The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Game) Review

By Mike Fahey on November 20, 2011, 11:56 PM

The tantalizingly brief Skyrim teaser trailer debuted by Bethesda Softworks late last year filled my mind with visions of titanic battles between man and beast; of shining steel bathed in ancient flames; of a champion rising from humble origins, prepared to sacrifice everything for the fate of the world.

After 60+ hours with the game those visions have been fully realized — and rendered largely inconsequential.It's the sort of tale that fuels ancient epics and trashy fantasy novel trilogies alike, certainly sufficient enough to serve as the plot for the average role-playing game. This is not your average role-playing game. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, this titanic tale is merely a framing device for a much larger story. My story.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 30

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Guest said:

So far I like modded IV better than Skyrim, but I'm sure that'll change in a year or two when we get some good mods.

Guest said:

Playing on Xbox, but this game has made me realise how bad gaming has become. Not because it is a bad game, quite the opposite.

Having lost most of this weekend to it I am now 23 hours in and I have barely scratched the surface of the main quest line.

The last 'RPG' that I bought had been completed within 10 hours, only with DLC to follow. It's nice to know that there still may be some games released that take much more than a day (or sometimes half) to complete.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Nvidia's graphics cards seemed to perform much better, as the GTX 560 managed 89fps versus the HD 6850's 77fps.

Thats sort of a puzzling comment. The GTX 560 is $50.00 more than the 6850, and the 6850 passes up the 560 at higher resolution.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

In my opinion, Skyrim is game of the Year and I never saw it coming. As a huge Elder Scrolls fan I was looking forward to it but I never expected anything other than BF3 or MW3 to be a contender for GOTY. Skyrim came out of nowhere and destroyed the entire FPS genre and has taken the gold for itself and there genre. Overall, most fun I had playing any game this year. I would recommend the PC version over the consoles for mod support. Although consoles might get mods(very doubtful) full support plus nicer graphics are on PC. Skyrim may be engulfed in white, but it's Gold.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Thats sort of a puzzling comment. The GTX 560 is $50.00 more than the 6850, and the 6850 passes up the 560 at higher resolution.

Different thread I think -assuming you're talking about the performance review:

[link]

The GTX 560 vs HD 6850 might be more of an academic exercise I would have thought. The HD 6850 "takes the lead" once you game at 2560x1600 resolution...I'm not entirely sure that many gamers would pop for a $1k+ screen but only use a fair-to-middling graphics card tbh.

Guest said:

I would agree, also for controls. I have the console version as I dont have a gaming PC, but the spell selection is frustratingly slow on console due to the lack of keyboard.

I do wish the would add keypad support to xbox games. I have the optional controller keypad and I see no reason why you shouldnt be able to use this for hotkeys in this and other titles.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Different thread I think -assuming you're talking about the performance review:

[link]

The GTX 560 vs HD 6850 might be more of an academic exercise I would have thought. The HD 6850 "takes the lead" once you game at 2560x1600 resolution...I'm not entirely sure that many gamers would pop for a $1+ screen but only use a fair-to-middling graphics card tbh.

If you forget about the 2560 screen (included in the review) you still have a $150 card vs a $200 card. Kind of an odd statement when you have the comment "we are disappointed with the 6950" when it performs within 3 FPS of the $100 more GTX 570 as well

ramonsterns said:

Issues Not Mentioned:

- Dragons are push overs and broken. While they lose to things like giants, mammoths, and frost bears, they never miss and diving under them will only cause them to twist their necks in such a manner that they shoot fire out of their behinds. Not to mention they're so common that I have twice as many souls as I have shouts.

- Inconsistent Graphics. Half the light sources will be real time, the other half will be cooked in. Great textures on NPCs, terrible textures on rocks/wood. The poor quality of distant lands will make you gouge your eyes out as you witness a blocky mess of islands in the distance.

- Argonians have no closed-helmet meshes. Equipping an item such as Clavicus Vile's mask or a Steel Plate Helmet on an Argonian will simply render it as if it was a human/elf wearing it. Also, if your Argonian has horns, they will disappear if you wear any sort of headgear.

- Delivering a letter to the next town? Here's 500 gold. Claim the bounty on a dragon? Here's 500 gold. Run across the map and kill an entire group of bandits? Here's 100 gold. Can you tell what's wrong?

