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Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The (360/PC/PS3)

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{tab=Info} The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It is the fifth installment in The Elder Scrolls action role-playing video game series, following The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It was released on November 11, 2011 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Skyrim's main story revolves around the player character's efforts to defeat the nordic dragon god Alduin who is prophesied to destroy the world. Set two hundred years after Oblivion, the game takes place in the land of Skyrim in the midst of a civil war after the assassination of the high king. The open world gameplay of the Elder Scrolls series is continued in Skyrim, as the player character can explore the land at will and ignore or postpone the main quest indefinitely. {tab=Review (PS3)} Five years after Bethesda dropped our jaws with the multi-award winning RPG Oblivion, Skyrim was brought to light. After a long wait, it's finally the time to go to the northern provinces of Tamriel, home of the Nords. Having almost infinite missions and a vast world to explore, will this be the game to make our social life to disappear?

Welcome to Skyrim.

Like previous Bethesda games, Skyrim leaves you in control of a character with a shady and unknown past. Yet again, it will be up to you to create the physical features of your character, editing almost everything in it. Right after you create your character, you will be the witness of dragon attack; you will start living the life of a Dragonborn. I don't feel like getting into many details about the story, but let me tell you that this is one of the stories that remind me the reason I play video games. It is a world related to the one in Oblivion, but newcomers to the series will not find it hard to be sucked in by Skyrim, since Bethesda was kind enough to explain every little detail for everyone to understand what exactly is going on.

Skyrim is a world worth discovering, the environments alone will offer players a living land populated by many races. The land is hugely influenced by Scandinavian culture, architecture and amongst it, its' mythology. This alone would've been enough for the game to look great, but the variety of places you will visit is something to be staggered at. Skyrim will give the player the feeling of discovering something entirely new with every step they take. The vast world of Skyrim will take you from caves, mines, towns, villages, dragon cemeteries, and huge forests to explore. Something worth pointing out is that every single landscape you find in this game will be unique and way better than the one you were previously in.

Gameplay will offer a somewhat similar experience to what Oblivion was. Experience points and classes are long gone, but it is nothing to be scared of. This new system feels a lot simpler than what was offered in previous games of the series and works way better. You will now have more control over the character you want to build. Abilities and specialization of your character will now be much easier to handle, and you will be rewarded for almost everything you do in the game. Some of the game's side quests though, won't be worth the hassle, since the people you do the quest for, will give you items that are mostly useless.

A new menu system keeps things easy to scroll at. Major quests now have their own entry, but side-quests are left in the dark. Sometimes you will have many side-quests and due to the little information you will have at your hands about them in your journal, it will be hard to remember what it was about and who actually gave it to you.

For learning skills and powers related to the sky gods (Dragons) you will earn Dragon Shouts every time you manage to take one of these beasts down. Shouts will enable you to deal with normal enemies faster, and Dragon Shouts will also help you solve puzzles that the player will find in dungeons. These shouts and their powers are separate from magic, and they will recharge over time.

Skyrim will offer companions to the player. (Yep, we got the memo Bethesda; we know we will lose our social life). Anyway, companions will go from a war dog, guild mates, horses, and you will be able to have a house where you will gather and interact with them. Not everything about this is a jewel though. One of the things I disliked about it is the NPC's weak AI. You will sometimes find yourself stuck on tight corridors thanks to your companions decided to get in the way, not allowing you to move anywhere else.

They will also be somewhat useless in battles and they will most likely end up getting in your way. Some of the people you interact with won't even know your name even after you rescue their beloved ones. Speaking of NPC's, some of them will have lazy animations and some of them will look kind of choppy for the amazing game Skyrim is. Your character animations though, will look and feel incredible.

The audio in Skyrim is amazing to say the least. Bethesda managed to create a soundtrack that fits the game's atmosphere in every single way. Weather effects, creature noises, character voices will be all different and the amount of dialogue the game offers is astounding.

Bethesda made one of the best games of the generation, hands down. I haven't been so stuck in a game ever before. I've been capturing dragon souls to unlock the voice of the dragonborn for a few days now, and for some reason, the game feels like it has so much more to offer.

Despite having some issues here and there, they are largely overlooked by the amazing work done in every other aspect in the game. There is something for every gamer in Skyrim. It is a journey; an experience so incredible that it would be unfair not to call epic. It is not a perfect game however, but without a doubt, it's one of the best video game experiences out there.

8.5/10 {tab=Video} E3 2011 Demo

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