The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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Description official descriptions

Two hundred years after the events described in Oblivion, the continent of Tamriel is in turmoil. The Emperor's throne remained without heir; the Blades, Empire's elite guards, have been disassembled; elven nations began capturing territory from the Empire. The assassination of the King of Skyrim, Tamriel's Northern-most province and home of the Nord race, led to a civil war between those who wish independence for Skyrim and those who wanted it to remain under the Empire's control.

A prisoner is brought to a small town, awaiting execution for alleged involvement with the Stormcloaks, a group that was founded by the king's assassin Ulfric Stormcloak. Just before the executioner's axe lands on the prisoner's neck, a dragon attacks the city, forcing most people to flee. The unexpected freedom leads the ex-prisoner into the snowy Skyrim, where the rumors of the dragon begin to circulate.

Like its predecessors in the Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim is an open-ended role-playing game with action-based combat. The player may explore the vast environments of Skyrim from either first- (default) or third-person perspective, being unrestricted in his or her travels and free to undertake any side quests in any order, or follow the main quest. It is possible to fast-travel to previously visited locations directly from the world map. The player can also opt to buy (or steal) and ride a horse.

There are ten races to choose from: Altmer (High Elves), Argonian (reptile people), Bosmer (Wood Elves), Breton, Dunmer (Dark Elves), Imperial, Khajiit (cat people), Nord, Orc, and Redguard. Each race has their own perks and limitations, such as Nord being resistant to cold, Khajiit being weak with magic, etc. Unlike the previous games in the series, the player cannot choose a class for the main character; rather, the latter evolves into any class-like combination gradually, according to the play style. When the protagonist reaches a new level, the player may increase his or her Health, Magicka, or Stamina and a new perk may be added to one of the skills. There are eighteen skills altogether, and each skill has several levels and perks which may be obtained. Most perks are only accessible after a certain level has been reached in said perk. For instance, in order to reach higher perks with Destruction, destructive spells must be leveled up. Skill levels can increase either through extensive use, skill books, or even paying for training from certain non-playable characters.

The game contains some features that were introduced in Fallout 3. Enemy level-scaling is done in a similar way, as opposed to the more intrusive system of Oblivion. The player may hire other fighters to follow the hero around and lend a helping hand in combat. Also, the lockpicking system of the previous installment has been replaced by the lockpicking methods of the recent Fallout games. Conversations with NPCs now occur in real time rather than "freezing" time as in Oblivion.

Players can craft, cook, or build any number of items depending on ingredients and skill levels. Alchemy allows players to make potions, Enchanting allows players to imbue armor and items with magical abilities (such as increasing the effectiveness of magic resistance), and Smithing allows players to either craft or improve weapons and armor. Smelting, tanning and cooking are also a part of this mix as well: Smelting is the skill of turning raw mined mineral ores into usable ingots for smithing; Tanning is the process of drying animal hides to make leather strips, useful in creating or improving armor and weapons; Cooking allows players to turn otherwise minimally useful food ingredients into much more beneficial meals.

Melee attacks can be performed using either two or one-handed weapons. Blocking reduces damage and allows for the opportunity to bash an opponent with a shield. Archery is also available for some ranged attacks, as is quite a bit of magicka. Each race also has a distinct magic-like power ability; only one power may be equipped at a time. For instance, a Nord power is to frighten enemies away for a while. New to the series is the Shout ability, which is a special power based on Dragon language. These require a special set of circumstances to unlock: first, the ancient words must be learned from Word Walls hidden all over Skyrim; secondly, they can only be activated by acquiring a dragon soul (from slaying a dragon).

Crimes may be committed by stealing, pickpocketing, murder or attacking innocent people, or even by trespassing. Generally this puts a bounty on the head of the player character, unless said character is quick enough to eliminate all witnesses. Fines and jail time, or a beat-down from authorities, are likely to ensue if the hero commits too many crimes or merely ends up getting caught. The protagonist can serve out his or her sentence on the jail bed, or pick the lock and escape; however, going to jail is likely to cause current skill progress to be lost.

