If you’ve been anywhere on the internet within the last couple of months, you will have heard of Skyrim. Be it ‘I’m looking forward to Skyrim’, ‘Is it some kind of food?’ or ‘I lost everyone I love to Skyrim’, it’s certainly a game that’s on everyone’s lips this season, and for a reason: the Elder Scrolls games are notoriously addictive, infectious, and endlessly engrossing – and Skyrim, the fifth in the long-running series, is no exception.
Opening in classic Elder Scrolls fashion, you begin your adventure as a prisoner, but are saved from the chopping block by a timely attack from a creature which sets Skyrim apart from its predecessors – a dragon. Upon escape, you are presented with an entire fantasy world before you, free to continue your adventure where you want, when you want.
The broadness of choice is a hallmark of Bethesda RPGs, and in the huge, diverse land of Skyrim, there are hundreds upon hundreds of hours of adventuring to be had.
For every vast mountain in the north lies several deep, dark dungeons beneath it, for every town a hundred quests to complete and people to talk to, for every pine forest, lake or rocky hill, a stunning view to find.
Honestly, more than anything else, it’s a miracle that all the world of Skyrim fits on one disc.
The main plot sees the player, as the so-called Dragonborn, embark on a Tolkien-esque search to fulfil his destiny to save all of Tamriel from the return of the dragons – and while it could be argued this has all been seen and heard before, the feeling of a fantasy world come to life, the fascinating attention to detail and the sense of scale in your actions is more than enough to forgive its predictability.
Whether your preference lies with the sword, bow or spell, the most important point is that Skyrim makes you feel like a hero.
The unfortunate by-product of a world so huge and a game so long is that there is no way every problem could be ironed out without adding at least a year to the development cycle; and it shows.
I’ve witnessed enough dragons flying backwards and quests glitching and heard of enough exploits and imbalances to know Skyrim has its issues, and even with Bethesda’s ongoing efforts to patch the game, there will be plenty of problems that will never go away.
Regardless, if this were enough to put someone off the latest Elder Scrolls, I’d call them a fool. This is not just an adventure RPG, this is an achievement – and for those cold days that keep you indoors this winter, there’s no better place to get lost in than the land of Skyrim.