Few series have been kept alive for as long as the Elder Scrolls. The first was released in 1994, and Bethesda Game Studios, the developer, has continued this epic series for more than 20 years. “Skyrim” is my favorite because it follows the format of the previous games but adds new and exciting features. And this game is full of deadly beasts, colossal dungeons, and intriguing stories.
One of the most impressive features is the size, diversity, and detail of the world. The map takes several hours to traverse – through mountains cursed with perpetual blizzards, rivers that can sweep you away, a frozen tundra, peaceful fields, and large cities. The level of detail is so great that if you stop to look at the scenery, you can see ants crawling on tree stumps. Exploration does not end above ground; there are more than a hundred mines, caves, and dungeons scattered throughout Skyrim. These underground areas range from small straight tunnels to large, maze-like ruins filled with puzzles, draugrs, and hoards of treasure.
At first, “Skyrim” looks like a stereotypical role-playing game in which a character who is the essence of good has to defeat a horrible creature to save the world. But this story is so much more. You are a criminal about to be executed when a fearsome dragon (thought to be extinct) destroys the town. You must cling to your life while trying to flee the village. After escaping, you travel to High Hrothgar, the home of the Greybeards, a group of men whose voices can shake the earth. The Greybeards tell you that you are the Dragonborn – a person who can absorb and use the powers of dragons. Eventually you must go on a quest to find the Elder Scroll and stop the dragons’ resurrection.
Styles of fighting are very diverse. There are dozens of spells, like shooting bolts of lightning and healing. Some of the more advanced techniques involve summoning undead and creating walls of fire, lighting, or ice. Single-handed weapons include battle axes, swords, and maces. They can be used with a shield or dual-wielded to cause massive damage. Two-handed weapons – like great swords, war hammers, and axes – are huge and powerful. Shouts are the greatest weapon in this game, coming from the power that you take from dragons. When you speak their language your voice can freeze enemies, control beasts, bring storms, and even slow time.
“Skyrim” is like nothing I have ever played before. The only reason this game doesn’t get a perfect score from me is its glitches. Bethesda Game Studios has always been infamous for leaving glitches in their games. The majority of “Skyrim”s are funny and don’t affect gameplay. But some glitches can prevent you from completing quests. This is why I give “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” a 9.5 out of 10.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.