- Armor and Weapon clipping rampant.

- Broken Smithing/Enchanting/Alchemy system. You can basically enhance things forever. Make ring, apply alchemy bonus, make potion for enchanting, make new ring, use potion, apply alchemy bonus, make more powerful potion for enchanting, rinse wash repeat, make potion for smithing, make potion for enchanting, suddenly your sword does 500 basic damage and stupid amounts of whatever damage you decided to apply to it. Also, making 50 iron daggers levels you up as much as making 50 Dragon Bone Armors, and same with enchanting as enchanting 50 daggers levels you up just as much as enchanting 50 armor sets.

This is all I can think of off the top of my head.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

If you forget about the 2560 screen (included in the review) you still have a $150 card vs a $200 card

Probably closer to $130 vs $165. The 6850 probably still edges the 560 in bang-for-buck, although a $70 difference in CFX vs SLI (a more probable setup for 2560x1600 I would think) would swing in the 560's favour. I'd probably say the contest is a wash overall- especially if the likely user is playing RPG's in general rather than just TESV

Kind of an odd statement when you have the comment "we are disappointed with the 6950" when it performs within 3 FPS of the $100 more GTX 570 as well

Well, that's a different matter entirely...and probably better suited to the performance review thread.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

The average price on newegg is $ 166 for the 6850 vs $218 for the GTX 560 = $52

these are two different categories of cards is my point.

fimbles fimbles said:

Quore "I've seen accusations since the game's release that reviewers are giving Bethesda a pass because their games are always flawed, but it's not the reviewers. Hell, I'd take ten points off right now if a) we used a point system and b) I wasn't afraid of being trampled by an angry mob."

Says it all in my opinion. This game has more bugs than the insect house at the local zoo.

Game of the year? maybe when its actually finished :P

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

ramonsterns said:

Issues Not Mentioned:

- Dragons are push overs and broken.

They are kind of easy and don't fly quite right for being a dragon-centric game. But they are pretty cool enemies to fight. Always gets my adrenaline pumping when one lands right in front of me and I have to run for my life from it's breath!

ramonsterns said:

- Inconsistent Graphics. Half the light sources will be real time, the other half will be cooked in. Great textures on NPCs, terrible textures on rocks/wood. The poor quality of distant lands will make you gouge your eyes out as you witness a blocky mess of islands in the distance.

I don't agree. The lighting and distant land looks amazing. I am running fully maxed, however.

ramonsterns said:

- Delivering a letter to the next town? Here's 500 gold. Claim the bounty on a dragon? Here's 500 gold. Run across the map and kill an entire group of bandits? Here's 100 gold. Can you tell what's wrong?

Economy balance is less important in a single player game with a completely open world, but I think it's good. Some things are surprisingly well rewarded, while others give no reward at all other than a thank you.

ramonsterns said:

- Armor and Weapon clipping rampant.

At least you don't get stuck in the walls. Trade off I'm willing to make.

ramonsterns said:

- Broken Smithing/Enchanting/Alchemy system. You can basically enhance things forever.

Sounds like a cheating exploit. Up to you to take advantage.

ramonsterns said:

This is all I can think of off the top of my head.

I have another... when your save file gets large, it crashes sometimes when you change areas.

I love this game over all. It's the best game I've played since Final Fantasy 7 and I've yet to beat it.

ramonsterns said:

spydercanopus said:

ramonsterns said:

- Inconsistent Graphics. Half the light sources will be real time, the other half will be cooked in. Great textures on NPCs, terrible textures on rocks/wood. The poor quality of distant lands will make you gouge your eyes out as you witness a blocky mess of islands in the distance.

I don't agree. The lighting and distant land looks amazing. I am running fully maxed, however.

I'm running the game fully maxed as well with only some settings at medium, namely AA and shadows, and the first thing I ran into the second I finished the mission to retrieve the dragonstone was a river made out of cardboard and a little mound sticking out that was just this awkward trapezoidal figure off in the distance. Same thing as you look out one of the balconies near the Blue Palace. If print screen worked in game, I'd go through the trouble of posting a picture here.

