition to the “Elder Scrolls” series: “Skyrim”.  The game transports you to the fantasy realm of Tamriel where elves fight, orcs sling spells, and humans are everywhere.  In keeping with the theme of the last two games “Skyrim” puts the player inside the country of “Skyrim”.  This country is North of where you played “Oblivion” and West of “Morrowind” on the map.  With visible references to “Oblivion” and Morrowind” in the game “Skyrim” is definitely for those who love the Elder Scrolls series.

The graphics of the game got a major overhaul but uses the same engine as “Oblivion.”  This means that lights are more realistic, swords gleam with the blood of your recently slain foe, and the forests look like actual places Outdoor Adventures would visit.  As for the different playable races in the game, not much has changed except for the cat like Kajiit and the lizardfolk Argonians.  Faces look smoother, everything about appearances is more defined and pretty from a graphical setting, but the beast people got the most esthetic work done.  Instead of looking like the anthropomorphic cats of “Morrowind” and “Oblivion”, the Kajiit look more like lion-people, yet still have the grace and dexterity of a house cat.  The Argonians on the other hand look more like raptors.

The leveling system for “Skyrim” feels the most organic yet it is also frustrating at times.  Instead of getting to change your strength, wisdom, intelligence, charisma and so forth you are given three stats to improve at each level: Magic, Health, and Stamina.  This does streamline the leveling process, but no longer can I increase my carrying capacity or how much damage I can deal with a bow by leveling up and changing my strength or dexterity accordingly.

The game does make up for this by having feats.  This idea was borrowed directly from the “Fallout” series, but was modified for the skill system of “Skyrim”.  Instead of having a long list of funny and oddly useful perks, there are now talent trees.  Say you level up and want to get into blocking enemy attacks.  At first you can take a perk in the blocking talent tree that improves your blocking ability by 25%, at the next level you can spend another talent to improve your blocking skills by choosing the next in the series of three options: slow down time when blocking a power attack, block arrows, or be able to shield bash an attacker.  Either option affects gameplay and how well your character can block, and every option can be taken but you must meet the prerequisites first.

Combat is much the same, but like in “Halo” you can now dual wield.   Dual wielding is not limited to melee weapons, you can wield two spells at the same time.  This turns a measly flame spell into a raging inferno, healing spells into a massive regeneration of health, and summoning spells into a swarm of minions.  Archery combat got a major upgrade and is now actually useful.

As with all large sandbox games there will be glitches, usually nothing game breaking though.  I have encountered people hovering in midair, a man carrying firewood with his legs, the falling bones of long dead dragons, and a few other minor hilarious glitches.

Overall “Skyrim” is the most in depth, gorgeous, and fun of the Elder Scrolls series.  The sheer size of the main quest, not including the side quests, guarantees many hours of gameplay stretching from days into weeks and months.  As with all ambitious gaming projects expect glitches.  If you didn’t like earlier Elder Scrolls games then you won’t like “Skyrim”, but if you loved Oblivion or Morrowind then you will thoroughly enjoy playing “Skyrim” as Dovahkiin.