The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review (Xbox 360)

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Reviewed on Xbox 360
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Released: November 11, 2011
MSRP: $59.99

When I started playing Skyrim two weeks ago, I don’t think I knew what I was getting into. Sure, I played Oblivion, like everyone else did, but I wasn’t so enthusiastic about it because it took place in a forest that might as well have been behind my apartment. I don’t go into those woods in real life, so why would I want to go into the generic woods in Oblivion?

Skyrim is a completely different beast.  It has snow, for one, which is basically a foreign concept to me, seeing as how I’ve only ever lived in Alabama and Southern California. But it’s not just that. Skyrim truly feels like a foreign land.

It could be argued that Skyrim is actually the central character in the game, full of personality, depth and an amazingly rich history. And snow. The world first begins to reveal its true identity with all the crazy snow, and it continues with glaciers and ice shelves.  I spent hours climbing around on glaciers, seriously, because that’s just too cool. Later, I was sent out even further north on ice shelves in search of a crazy man’s igloo, and I was in heaven.

But it’s not all there is to this world. You’ll also find yourself traveling through forests and plains, and maybe even a swamp. There is actually a snowy swamp, too, which is both ridiculous and amazing. Skyrim is a layered world, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Red Dead Redemption, and it’s all beautiful to behold.

There is, of course, another character in Skyrim, the hero you control throughout the adventure. Our hero is a lone wanderer, a lowlife, who finds herself (I say “her” because I chose to create a female character) thrust into an extraordinary situation. Dragons are returning to Skyrim, and they’re looking to ruin everyone’s day. Only you dare stand in their way, and that’s because you’re Dragonborn (or “Dovahkiin” in dragon tongue), one who has the ability to use powerful “dragon shouts” and absorb the souls of dragons you kill. And, boy, are you going to kill a lot of damn dragons. More on that in a minute.

The underlying story Skyrim tells here is pretty solid, and that’s mostly because it delves into the ancient history of the Elder Scrolls saga. We learn about mankind’s history with dragons, why the hell they’re rampaging now, and it’s all good lore and really well done.

The here and now of the main plot is less interesting, though it’s not bad, and it does take us to all the four corners of the game world–from the swampy Riften, to the Throat of the World at the peak of the highest mountain in the land; from the College of Winterhold, to the craggy rocks of Markarth. The main campaign serves as our introduction to all the locales we can visit in this world.

I call the main story an introduction because it’s only a small part of what you’ll be doing in this game. In my 50+ hours in Skyrim, I joined the Stormcloak rebellion against the Empire, became a werewolf, enrolled at the college of magic in Winterhold and became a professional thief. That’s not even close to everything you can do in this game.

As you travel around the world, you’ll crawl through dungeons and collect herbs and the souls of your enemies, and help out random townsfolk you meet along the road. You’ll find collectible “Dragon Words” written on walls that will grant you outlandish powers, called “Dragon Shouts.” You’ll climb a very tall mountain. You’ll hunt freaking mammoths.  You’ll get married and buy a house. You’ll do everything you ever wanted to do in a fantasy game, and more.

That sounds like a lot of things for you to do, but there’s even more than that. The Radiant AI is constantly generating random new miscellaneous objectives for you, like bounties or retrieving this item or that. Skyrim is a game in which you couldn’t get bored even if you wanted to, because there’s always something new for you to do.

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12 Comments on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review (Xbox 360)

JosephPS3

On November 12, 2011 at 6:02 am

Okay that’s it, I don’t need to buy another game. Got the game and not only will you be spending hours playing the main missions and side missions, you’ll also be spending hours and hours just exploring this world. Wandering off and seeing whats behind that hill or road. Its like you’re living in this world. Amazing game. GOTY contender in my opinion. This and UC3.

curiozitati stiati ca

On November 12, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I like it. I wanna buy, two word and say no mre : “Amazing game”

Kyle

On November 12, 2011 at 10:18 pm

How is this a 90/100? The cons are barely existent and are almost unnoticeable compared to the vast hours of gameplay and enormous amount of content. This game is a masterpiece and deserves 100/100. 95/100 at the least..

Armenia4ever

On November 13, 2011 at 5:05 am

The dialogue is superfluous in Skyrim and Oblivion, unlike Morrowind, but at the same time I’m not sure they could do alot about the dialogue options without removing the voice-overs for them completely.

With voice-overs being the standard, you would be looking at an insane amount of scripted lines with varying voice tones, pitch, ect for each actor to cover. I wonder if they could really have done much to rectify this.

Adam

On November 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm

I found this review to be very poor. To me, it seemed like the reviewer really had no prior knowledge of the elder scrolls saga. The voices in this game were one of the major factors that Bethesda had focused on. Your lack of research really made it hard for me to completely read your review.

really adam?

On November 14, 2011 at 8:45 pm

There are plenty of moments where the poor dialogue/voice acting draws you out of the immersion of the game, especially in moments where you don’t even initiate the conversation. This has always been an issue for bethesda and everyone knows it, and just because they focused on fixing it doesn’t mean they actually fixed it. I love the game so far, but this assessment seems fair.

derek

On November 15, 2011 at 2:26 pm

skyrim is the best game ever made so far

Miguel

On November 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm

It’s an amazing game. I think it’s the best of all of the Elder Scrolls games. :D

Patrick

On November 18, 2011 at 9:27 am

Hey if you want to get this game for a cheaper price then the local store here is a link. http://www.gamefront.com/skyrim-review-xbox-360/

Rick

On November 19, 2011 at 4:52 am

I was surfing around for a free video game download and found a site giving away the Xbox 360 for Free. Some sort of Consumer Rewards deal. Not sure how it works exactly or who is paying for the games, maybe the manufacturer, or advertisers. IT took about 3 weeks to come in, I had actually forgotten that I submitted my email and address with them. But it works, Now The site is even more updated with XBOX Consoles, A Red Nintendo Wii, and more. The site is http://thefamilyexchange.com/free Im going back to get more free stuff.

Wet Taco

On January 17, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Nords are