The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
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"What is better - to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?"— Paarthurnax
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (or just Skyrim) is a 2011 role-playing game that is the fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls franchise. The game was released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and computers. It was developed and published by Bethesda. The game was later re-made and released as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Special Edition for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC in 2016.
Set 200 years after the events of Oblivion, the game focuses on a protagonist known as the Dragonborn, a being with the soul of a dragon and must do battle with Alduin, a god in the form of a dragon who is prophesized to destroy the world. In addition, Skyrim is in the throes of a civil war with the Stormcloak rebels seeking to take over Skyrim and secede from the Empire while the Imperials seek to ensure Skyrim stays a part of the Empire.
Why It Rocks
- This is basically Game of Thrones: The Game, and actually started as a adaptation of the books. The threat of dragons returning, the Stark like Viking Nords at war with the Lannister like Imperials, and many many nods to the series.
- Over 70 hours of questing and content.
- You have to increase skills by doing whatever pertains to that skill (i.e. using an ax increases your two-handed weapon skill.) This system basically means that, rather than the player choosing a class given by the game, the game creates a build around the player.
- Numerous ways to level up, not just by fighting monsters. You can level up by raising skills like lockpicking, alchemy, blacksmithing, and so much more, allowing for a wide variety in the gameplay rather than forcing players to endlessly kill enemies and grind.
- Leveling up allows you to either increase your health, magic, or stamina. This increase the already large variety of builds that can be made, as health is great for warriors since they are usually in melee combat, magic is great for mages, and stamina is great for thieves for increased sprinting for escaping and carrying more stuff to steal.
- Raising skills to level up also allows players to increase perks in their favorite skill areas, an innovative encouraging players to create a specialized build instead of being a jack of all trades, as you are in many RPGs.
- Pretty much any playstyle will find at least one faction based around a part of their playstyle. These factions give you unique quests, jobs, followers, and access to special weapons.
- This is the first game in the series where you actually fight dragons.
- Defeating dragons allows you to absorb their souls! You can then unlock unique, magical "shouts" (or Thu'um) that you find in dungeons.
- The Thief skill allows gamers to use stealth gameplay.
- Disenchanting items allows you to learn the enchants for other pieces of equipment better suited to the player's class.
- Players can customize their character in any way they want. There is no wrong way to customize.
- Some quests allow you to obtain powerful, unique items from the Daedric Princes.
- Several questlines add their own major story to the game, aside from the main questline.
- Two other major faction the player can join are the Imperial Legion and the Stormcloaks. The Stormcloaks want to secede from the Empire and the Imperial Legion want to keep Skyrim united to the Empire.
- In the Dragonborn DLC (that comes with the special edition) you can tame and have dragons as your pets.
- Introduced in Dawnguard are two unique skill trees, one for vampirism noted as "Vampire Lord" and one for lycanthropy.
- In addition to new powers, joining the vampires grants access to Castle Volkihar - an island stronghold that not only serves as a base, but grants bonuses to vampiric powers and gives blood potions, which heal and count towards vampiric feeding.
- Rather than spending points to add perks as in the base game, new perks are gained by feeding on enemies with the new powers. For vampires, consuming life blood through a bite power attack or a Drain Life spell causes new perks to be gained; for werewolves, it is consuming the heart when feeding on a dead corpse. This approach allows high or maximum level characters to obtain new perks that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to obtain.
- As with Lycanthropy, townspeople will attack a transformed Vampire Lord on sight, however this will no longer happen if the Dragonborn is a regular vampire. Unlike werewolf transformations, the vampire form can be exited at will.
- Joining forces with Harkon allows the Dragonborn to become a Vampire Lord - the paragon of the species. If the Dragonborn is already a Werewolf, accepting to become a Vampire Lord will remove the Lycanthropy, but it can be regained later. The transformation process works similar to Lycanthropy and grants access to unique powers. One such ability is Vampiric Grip, which suspends an enemy in the air with telekinesis as their health is drained. Other powers and abilities include summoning a gargoyle, hovering above the ground and transforming into a cloud of bats.
- Joining the Dawnguard grants the Dragonborn access to Fort Dawnguard, a large keep said to be hidden somewhere in the southern region of Skyrim. The unique benefits of joining the Dawnguard include various new weapons and armor to fight vampires, including crossbows. Furthermore, Dawnguard members will also be able to "hire" Armored Trolls, which serve as temporary followers.
