The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review (Xbox 360)
You will also, of course, fight dragons. These serve as the game’s boss fights, and they will pop up around the world seemingly at random. They’re not scripted boss fight events in that sense. Dragons are tough, but you can take them down the way you would any other enemy. Hopefully, you’ll have some other people around to help you tackle them, because otherwise you’ll have your hands full. Be sure to keep a bow on you at all times, because you aren’t going to want to get to close to these things when they land on the ground. It’s hard to dodge the fire or ice (those are your varieties of dragon) it’s shooting at you when you’re hacking away at its face.
Despite their toughness, you’ll be excited when a dragon shows up, because these things are loot-tastic. Killing a dragon will give you its soul, which you can use to unlock new shouts, and they’re also full of gold and items you can use for various things, or just plunder for money. I bought a house just with gold I earned from selling dragon body parts.
For the most part, you’ll find that the underlying gameplay mechanics of Skyrim are familiar, as they don’t deviate much from those of Oblivion. You’ll level by increasing your various skills, simply by using them as you play the game — any of them, as you won’t choose a core set of skills when you create a character this time around — and you’ll gain Fallout-style perks, too, for leveling. You can only unlock perks for which you have the appropriate skill level, which means if you want any of the cool perks in a given skill, you’re going to have to earn it by using that skill a lot. Some of these perks are really worth working for, like the one that makes it so you can decapitate people, or the one that lets you sell any item to any shop. I need that perk badly.
You can wield any number of weapons, or dual wield them, even. Or you can hold a blade in one hand and wield a magical power in the other. Or you can BioShock it up, and do magic with both hands, or, hell, you can wield a blade in one hand and a shield (or a magical shield, if you so choose) in the other. It goes on and on. When you then consider the Dragon Shouts you learn throughout the game–that give you powers like super-speed and fire-breathing–you’ll find that you always have the tools to handle any situation the game throws at you.
In all, combat feels a lot more refined in this game, and you’ll be able to have a greater reliance on your own skill rather than stats. When you couple that refinement with new kill animations, I think it’s fair to call the combat “excellent” this time around.
Most of the time, you’ll be plying your combat craft against normal-sized humanoid enemies, but occasionally you’ll fight wolves, and flying ice snakes and other random weird things. Dungeons are populated by either looters or or indigenous Falmers (elves who have lived underground so long they’ve gone blind), or the undead. Oh, and there are dwarven robots in a few of them. Those are crazy.
Aside from the dragons, you aren’t going to have a lot of trouble with your foes unless you get swarmed or are just an idiot. That is, unless you pick a fight with a giant or something. Those guys will definitely mess you up big time. You should probably just leave them alone.
I say you own’t have much trouble with most of your enemies, but that, of course, depends on what difficulty level you’re playing on. There are five settings, so you know you can give yourself trouble if you really want to.
Oddly, you won’t often have to hunt for the good equipment. I found that most of my best gear was given to me by various factions. I got some great armor from the Stormcloaks and my best sword from a circle of mercenaries called The Companions. Rarely did I find anything better in dungeons.
Although, you can find items to help you build your own awesome equipment, or to improve your existing awesome weapons with enchantments. Plus, there’s alchemy, which allows you to create your own potions that have all sorts of effects.