Cota Cota said:

ramonsterns haves a lot of wisdom in his words, theres a lot of "minor" problems whit Skyrim and as a fan of TES series i have to say that it brings me down a lot

(for PC)

-Lagged controls for menus and camera controls, because i like wasting time on battle waiting for menus and controls to respond.

(for PC)

-Menus can be more "PC menu" please?, i don't need to use the same menu as Consoles...

-LVLing system made easy, 3 days after Launch and i was lv 42 or so at around 6 hours of play a day (raised difficulty)

-Where are the spells? im almost lv 50 and cant find stronger spells.

-The final is slacky

-The 1shot enemies... i didnt use the "exploit" that ramonsterns said about weapons and still 1-3 shooting peeps.

-Mining is kind of useless once you lv and get more epic trash and can just buy the bars.

-Smithing is so easy that you can buy bars from vendors, craft, sell and profit a lot >_>

-Theres a problem whit one of the side quest, if you dont diverge a lot in the beginning of the game you may end joining the Stromcloak's by default...

-[/Sarcasm]There seems to be a problem whit the way all creatures LV to your needs, it may be a bug since all the community as said how enemies that are correspondent to your LV really ruin the fun while playing [Sarcasm]

DanUK DanUK said:

Still have yet to be really captivated with this game (as with oblivion). I think there is almost TOO much to it that my curiosity makes me want to go into every building and talk to every person. As such I have found it very slow to play. And the same flaw (as I found with oblivion also) is that in my opinion the NPCs are so flat/uninteresting/un-human.. and for a single player game I think this aspect is key.

The above, coupled with the fact that BF3 is out and im an Aion addict, means I have only played it for a few hours here and there but always end up putting it down in favour of the afore-mentioned as I just have more fun on them. Maybe it's because they're multiplayer and for me single player games are just dying out (same has happened with arkham city). One more moan is the key bindings/set up is very un-PC friendly.

Besides that I must say the visuals are very stunning, i've got everything cranked up and it's just beautiful.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm really not interested in looking for every single bug or visual miscue so I can post ad nauseam about it on various boards. Seems like that's what a lot of people are doing. It's almost a game within the game for them. "Let's see how much minutia I can find wrong so I can ***** about it."

My only beef is the clunky UI - but now that I have a few hours into it, it's automatic and I don't even notice it. And it won't be long before we see a mod to fix it anyway.

It's an awesome, beautiful game that clearly required an insane amount of programming, writing and artists work to complete. After all the sh*t games we've had shoved at us this year - Crysis 2, Duke Nukem, etc., it's refreshing to have a quality game that will keep you engaged and entertained for literally hundreds of hours. Gets my vote for GOTY.

ramonsterns said:

TomSEA said:

I'm really not interested in looking for every single bug or visual miscue so I can post ad nauseam about it on various boards. Seems like that's what a lot of people are doing. It's almost a game within the game for them. "Let's see how much minutia I can find wrong so I can ***** about it."

Yeah, because missing helmet meshes for an entire race and dragons that breath fire through their rears are minutia, right?

And getting used to a design flaw doesn't excuse it.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Well ramonsterns obviously the glitches you've focused on have obviously completely ruined your gaming experience - you're certainly whining about it enough. You know, when I run into a game I'm disappointed with, I do something novel - I QUIT PLAYING IT and move on to something else.

Maybe you should consider the same.

ramonsterns said:

TomSEA said:

Well ramonsterns obviously the glitches you've focused on have obviously completely ruined your gaming experience - you're certainly whining about it enough. You know, when I run into a game I'm disappointed with, I do something novel - I QUIT PLAYING IT and move on to something else.

Maybe you should consider the same.

Maybe you should consider not complaining about the complaining and follow your own advise. Move on to something else.

yRaz yRaz said:

The ONLY glitch I've gotten so far is that the game crashes every 10 or so hours. I have 47 hours in the game and I've only had 4 crashes. My complaints are the UI and sometimes I wish the dragons were harder. Aside from that I have no complaints.

