Release Date: November 11, 2011
Systems: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Metacrtic Score: 92 (PS3)
It’s good. But you knew that. Chances are you already know all the joys and frustrations that “Skyrim” has to offer. But the landscape of gaming is ever changing; a game that was herald as perfect can seem outdated after a year or so due to knew innovations, technology or even just a creative team working with more experience. So, almost three years after “Skyrim”’s release, how does the game hold up? Well, that’s what we’re going to look at today.
The Dragons have returned signaling the end of the world, and it is your job as Dragonborn to find out why, and stop it. That basically sums the overall plot of the main quest, but I feel that is far from the overall “story” of Skyrim. No, this is a story of Civil War, Religious Persecution, thieves and murderers. This is a story about the people of Skyrim. As someone who mostly plays games for the stories, I found myself enjoying this setup a lot more than o would have thought before playing. Almost everyone has a story, just as it is in real life, but your involvement in each persons story is up to you. Do you help either side of the civil war raging in Skyrim, or do you focus your energy on the bigger issue of the dragons? Because of this setup, it really does feel like you are living the life of a legend that history will remember.
The game is far from perfect however. When ever you are given a quest, no matter how important it may (or should) be, it is given too by mostly mediocre voice acting and characters who simply stand there as they talk to you. There is no scene of urgency, of even simple humanity with the delivery, and because of that, a of moments lack any form of charm. The task might have made me feel like a hero, but getting the quest made me feel more like an errand boy.
It also would nice to be able to fail a dialogue every once in a while, like in “Deus Ex: Human Revolution”. For example, in one part of the game you are a part of a Peace summit. However, while playing I blatantly favored one side and everyone simply went with it. It would have been more interesting if you really had to put some thought into these encounters, but sadly, either you just keep choosing dialogue choices until you get the response you want, or the mission ends up as another combat mission.
I’ve never played an “Elder Scrolls” game before, so I cannot comment on how this game improves or destroys the established formula, but I can say that this is how RPG’s should be played. At the beginning of the game you pick a race and some basic stats are associated with whatever you choose, but ant any time you can switch your specialty simply by switching to the appropriate load out. If there is one flaw in this however, it would be that the game almost forces you to use some archery of magic, as fighting the dragons up close, at lest in the beginning, is near suicide. But for the most part I was having fun with the combat, even though one extended plays it did become somewhat repetitive. Most reviews at the time of release talked about how the combat never really felt like you were actually hitting anything, and while that is true it never really took me out of the experience.
As fun as the combat was however, it always took a back set to simple exploration. Now that i’ve beaten the campaign, all I can think about is how badly I want to finish this review so I can just pick a direction and walk. I have no idea what i’ll find, but I know very well it’ll be something awesome. Another dungeon, another town, it doesn’t matter. Very few games have made me this excited to explore the game world.
Game play: 3/5
The Voice acting is passable, but hearing the same lines by the same voices gets old fast, no matter how good the line might be. The script tens to be pretty good, but too often it felt like the game developers were more interested in pouring lore in you ear rather than really saying anything. For the best example of this, look at the first few minutes of the game. At one point does it feel like the hours thief is truly praying for his life, or that he is really set on running away from the executioners.
More disappointing, however, is the score. When I first started playing I thought the score would make up for the short comings of the voice acting, but now, there is only one song I remember, and it’s lost nearly all its appeal. There are games where the soundtrack alone saved the game from being forgotten in its mediocrity (i’m looking at you, Halo), and that is the kind of treatment this game deserved. But sadly, if I never hear another song from this game again….chances are i’ll never know because the score is too easily forgotten.
Music/Sound: 2.5/5 (i’ve tried, and will continue to try to stay away from scores that use decimals, but here I feel it really is the only appropriate way to convey the score).
Overall score: 2.8/5
Who is this game for:
This is for people who never really want to be done with a game. This is for the explorers. This is for people who want to craft their own tale. Really, this is a game for anyone, so long as you can over look a few bugs.