I bought the Steam version of Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and played as a female Nord warrior named Amenia. I spent over 275 hours in Skyrim and finished my experience at level 52. I used a series of custom made warhammers throughout the campaign, and my traveling NPC companion was Lydia, another Nord warrior. Here’s a few quick thoughts on the game.
The Look – With Skyrim, Bethesda’s introduces us to its new “Creation” engine. I played the game on a Intel Core i7 2600K CPU and MSI Radeon 6950 GPU with all settings at max and it looked absolutely fantastic – far better than than the Fallout 3 series based on their previous Gamebryo engine.
The Expanse – Sweeping vistas, spacious skys…, whatever. This game is big, crazy big. Wandering through its vastness reminded me each time I departed Whiterun, my “base camp” for most of the campaign, just how open this game feels and how insignificant I was. It’s really the world of Skyrim itself that’s the star of the show.
The Quests – Skyrim offers hundreds of quests, generally sorted by where they are assigned or by which faction assigns them. The Daedric quests were among my favorites, and just evil enough to make me reach for my moral compass each time I did one.
The Combat – The first-person combat has significantly improved over the Oblivion and the Fallout 3 series. Mechanics of swinging melee weapons was noticeably better; movement much more fluid.
The Draugr – Perhaps one knock on Skyrim is the limited variety of enemies in the various “dungeons.” Take the Draugr for example, undead Nordic warriors who were once residents of Skyrim. You couldn’t sling a dead…well, Draugr without another hitting one. They seemed to be present in every cave and cranny I entered. While the Draugr Lords were challenging, particularly in numbers, the rank and file ones were little more than hammer fodder.
The Dragons – Um, yeah, about those guys. Perhaps my years of playing D&D tainted my view of these mystical creatures, but at least there you knew you were going to have your hands full when you met one. In Skyrim? They go down like chumps. Very disappointing.
The Decision – Nord or Imperial? In truth, I’m not sure why Bethesda created this quest line. It had no bearing on the main quest and no matter which side you chose, was immaterial to the outcome of the game, or with your interaction with the locals. Again, disappointing.
Ever use a bellow? – Sure you can buy your weapons, and maybe you’ll happen upon a nice one, but the best ones are those you create and enchant yourself. I recommend pumping skill points into Smithing and Enchanting early and often.