Great game, I can see myself wasting 100+ hours on my current character. I Usually make 3 characters before I start modding. My current is an Argonian mage(yeah, I know), I was going to be a Nord with blade next and finally a woodelf with bow. After that it's time to make some mods! Hopefully by then they'll have released the Creation Kit as they call it.

ramonsterns said:

yRaz said:

The ONLY glitch I've gotten so far is that the game crashes every 10 or so hours. I have 47 hours in the game and I've only had 4 crashes. My complaints are the UI and sometimes I wish the dragons were harder. Aside from that I have no complaints.

Great game, I can see myself wasting 100+ hours on my current character. I Usually make 3 characters before I start modding. My current is an Argonian mage(yeah, I know), I was going to be a Nord with blade next and finally a woodelf with bow. After that it's time to make some mods! Hopefully by then they'll have released the Creation Kit as they call it.

Hah, I made four before I finally settled. Went from Orc Two-hander, to Dunmer Mage, to Argonian Shield/One-hander, back to Orc Two-hander.

Nothing more satisfying that smashing someone's face in with the mace or impaling a bandit on your greatsword.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

The initial awe that I had for Skyrim has worn off, but I'm still very much enjoying it when I can play. So far I'm alright with a few missing textures, floating torso's and strange AI behavior as every game seems to come with something broken when it's launched on PC especially Bethesda. What I'm not cool with is all the crashing and freezing I am experiencing which makes it extremely difficult to play. I'm also not fond at all of the menu system that seems to have completely overlooked us. Hopefully we get some fixes for this and modders who can make up for any short comings.

QuaZulu QuaZulu said:

So far I've enjoyed this game...even more than Oblivion (stinking, mind numbing, repetitive daedric "fortresses" . The varied and beautiful is enjoyable. Mods and patches promise only more goodness. Bioware must be embarrassed.

Zilpha Zilpha said:

QuaZulu said:

So far I've enjoyed this game...even more than Oblivion (stinking, mind numbing, repetitive daedric "fortresses" . The varied and beautiful is enjoyable. Mods and patches promise only more goodness. Bioware must be embarrassed.

Why would BioWare be embarrassed? Their games are incredibly engaging, and they actually think through your interactions with NPCs as opposed to this 'tacked on at the last minute bs marriage thing'. You actually care about your followers in a BioWare game and you really get to know them. In this game, you barely know anything about them. The only one who even offers up any backstory is Mjoll, and it's the same three lines vomited up at random intervals over and over. As much as I like her, it gets old fast.

They also aren't so in your face with redundant dialogue. I don't think that Bethesda quite understood the complaints we had regarding the voice acting. Yes it's a 'larger' voice cast, but I am sick of the "Mick and Ralph's" kid (as if I wasn't already sick of it in NV), I have heard about the Hammerfell curved swords quite enough, and it's no longer entertaining to hear every guard contemplate whether or not they are Dragonborn and just don't know it in that slow Terminator drawl. I wish that dialogue would just shut off after being regurgitated 50+ times. It's to the point where I turn down the volume when in a city. After all, it's not like I'll be hearing anything new.

It's a fun game as far as your standard dungeon-diving, dragon-slaying, fantasy epic goes, but it's not anything that would make BioWare cry. Will it be GoTY? Of course it will.

Does it really deserve it? I'm on the fence.

gingerbill said:

Definitely a great game, i'm amazed how many quests there are and a lot of them have considerable effort put into them.

Rahziel said:

Skyrim is certainly a culmination of everything Bethesda has achieved so far. It's a brilliant game, really. Graphically, it may not be technically mind-blowing, but it's beautiful if every fashion. The tone and the art style are very well executed. Definitely one of my favorite titles of all time.

ScottRP said:

I've never been one for playing The Elder Scrolls, but always a player of Fallout. This will be a definite for the collection!

Guest said:

Hey ramonsterns can I have ur sword ??

Guest said:

i have played my game for around 15 hours and once after becoming the arch mage of winterhold college i went up the the "archmage courters" and the game suddenly took a long time to load then after freezing, only seeing the staircase going upstairs to the main courter, after that i turned the xbox off to try playing again on the same account and the game then told me the disc is unreadable, i tried all possibility to fix it i even tried signing into my other account to play and it work totally fine but when i chose the other one it said the same thing "disc is unreadable" i tried to load it and continue it i even tried to start a new game and once i step off the carriage at the beggining it once again said disc is unreadable, please help!!!

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