- Dawnguard introduces several new additions to both ranged and melee combat. The first new addition is the inclusion of Dragonbone weapons, which are stronger than Daedric Weapons. Crossbows are added to the arsenal of weapons at the Dragonborn's disposal. Crossbows remain loaded while running through the world and provide a quicker shot. They are, however, slower to reload than bows. Another benefit is that each shot has a chance to stagger an opponent. All of the perks spent in Archery skill tree apply to crossbows. Crossbow bolts can also be crafted with various enchantments, such as fire and frost damage. New shouts are also included in the add-on. One shout called Soul Tear can be learned from Durnehviir, an undead Dragon found in the Soul Cairn. This shout allows the Dragonborn to steal the soul of a defeated enemy and raise their soul as an undead minion.
- A plane of Oblivion known as Soul Cairn, an ethereal realm of trapped souls, is a new location that can be visited in Dawnguard. It can be accessed via a mysterious portal in Castle Volkihar. In addition, the Dragonborn can complete a side quest to free an undead skeletal horse named Arvak. This mount can then be summoned at will and is not restricted to the undead realm.
- Legendary Dragons are the new maximum-level Dragon class. In addition to Legendary Dragons, new enemies such as Gargoyles, Death Hounds, Armored Trolls can be also encountered. Within the Soul Cairn realm some of the enemies include Bonemen, Wrathmen, Keepers and an undead Dragon named Durnehviir.
- Dawnguard adds a new character in The Ragged Flagon of Riften named Galathil who can alter the Dragonborn's appearance for 1000. Race and gender are locked, but other facial features can be tweaked.
- The game has a massive modding community on PC, giving it a nearly endless lifespan. Mods are also available in the special edition on consoles, although they are more restricted, especially on the PS4 version. If there's something in the game you don't like, chances are there's a mod for that. And there's mods for EVERYTHING, such as new weapons, armor, and quests, restoring content that was cut but left in the game, making children vulnerable (this was actually one of the very first mods made for the game), changing the appearance of NPCs and locations, sexual content, and joke mods (such as one that replaces the dragons with Macho Man Randy Savage, which extends to the dragon roars being replaced by Randy Savage quotes, and another that replaces them with characters from Thomas & Friends).
- Epic soundtrack that is perfectly thematic, especially the main theme, composed by Jeremy Soule.
- It's a me, Paarthurnax! Charles Martinet, who does the voice of Mario, voices Paarthurnax in this game. He teaches you various enhancements to your shouts when you get to meet him.
- Using the Xbox 360's Kinect voice command feature, the player can send over 200+ voice commands to the game.
- Hearthfire focuses around purchasing land and designing, building and maintaining a homestead. The option to hire stewards, carriage drivers and a personal bard are also available. With five pre-built purchasable houses already present in Skyrim, it's now possible to own property in every hold, except Winterhold. In addition, an adoption mechanic has been introduced that allows the Dragonborn to adopt children and raise them in the newly built home, provided there is room for them. Previously bought homes can be altered to have a children's bedroom fitted into them.
- The special edition has made some improvements from the original.
- Skyrim Special Edition is 64-bit and has been updated to use DirectX 11, giving superior stability and performance compared to the original release. The game can utilize more than 4GB of memory without needing modifications.
- Havok physics and animations have been updated to 64-bit and use a different format to the original release.
- Meshes use a different format to the original release
- Special Edition has a native option for borderless windowed mode in launcher settings.
- The game can support vastly more actors on-screen than the original release.
- Alt-Tab performs smoothly with the game and does not cause the visual issues that could occur in the original release.
- Loading screens are now 60 FPS.
- New engine and scripting functionality has been introduced to accommodate Creation Club content.
- A message of the day appears on the main menu advertising Creation Club content (introduced in Patch 1.5).
- Certain locations such as the Ancestor Glade contain far more harvestable plants.
- Volumetric god-rays have been added.
- Screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO) is now supported.
- Rain and snow occlusion is now supported, and is an optional visual setting.
- Flow-based water shaders have been added and enabled for all bodies of water.
- Temporal anti-aliasing support (TSAA) has been added as an alternative visual option to Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing (FXAA).
- Shadows now display in full resolution, no longer appear blocky or striped, and move smoothly instead of in increments.
