Top Ten of 2011: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
By Matt “Chtulu80” White
For my top game of last year I had to think long and hard about this decision. There were plenty of great games in the past year to pick from and while it may not be the best overall game, it was my favorite game. Many factors were put into this decision. Some of those range from fun factor, story, if there was multiplayer included, and how much time I have spent with each individual title. I think that this game fills the top spot based on those factors but is not without its flaws.
While I write this I do have to preface this with the fact that I have not completed this game. Anyone familiar to the “Elder Scrolls” series know that the games are filled to the brim and then some with game play. Being an RPG you can expect to put quite a bit of time into this title from the git-go. Myself, playing through the previous game in this series I had put in over 150 hours before finishing it. With “Skyrim” you travel to a portion of the world that you have not been to in previous titles. That is one of the big things about the game is the map is huge. There are so many places that you can explore and adventure to. There is not a lack of things to do in this game.
In the game play aspect of this title you can play the game how “You” want to. Meaning that you can play as a mage, a fighter, a thief, or any combination thereof. There are also skill trees that you can fill out throughout your playthough. Those skill trees make those aspects of the game easier for you to play. For example if you wanted to be a rouge or a thief character you can fill out skill trees such as lock picking, sneaking, or pick pocketing to make it easier for your character to do those things hence making you better in your profession. You can also go with crafting if that is more your style. You can make simple weapons and armor or you can go higher and make great potions, weapons, armor, or even enchant items with powerful magic. There is so much to do in this game that it almost seems overwhelming.
The types of quests in the game are varied. There are quite a few fetch quests yes, but there are also if you choose, assassinations, petty thefts, and such. There are also many guilds or groups that you can join up with that each have their own missions that you can complete for experience points, gold, and sometimes items. You can eventually lead these groups and have your underlings complete tasks that will in turn get you gold and items. Pretty good if you ask me.
The main story line revolves around you being a “Dragonborn”. These people are blessed with powers outside the realm of normal people. This manifests itself in the form of “shouts”. You can just mainline the main quest line to take out the dragons that have seemingly returned to the dead. You can help the people of skyrim with their civil war. Or you can just go explore if that is your thing. This is fulfilling on many levels and worthy of purchase.
There are many different types of enemies in this title to keep you guessing. Many seem to have their own strengths and weaknesses. Anything from regular wildlife such as deer or rabbits to more extreme beings such as the giants which can literally launch you into orbit with their clubs. In the many caves or dungeons you will face the large spiders which you are used to in these type of game or you can run into undead, dark elves or even machines left over from long lost civilizations.
While this may sound great to most. I do have to warn you about the bad. The game is glitchy. That is a fact of most, if not all, Bethesda Game Studio games. If you do things that the game would consider out of order, it could cause a game breaking glitch such as not allowing quest lines to advance. In that case you would have to either have to start the game over, or reload a save if you have a recent one from before you think that you may have screwed up. This had happened to me a few times throughout my playthrough so far. If you find yourself in this place like I have you have two options. First you can reload from a previous save point which is the easiest thing to do if you follow the advice of save early and save often. Secondly, you can wait for the patch to come out. This is what I had to do because by the time I knew that my save file was messed up, it was already 15 saves beyond where I needed to be along with 30 or so hours later. While the fixes for me did come, you may not be do lucky.
All in all, is this game worth buying? In my opinion, yes it is. If you can deal with the glitches which is the only real problem that I have with this game you will have untold hours of fun in a great fantasy setting. I know that all told I have put 140 hours so far into this game and I am maybe 1/3rd into the main quest line. Why not so far you may ask? I just like to do all the side quests and guild missions that were mentioned earlier. This title barely beat out “Dead Space 2” for first place on my list, and the only reason it did was because to me, it was a slightly better experience for me. Also I have put so many more hours of play into this game than the other. All going back to the enjoyment factor. If you think that this game with its fantasy setting will work for you then go get your dragon shouting on!