I will start this review by making a disclaimer: I have not ‘finished’ Skyrim in the tradtional sense. Normally I will only review a game once I have finished it, in the interests of fairness.
However, as you’ll see when you read the below – I’m not sure if I’ll *ever* finish playing Skyrim.
Not because the game is bad – quite the opposite – but because, well… to be honest… I’ve never played anything like it.
That’s a fairly big claim to make as someone who has been playing games for over 25 years.
The content itself isn’t unique. It’s a first person, middle earth type Elves and Orcs affair in which you pick from a selection of races and build your character to take into the World.
There are swords, axes, maces, spells and potions.
While the gameplay is enjoyable and the mechanics are well designed (the combat is clunky for sure but it works) this isn’t anything surprising or revolutionary.
What Bethesda have done an amazing job on is making Skyrim feel like a blank canvas for your character.
It’s this aspect of the game that is like nothing else I’ve ever played. You could have a thrilling, intense gaming experience for tens of, possibly hundreds of, hours without even doing much in the way of the ‘main storyline.’
This is a game where exploring and doing side quests *feels* like the main game. The sense of freedom is intoxicating. Want to become skilled in magic and learn to raise the dead to fight for you? Then ignore the main quest marker and head north for The College Of Winterhold.
That’s what I did and in the (real-time) hours it took me to trek all the way up there on foot I encountered more and had a better gaming experience than some other titles provide in a main playthrough.
Graphically the game looks really nice, considering the sheer size of Skyrim. In particular the effects on the spells look great. Some of the character models do look a bit strange but for me it just adds to the feeling of being in an alien world.
I can’t speak much with regard to the main story, I have done a handful of those quests but the majority of my 20+ hours has been a self-created adventure with some truly memorable events.
A word of warning though – Skyrim has been plagued with issues. Bugs, game crashes etc. I personally have experienced no issues whatsoever but a lot of people have so it would be remiss of me not to mention them. The game has been patched several times so hopefully these problems have now gone.
If you’re looking for a game to sink hours and hours into then Skyrim is perfect for you. The sense that you can go anywhere and do anything is unlike anything else out there. This isn’t a game to play for a quick blast but if you can invest the time you won’t regret it.