Having never played an Elder Scrolls game before, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I purchased Skyrim last holiday season. If I had, I would have quit football, dropped out of school and lived in my room all day just to play this game.
Skyrim is appropriately named, its all about what you do in a place called Skyrim. You can raid dungeons, assassinate contracts, study magic, ransack villages, fight a civil war, fight dragons, or just wander around. No matter what you decide to do in Skyrim, you will always be entertained.
This is for three main reasons: First, because the game is beautiful. Even if you are just aimlessly venturing through the countryside, you will be treated to gorgeous landscapes and lighting effects to keep your eyes busy. The second reason is due to the great story. Nothing you do ever feels like a fetch quest because of the terrific context given for each objective. The third and most important reason however, is due to the great combat and leveling system. The leveling system is nothing short of brilliant. Instead of being forced into decisions that you will later regret at the character creation screen, you are free to experiment with each one of the games unique skill sets. The more fireballs you shoot, the more you level up your magic, the more you sneak, the stealthier you are, etc. This system keeps things fresh as you are free to try out different skills at your leisure.
I began the game as an axe wielding maniac and finished as a platemail wearing fireball throwing motherfucker. The flexibility of this system also adds to the already overwhelming amount of replayability that comes with this package. The main storyline has you, the prophesied hero of Skyrim, searching for clues about the return of the dragons and how to stop them. As the Dragonborn, you have a unique ability called a thuum. These are powers that are commanded by your characters voice and add yet another layer to the combat system. As you explore the massive province, you will come across more words of power, which can be unlocked to give your character more shouts. In order to buy one of these words once you find it, you must use a dragon soul.
The only way to obtain Dragon Souls is by slaying a dragon and absorbing his very essence. Sounds badass right? It is at first. But after many more encounters with these over sized lizards, I began to grow weary of their repetitive nature. Nonetheless I still found the act of slaying dragons fun since it allowed for character progression.
When its all said and done the main quest is about 60 hours, which would be more than enough to merit the 60 dollar purchase price. But the main quest is about 5 percent of the game. I sank over 200 hours into this game and I still haven't done half of what there is to do. Your adventures through Skyrim are supported by a beautiful soundtrack that hits all the right notes.
As entertaining as Skyrim is, it does have some flaws, most of which are technical. There are a number of glitches in the game, such as invisible heads and flying mammoths which can break your immersion in the game world. None of the glitches I encountered were game breaking however, and they should not stop anyone from buying this game.
The other issue I have with this game is the voice acting. Most of it is good(although there are a few voices that anybody could've done better) but there are about 10 voice actors used for what probably amounts to 1000 npcs. Hearing the same voice over and over again gets annoying after a while, especially when 2 of the voices are just plain awful. As annoying as these issues can be, they are largely overshadowed by the vast amount of engaging content that is sure to keep gamers busy for years to come until the sequel, which I am eagerly anticipating. Skyrim truly is one of the best role playing games ever created.