As before, there are several groups, guilds, and the like that the player may encounter and join, each with their own advantages or disadvantages, each with their own views on the current events of the world, and each with their own quests. The abilities to become a werewolf or vampire are also present and have been somewhat streamlined: for instance, sunlight is not instantly deadly to vampires, and lycanthropy can be spread around.

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Credits (Windows version)

810 People (782 developers, 28 thanks) · View all

Game Design
  • Bethesda Game Studio
Game Director
Lead Programmer
Lead Artist
Lead Designer
Co-Lead Designer
Production Director
Lead Producer
Audio Director
Senior Producers
Lead Systems Programmer
Systems Programming
[ full credits ]



Average score: 92% (based on 72 ratings)


Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 172 ratings with 8 reviews)

Mediocrity all over

The Good
- Visually quite stunning. - A lot of customization. - Interface is pretty easy to understand. - Strong writing.

The Bad
- Poor fighting mechanics. - Useless shouts. - Lackluster storyline. - Boring scenery and world design. - Doesn't feel epic in the slightest. - Too easy. - Too many inexcusable glitches.

The Bottom Line
I already reviewed this game, but I wasn't quite satisfied with the first version of it. Not only was it very rushed, but it also lacked some of the details I wanted to include and it was more positive than intended, so I figured I would give it another shot.

As the game starts we are treated on a little cart trip through Skyrim along with some other prisoners (we are going to make a running gag out of this, aren't we Bethesda? -_-). Turns out we were trying to cross the border and for some reason that is illegal and punished with a trip to Dead Row and no trial. As far as opening scenes go it works pretty well as it does a pretty good job at getting me in the mood to play it and it at least contains more action than that boring prison-scene at the start of Oblivion. So naturally you escape from the man with the axe and soon after you end up in the great outdoors, beautiful Skyrim.

After this intro I went straight for the main quest which involves an evil dragon who wants to cause an apocalypse and reset the world. I wasn't expecting to be dumped straight into a great storyline, but after like five hours of playing the "peak" of the whole storyline had already occurred. The first time I had to fight a dragon was amazing, it seemed so big and so challenging to slay a beast of this size, but this was two hours in and the rest of the story was rather boring. Every quest you got was either telling you to go somewhere and talk to somebody or to go into a copy & pasted cave and fetch something.

It was around this time I figured a little break would do me some good and I dived into one of the side-stories, namely the whole rebellion that is going on in Skyrim. It is the Empire versus the Nords and I wanted to get in on the fun, so I headed straight for the Nord city of Winterhelm (or was it Winterhold?), It was around this time that I started to notice that the world design is pretty boring, sure it is amazing at first when you first emerge from a cave and see an endless field of adventure before you, but there is just very little to do in this world and the moment you see your first mountain you have pretty much seen it all. Broken down into percentages Skyrim is: 5% city, 2% mountain and 100% snow. No matter where you look, you'll see f*cking snow.

Anyway I got to the city and for the first time since I started playing I was send to an area with different scenery. As exciting as it may sound, I am sad to inform you that the answer to your question is "ice" and well... more snow. Another thing I started to notice was that as I started looting more valuable treasure and I could carry more and more items the shops weren't doing a very good job at keeping up with my desire to sell them stuff. In Oblivion all shopkeepers had a maximum amount of money they could give you for each item, but here they only have a limited amount of cash to spend per day. This means that selling one treasure will likely bankrupt them instantly and by the time you find another vendor you'll already have found more treasure, creating a loop that you simply can't escape.

The whole rebellion sidestory was okay, but it heavily relied on assaulting cities and settlements. Again, just like with the dragon, this is amazing the first time, but after you do it five times in the same hour it starts to grow rather dull and predictable. This is a major problem in Skyrim, everything that could be an amazing setpiece is leeched of all impact because you will start doing it at level 3 and continue to do it for as long as you play with no tweaking in difficulty. Every dragon or city you take down feels like something that should have been the finally of the game, which instead of putting you in a constant state of amazement, makes you immune to its attempts to impress you by constantly doing the same elaborate tricks. It could have been paced better is what I am trying to say.

