Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 by Nick Maunders
Time for the first review of 2012 and what a way to start it with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Ever since it was announced this game has had so much pressure to come out on top. Being the sequel to the amazing The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which is still in itself a brilliant game – despite being over 3 years old, could Skyrim actually be better than Oblivion? Now up to the point of playing Skyrim it’s no secret that Oblivion was my favourite game so far. While many gamers prefer multi-player shootouts such as Call of Duty and Battlefield I personally prefer a massive role-playing game where you can create a legacy as it were.
To give you a brief description of the plot, the game is set 200 years after that of the Oblivion crisis. The location has also been moved northward to the world of, you’ve guessed it, Skyrim. Expect to have a much more mountainous landscape than that of Oblivion and a lot more snow too! One of the most fundamental aspects of the plot are dragons. Having been supposedly “extinct” for hundreds of years they are now slowly starting to return, and that’s where you come in!
The basic controls of the game are quite similar to that of its predecessor Oblivion, but saying that it still takes some time to get use too. Along with the standard jump, attack, and movement controls comes a new method of attacking your enemies … Shouts. Shouts need to be found and then unlocked by using dragon souls found from killing dragons. They are a powerful method of attack, or defence, and can be used throughout the game, providing that you’ve spent a soul to unlock that particular shout.
Getting back to bases the character creation of the game has drastically improved from Oblivion, but for the better. Choosing your birth sign is now something you need to work towards. Throughout the game these signs are scattered as stones, only when you have found the stone can you select it as your birth sign and gain the power with it. Skills have also been modified in that you don’t select any major or minor skills for your character. Each skill starts off at its base rate (depending upon your race) and these skills slowly build up as your character uses them. For example the “Block” skill will increase if your character uses a shield to block etc.
A new feature to the game are “Perks”. These enable you to advance through your skill gaining new techniques and further specialisation into that chosen skill. You are granted one perk point per level to spend, however all perks have certain criteria that must be fulfilled before unlocking them. The perks available appear in a constellation chart. To reach certain perks you must first unlock other perks to be able to “reach” that perk. An image is shown of this below. Also most perks have a certain conditions such as a 20 in your chosen skill or a higher number. Therefore you must advance in your skill before unlocking advanced perks for it.
Levelling up in Skyrim follows much the same rules as Oblivion; the speed at which you level up depends on the speed at which your skills increase. In the transition from one level to another you are able to select which of your 3 base attributes (Health, Magicka and Stamina), also as said before you get one perk point to spend on a perk of your choice. The great thing about these points is that they don’t need to be spent there and then. If you’re close to unlocking a perk you really want, rather than spending the point elsewhere and waiting until you level up once again you can simply not pick a perk, wait for perk to be unlocked some time later, and then select it.
The graphics of the game have vastly improved with beautiful sceneries which go into so much detail that there isn’t a point in Skyrim where you won’t be blown away by the detail of everything. The combat of the game has also improved with magic being incorporated as more of a weapon. In Skyrim you can select spells to use in both of your hands which can sometimes even allow you to combine both spells into a more powerful version. Also new to the game are “Favourites” which allow you to select a few of your weapons, spells, clothes, ingredients etc. as quick to select choices. In Oblivion there was the wheel summoned by holding down the directional buttons on the game. This was limited and so in Skyrim by pressing the up or down directional button a list of all your favourites is displayed allowing you to quickly select your favourite weapon and so forth.
For me Skyrim is most definitely the game of 2011 and will probably be the best game to come out in quite a while. If you haven’t yet had the chance to play it or buy it I would definitely recommend it, as it has to be the best game I’ve ever played.