Game: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Rating: 5 out 5 stars
Have you heard of Skyrim? What is it? It’s only the hottest video game in the world and possibly the best role-playing game, ever. So what’s all the fuss about and why are gamers flocking to this fantasy actioneer?
Skyrim is the sequel to the 2006 Game of the Year, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. That game brought the RPG genre to brave new heights with a combination of non-linear gameplay and stunning graphics. The Elder Scrolls is an RPG series from Bethesda, and Oblivion was the most critically acclaimed game of the series. That is, it was until Skyrim came along.
Making an RPG Playable
RPGs have always occupied a firm niche in the game industry but they’ve never been embraced by mainstream audiences. Sure, there are the Final Fantasys and Legend of Zeldas, but Skyrim exists on an entirely different level. It elevates the genre and will help role-playing games gain even more popularity (and respect).
What makes Skyrim so popular (and frankly, good) is that it’s so accessible. Unlike traditional RPGs – in which players spend hours grinding away in dungeons slaughtering orcs for hit points, all the while trying to make sense of a complicated interface - Skyrim makes it easy for anyone to jump into the game and feel like they’re accomplishing something right off the bat. At the same time, the game doesn’t completely strip down the RPG elements.
What remains is a MASSIVE game that is just as enthralling as it is beautiful.
Don’t want to follow a compass point to your next objective? No problem, Skyrim‘s wide-open world and non-linear gameplay leaves your path almost completely open-ended. Like most RPGs, the quests in Skyrim are a main component of gameplay. However, due to what Bethesda calls a “Radiant Story” system, quests adapt to a player’s performance and actions. This is where the game really shines. Not only are the quests perfectly woven into the overall story, but the freedom and the way the game…er, world…adapts to what you do truly makes this game way more than an RPG; it’s an interactive experience. And RPG makers should take notes, because this is the way to build a quest system.
This experience is driven by an engrossing and well written story, which happens to take place in one of the richest environments you’ve ever explored in a video game. Speaking of environments, Skyrim is more varied than Oblivion. The characters too are more diverse and when you’re interacting with them (which you’ll do for the hundreds of quests), you have more of a sense of belonging, of place.
The Sky’s the Limit
Considering this is the fifth game in the series, and that Bethesda has been working on this formula for years, including the recent Fallout: New Vegas, Skyrim is game development at the peak of perfection. Like Oblivion, Skyrim has game content in spades beyond the main storyline; it will literally keep you busy for hundreds of hours. This is how to make an RPG. For that matter, it’s a blueprint for making a great game. Now, go to the store already and buy this game so you can begin your adventure. You won’t be disappointed.
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