A big argument I keep hearing however is that the combat and leveling are the best they have ever been in the series, something that around this time started to strike me as rather odd. Leveling in Skyrim isn't in any way different from leveling in Oblivion and neither is training your skills. Sure, you no longer select primary and secondary skills, but that only allows you to level yourself in a corner if you only train skills like Alchemy and Smithing. "But now you can play however you want and that is what your character will get good at" doesn't make any kind of sense because that is always the case in every RPG. The fighting is for the most part okay and feels like it has remained unchanged, but this is the first time we actually get to fight big battles with both friendly and enemy NPC's. Sometimes you'd get lucky and some random guards would help you beat down a bandit in Oblivion, but in Skyrim there are a lot of organized attacks and they aren't as fun as you'd think. Been an archer and sneak combination I was pretty much forced into fighting with a friendly army during the rebel quests and this turned the combat into an uncontrollable mess where dozens of soldiers danced around each other and friends were hard to differentiate from foes.

After rounding up the rebel business I returned to the main quest just in time to finally see the game's most hyped, new feature. Using the Right Button you can unleash a shout that will have a magical effect on enemies and your surroundings. Wait what? Magical effect? You mean like a spell? Yes, I am dead serious, the shouts are a 1 on 1 copy of the magical spells every fantasy game has used since god knows long. You have shouts for shooting fire, ice, wind, becoming invisible and stopping time just to name a few, but is this the great feature everybody was hyped for? In the time it takes my character to shout some random gibberish I could have already opened the menu and equipped a magic spell that does the exact same thing.

I continued working my way through a few more dull caves and pretty good character dialog until I finally made it to the last boss, or so I though. Though technically a Round 1 of 2 the first fight with the big, bad dragon was an absolute nightmare. Not because it was hard, but because it was more glitched than Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Big Rigs combined. After dying once because I got a little too excited and forgot to watch my health, the boss just went into insanity mode. I couldn't inflict any damage on him with anything I had, not even my backup could do anything to harm the dragon who was casually spewing fire on us while we were putting enough holes in him to make a bunker fall apart. Eventually I solved the glitch and in my very next try he managed to get stuck in the scenery. Fantastic. What makes this so weird for me is that I can't seem to figure out how you can possibly cock up so badly that a boss becomes completely invulnerable? How did you get that programmed into the game? And while we are on the subject: Why didn't this get taken out in the two patches we have seen since the release of the game?

Anyway, I finished up the main storyline which I won't spoil for you, but after that I kinda stopped playing. While I accumulated a total of 500+ hours played in Oblivion, I don't even think I reached the 30+ hours that I got on Kingdom Hearts and Skyward Sword with this game. I tried getting into the Thieves guild questline, but yeah... lots of dark caves.

My main problem with the game is that everything it contains could potentially be very amazing, but because you see everything in the first five hours of playtime and then just continue to wallow in it, it takes away from how epic it could have been. Consider it has also been a while since Oblivion came out, I kind of wonder what all the time went into because it certainly wasn't the storyline or the bug fixing.

While Skyrim has received a lot of praise from the press, I don't think it deserves such awards as the Game of the Year from the Escapist, simply because personally trying to enjoy this game felt a lot like clinging to the nostalgia I felt for Oblivion. I am not sure if this is the case for everybody, but the way I see professional websites handing out 10/10's makes me feel like these people weren't enjoying Skyrim as much as they forced themselves too and that is a pretty depressing thought.

If you are a die-hard fan of Oblivion than you may be able to see past the many problems of Skyrim, but everybody else will just see it for the mess it actually is. It is a big realm filled with a lot of copies of the same three areas and that occasionally pisses itself and dies. All-around mediocrity.

Xbox 360 · by Asinine (957) · 2012

Amazing presentation, boring gameplay

The Good
Well, I suppose the most obvious strongpoints of this instalment, as with its predecessor, are the graphics and the musical score. For a good dozens of hours (I think I spent almost 100 hours on this) I was so taken with the awesome visuals of Skyrim that I really did not mind so much all the drawbacks in the gameplay section.

I haven't seen any first-person action RPG looking as gorgeous as this one before on my trusty old laptop. And I didn't even play on the highest level of detail, so that's saying something. I remember how grateful I was that Skyrim would run at all on my computer, and was astonished to realise it ran quite fluently, even with the high texture pack installed.

