Skyrim PC Review: Just A Console Port?
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the best console game I’ve ever played on PC.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Between the Elder Scrolls series and its adoption of the Fallout franchise, Bethesda has established itself as a leading name in open-world, singleplayer RPGs. Skyrim had big shoes to fill — shoes worn by giants who propel you into the stratosphere with a single swat of their tree-trunk clubs.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Released: November 11, 2011
In the fifth installment of The Elder Scrolls, we visit Skyrim, the northernmost region of Tamriel and harsh motherland of the Nords. With the recent assassination of the High King of Skyrim, the kingdom stands on the brink of civil war. You’ve somehow become implicated with the rebels, because the game begins with you being led to your execution, alongside rebel prisoners.
But just as the axe is about to be brought down on your neck, a Deus Ex Machina intervenes in the form of a thousand pounds of winged, fire-breathing muscle and sinew — a dragon. You make your escape in the ensuing chaos and embark on a quest that eventually leads you to discover that you are Dragonborn, the key to defeating the newly awakened dragons that have been springing up throughout the land.
Character creation only begins once you’re called to the chopping block. Bethesda never fails to amuse me with the ways it tries to blend character creation into gameplay — I’ll never forget Fallout 3 asking me what my name was as a newborn baby. In Skyrim, a guard orders you forward and demands your identity, at which point you select a race, name, and appearance — classes are deemed an antiquated mechanic and dropped in favor of a more organic system.
Rather than force you to commit to a decision you’ll have to live with throughout the game, Skyrim lets your “class” evolve naturally through your choice of gameplay. If you sneak around, wear light armor, and pick pockets, you’ll become more proficient in the use of these skills over time. If you want to change to using magic midway through the game, no problem — your magic skills will quickly improve as you use them. The system is elegant in its simplicity.
You’ll have plenty of opportunity to use a wide variety of skills as you progress through the game’s main quest line and invariably branch off into a multitude of side quests that range from dungeon delving to delivering notes. While I’ve barely scratched the surface of what quests Skyrim has to offer, the ones I’ve seen have all been crafted with care and purpose — there are no “go kill 10 wild boars” MMO-style quests to be found.