- Trees and flora are in higher-resolution.
- The exterior worldspace features vastly more detail, e.g. extra grass, rocks and flora.
- Shoreline wave effects used on Solstheim in Dragonborn are now used across Skyrim's shorelines too.
- Character generation now morphs between face archetypes instead of abruptly changing.
- A subtle sun flare effect has been added to light sources.
- Special Edition has warmer and more colorful visuals compared to the original release.
- Saved games are now categorized for each character and grouped and displayed separately on the main menu.
- Saving the game in a cell that has an underscore in its EditorID will cause saved games to not be categorized correctly. No such cells are present by default, but may be added by mods.
- Pressing the Esc key on PC now always opens the Journal instead of the System menu, even if this button is not configured to do so.
- Torturer's Hoods are now marked as playable and can be obtained as loot from the Torturer and generic Thief NPCs. They could not be obtained or used in the original release.
- Reverting from Beast Form will automatically reequip the items you were wearing before transformation. In the original release, your character would always be naked after reverting.
- You can no longer see whether you are far away or not from your next skill point on the Vampire Lord skills screen and on the Werewolf skill screen.
- When being arrested and paying a bounty in Winterhold stolen items are now confiscated, though they end up in the evidence chest in Dawnstar.
- Several issues from the original release of Skyrim and Dawnguard have been fixed for Special Edition.
- Fires no longer display a thin black line around them (issue originally introduced with Classic Patch 1.6).
- NPC lip movement is no longer desynchronized with their dialogue.
- Z-fighting issues on mountains in Whiterun Hold have been resolved.
- The Glass Helmet of Resurgence is now properly named and no longer mistakenly called "Glass Armor of Resurgence".
- 21 trees and shrubs have had their 3D positions corrected.
- Some textures that had visual issues have been fixed.
- The boats at Icewater Jetty no longer overlap.
- Dawnguard.esm no longer strips A Daedra's Best Friend quest of most of its script properties.
- Wolf howl sounds can be heard again (fixed in Patch 1.5.39.)
Creation Kit 64-bit
- Argonians are now properly displayed in the Creation Kit instead of appearing as disembodied tongues and eyes.
- The game has a very large number of glitches, bugs, crashes, and freezing issues due to having a very large world. However, only a few will break the game and are often a source of humor. Many of these issues were fixed with patches.
- However, with the failure of Fallout 76, the bugs and glitches that remained may not be viewed with the same feel of humor and more of disdain, due to some bugs persisting in Fallout 76 that can be traced back to this game, only causing urges for better quality control and less reliance on the modding community.
- The characters are extremely forgettable. In fact, the most memorable characters in the game seem to be the ones who have generated memes. Serana and Paarthurnax are the most memorable of the entire game.
- The blades were a very weak faction and Delphine and Esbern were very pretentious and overbearing annoying.
- The final boss of the game, Alduin, fights no different to any other dragon with only one additional attack which doesn't change the way you fight him much.
- Much of the follower AI is flawed with followers unable to follow you at times and are likely to activate traps or even attack enemies when you don't want them to. Additionally, they often tend to block doorways, preventing you from getting through.
- Stealth AI is humorously bad. You can shoot an enemy with arrows and if you remain unseen without killing them, they will be cautious for a moment before saying it "was just [their] imagination" and return to their original state.
- The game has a very low variety of voice actors. As a result, you will constantly hear the same few voices coming from different characters.
- Dungeons, while numerous, tend to be rather forgettable.
- The PS3 version had an issue with severe frame-rate drops and momentary freezes on release after playing the game for many hours, dubbed "Rimlag". This delayed the launch of downloadable content for that version of the game. This issue has mostly been fixed in updates, so make sure you are playing the most up to date version of the game if you're playing the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
- The Special Edition of the game has microtransactions and paid mods via Creation Club. Bethesda also hid the original version of the game from Steam. If you want to buy the game on Steam, buy the original version, not the Special Edition unless you like paid mods (which is highly unlikely).
- Vampire attacks on settlements, a feature introduced with Dawnguard, have been permanently disabled in the special edition.
- The audio quality in the PS4 and Xbox editions are more compressed and have had to be patched to rectify this issue.
Skyrim is often considered one of the best games ever made and won over 300 awards.
Angry Joe gave the game 10 out of 10.
It was also the very first western game to get a perfect 40/40 score from Famitsu.