Also, Bethesda finally managed to make the non-player characters look more vivid in their expressions and movements. This is a point which up to this instalment has prevented me to take a liking to Bethesda games (with the notable exception of Fallout 3 maybe).

The Bad
The story is a false pretense luring the player into the amazing atmospheric charms of the game. In the beginning I really thought I would make a difference or it would be a joy to discover everything there is and grow into Skyrim and its history.

In fact, there is ample opportunity to do exactly that. As usual, there is an abundance of history to be uncovered through the myriads of books lying around in places. Unfortunately, after having completed a couple of important story quests, I realised that no-one around me wherever I go really gave a shit about my achievements. Trespassing NPCs would use their same old lines over and over no matter what. And there's not even an option to prevent them from babbling away there shit, which is particularly annoying when you're in the middle of a conversation.

Although it is possible to configure some of the default controls, you still can't configure everything, and what's more confusing is that standard keys like E and TAB or R get different functions in different parts of the interface. Also, even if you change the R to the space tab, on screen it will still show the default key. That's rubbish and poorly thought out.

And then I've been really annoyed by the harvesting uselessness. I loved to harvest as much and as diverse a plant as I could, then finally got into the apothecary in Whiterun to discover she had only three recipes or so, and for these I was lacking two-thirds of ingredients. I mean, fuck that! I sold everything I had to her and ditched this aspect of the adventure.

The Bottom Line
Appealing FPRPG, but gets tedious after a while.

Windows · by CoffeeCrack (20) · 2015

По суті, Скайрім - це така екшн-РПГ пісочниця, яка живе за рахунок модів.

The Good
Атмосфера, Імерсивність, Бойова система, Моди, Дракони, Пересування верхом на коні.

The Bad
Нецікаві квести, В діалогах недостатньо вибору для відігравання ролі, Варіативність на низькому рівні,

The Bottom Line
Команда Тода Говарда завжди старається наповнити свої ігри максимальною кількість контенту та зробити їх настільки масштабними, наскільки їм це позволяє бюджет та технології, але якість цього контенту завжди під питанням. Це ігри, які багатьом подобаються, але водночас їх мало хто проходить до кінця. До того ж, без модів Скайрім вважається дуже сирим навіть серед фанатів.

Windows · by Oleh Wixel · 2023

[ View all 8 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
New animations Indra was here (20633) Feb 11th, 2013
Some thoughts about Skyrim The Fabulous King (1330) Jan 23rd, 2012
Low sound? Unicorn Lynx (180489) Dec 20th, 2011



  • 4Players
    • 2011 – Best Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
  • GameSpy
    • 2011 - Game of the Year
    • 2011 – RPG of the Year
  • GameStar/GamePro (Germany)
    • 2011 - PC Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
    • 2011 - Console Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
    • 2011 - PC RPG of the Year (Readers' Vote)
    • 2011 - Console RPG of the Year (Readers' Vote)
    • 2013 – Community Favourite of the Year (Readers' Vote)* PC Games (Germany)
    • Issue 01/2012 - Best Game in 2011 (Editors' Choice, together with Batman: Arkham City and Portal 2)
    • Issue 01/2012 - #2 Best RPG in 2011 (Readers' Choice)
    • Issue 01/2012 - #2 Best Game in 2011 (Readers' Choice)
    • Issue 01/2012 - #3 Surprise in 2011 (Readers' Choice)
    • Issue 01/2012 - #2 Best Graphics in 2011 (Readers' Choice)
    • Issue 01/2012 - #2 Best Sound in 2011 (Readers' Choice)
    • Issue 01/2012 - #2 Best Sound in 2011 (Readers' Choice)
  • Steam Awards
    • 2016 — The 'Test of Time' Award — Won
  • Xbox 360 Achievements
    • 2011 - Game of the Year
    • 2011 - Best Original Score

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by ResidentHazard.

Additional contributors: Jeanne, Havoc Crow (formerly JudgeDeadd), Yearman, Patrick Bregger, Kennyannydenny.

Game added November 16th, 2011. Last modified September 20th, 2023.