The game’s map is
hugely important. It show's the entire expansive game world, and any landmarks
players discover - from towns to dungeons to stranger sites - are marked down.
Because of the layout of rivers, mountains and other structures it becomes
important to use the map to orient yourself when traveling. Additionally
players can use it to fast-travel to any location they've already discovered.
The game has plenty
of numbers for players to manage. Players will only obtain a certain number of
the experience points used to move along skill trees, and managing them is
important for players that have multiple high-level skills in mind. Buying and
selling items also obviously involves mathematics.
The player's character starts as a blank
slate. The beginning of the game has players decide their character's race,
which determines which special ability they'll carry throughout the game. The
game quickly dumps more decisions on the player and it's not long before
characters become unique.
Instead of using a conventional experience
system, players level up as their various skills increase. Using bows, crafting
items and casting different types of spells all level up individual skills.
Every time a skill increases players get closer to reaching the next experience
level - when this level is reached players receive one point that can be put
into the skill tree of any of their skills, which get larger as the individual
skills go up. It's a fairly complex system, but it allows players to put points
into skills that they don't necessary use frequently while allowing them access
to particularly powerful bonuses in skills that they do use often.
Players also have access to a huge range of weapons and armor. Each individual
piece can also be enchanted, which involves another system at least as
complicated as the one used to level up. These decisions and the player's
preferences in combat will influence each other over the course of the game.
It is also important that players have freedom when progressing through the
game. Dozens of central and optional quests are available, and players can
strike out into the wilderness any time, usually finding new surprises before
long. The world is huge and populated by towns, NPCs, dungeons, roaming dragons
and other challenges.
While the game's main storyline offers plenty of content, Skyrim's
biggest pull is its wide-open world and the options that it offers players both
in character progression and exploration.
By the Developer:
Skyrim is a game like many
others, but in many ways it is the definitive example of its genre. Bethesda themselves
release these open-world first-person RPGs regularly, but Skyrim is
their biggest yet.
It simply contains
the most content. It has more quests and more dungeons, and it offers newly
refined systems for character customization. It's most significant achievement
is the size and look of the land
of Skyrim. It
introduces several new mechanics to the series - a new system for casting magic
spells, new weapon and armor enchantment mechanics, randomly generated dragons
that roam the landscape and more. These offer changes to the formula, though
ultimately Skyrim is just a large new helping of Elder Scrolls -
which, to be fair, is in demand.
Players collect gold from enemies various locations in the game's world, but
for the most part players will make money by selling loot. Merchants all have a
limited amount of gold, and certain shopkeepers will only purchase certain
items (though a certain skill tree can alleviate this). This causes players to
put in a little more work when it comes to making money, though ultimately it's
still a pretty straightforward buying/selling setup. Money is used to purchase
items, equipment and spells, as well as horses, houses and other higher-ticket
Players do plenty
of talking with other characters in Skyrim, and their actions can affect
how various quests resolve themselves. Treating characters differently will
lead to different results, but really players are usually choosing between
different rewards; the game never punishes players for acting maliciously.
Outside of quests things are a little different - players that break laws will
have police set on them - but the game's population and writing are so stiff
overall that it's hard to feel too invested.
Again it has to be said that players can spend their time in Skyrim doing
pretty much whatever they want. At the same time combat is bound to be a
central part of the game no matter how players spend their time, and the game's
combat mechanics allow players to approach battle in a number of ways. Players
can increase skill levels in various types magic, ranged attacks and a handful
of different hand-to-hand weapon types, each of which has strengths and
weaknesses depending on the enemy at hand.
When undertaking the game's various quests - those central to the storyline or
the myriad of optional quests - players will usually have to adventure through
one of the game's many dungeons, which are populated with enemies as well as
traps and occasionally some basic puzzles. Outside of exploring the overworld
this is where players will find most of their challenges. These are ostensibly
action segments, but even with Skyrim's wealth of combat options it is
essentially a numbers game. Maneuvering and quick-thinking are involved from
time to time, but it will mostly be the player's actions in the game's menus
that determine their successes and failures.
Skyrim is not a simulation game.
Skyrim has received
universal praise. Reviews particularly praise the game's huge world, impressive
visuals and the freedom to explore that it offers players. The game's
characters, bugginess and sometimes unbalanced mechanics received some
criticism, though in general these things weren't enough to stop reviews from
calling the game a masterpiece and handing out perfect scores.
Skyrim offers five difficulty levels that players can toggle between
even while they are playing the game. A wide range of options is available for
customizing controls and various audio and visual settings.
Skyrim was rated M from the ESRB with
descriptors for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes and Use of