The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
We should have acted. They’re already here. The Elder Scrolls told of their return. Their defeat was merely a delay, to the time after Oblivion opened, when the sons of Skyrim would spill their own blood. But no one wanted to believe… believe they even existed. And when the truth finally dawns, it dawns in fire! But there’s one they fear. In their tongue, he’s Dovahkiin, DRAGONBORN!
is Bethesda Softworks’ latest offering in their series of single-player epic fantasy RPGs, and one of the most highly-anticipated PC titles of recent memory, let alone 2011. As the game’s subtitle suggests, this time we venture into the homeland province of the Nords, a hardy and proud warrior people that make up one of the franchise’s four human races. This region of Tamriel, located just north of the realm’s capitol in Cyrodiil and west of Morrowind, is poised precariously on the brink of civil war, as a local force of dissenters gear up for full-on rebellion against the foreign and overbearing Empire. The PC version promises enhanced graphical fidelity, standard RPG trimmings such as hotkeys and quick-save, as well as unbridled mod support, something we’ll all be thankful for once they release that SDK. Skyrim
has already sold millions of copies and set records for play-time on Steam, so read on to find out why!
Fus Ro Dah!
Like every other TES game I can remember, Skyrim begins by putting you in the torn rags and shackles of an anonymous prisoner. This time, you’re riding a horse-drawn carriage to the border town of Helgen, where the Imperial Legion has made a stronghold. Upon arrival, you’re in line to be executed, along with a few other common criminals and Ulfric Stormcloak, the leader of the rebels who they say killed the High King of Skyrim with naught but his voice. Perhaps it was sorcery of some kind, no one really knows for sure. The guard is calling out names and dead men are stepping forward to await their turn at the headsman’s axe, but soon it’s found that your name is not on the list. They ask, “Who are you?”
Character creation in Skyrim
is far simpler than it was in previous games. They’ve done away with most of the attributes -- such as strength, agility, and intelligence -- leaving you only health, stamina, and magicka to increase when you level up. As such, the only real choice you need to make at the beginning of the game has to do with which of the ten races you will play as, determining your starting skills, as well as a unique bonus and/or ability. Each race now has a much more distinct appearance as compared to Oblivion
, where most characters had only skin color and ear pointiness to separate them. More importantly, all characters look more realistic and believable overall, which was a huge problem before (just count how many mods were created dedicated to making NPCs look better!). I chose Redguard for the weapon proficiency bonuses, but didn’t spend much time customizing the way he looks beyond one of the presets.
Once you tell them your name, you’re told to fall in with the other prisoners waiting in front of the chopping block. Here you witness the beheading of one of the men you rode in with, as well as his head falling and rolling on the ground. That surprised me, thinking it was pretty cool that they implemented bodily dismemberment (which you can actually achieve in combat if you have the right specialization). Ulfric was called up after that, but the proceedings are so rudely interrupted when a great big dragon pokes his head over an adjacent tower and roars; Helgen is under attack!
The ensuing chaos provides the perfect opportunity for you, and the other prisoners, to high-tail it out of there. Your standard-issue tutorial sequence follows, to teach you the basic movement controls, introduce you to different types of combat and magic, give you some basic equipment, etc. After making your escape through an underground tunnel and emerging out onto a gorgeous snow-covered mountainside, you’re left free to explore the wide and wonderful world of Skyrim