The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

A vast, varied, unique and complex role-playing game

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Bethesda Softworks The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Bethesda Softworks The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Bethesda Softworks The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Bethesda Softworks The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Pros

  • Intensely detailed and nuanced environments
  • Excellent character development system

Cons

  • Some gameplay elements (like the economy) are just a facade
  • Mediocre combat system

Bottom Line

Skyrim represents the culmination of a long balancing act, of all Bethesda's learned and mastered about epic nonlinear play. It's a triumph of freeform design, less a roleplaying game like so many popular D&D-haunted others than a glimpse of what it might be like to inhabit another world, its rules and interface folding seamlessly into the gameplay instead of snapping you out of the moment with Byzantine menus and soul-numbing math. If someone asks you where games are headed, you can point to this.

Would you buy this?

You begin in a prison cart, hands bound, juddering down a mountain path as a chorus of French horns plays a mournful melody. You'll spend a lot of time navigating Skyrim's mountains — whether you're climbing through their snowy heights or just staring up their slopes, they're a physical presence unlike any you've experienced in a game. They surround you on all sides, their tops shrouded in rolling banks of clouds and reaching for what seems like miles toward the stratosphere. The clouds sometimes descend from the highest slopes, filling pine-thick valleys or rocky, scrub-covered flatland with curls of fog.

The sun pushes through those clouds as you trundle along, in the company of thieves and rebels. Bright hues cascade over woodland and ice-rimed stone, chasing away the gloom. You're a prisoner, because you're always a prisoner at the outset in an Elder Scrolls game, though never of them — they work harder to unfetter you than anything else in this genre.

And then the dragons show up, because this is a game about dragons showing up, as if to rectify their absence from prior instalments. And we're not talking the tender-bellied, winged lizards native to so many fantasy settings, but cruel-barbed, hook-mouthed horrors that can stun with ice-like cones of pure sound. Will you escape? How? And go where? The answer's...

"We have heard of those princes' heroic campaigns..."

...maybe you'll follow the so-called "main story," easily the series' most mature, but whose purpose, fittingly, seems to be as introduction to Skyrim's footpaths, locales, and wilds, after which the real story — the one you'll craft as you discover just how much unprecedented detail Bethesda's baked into every square inch of Skyrim's vast geography — can begin. Maybe you'll do your best to confound the game's logic, flaunting the law, even killing capriciously. Or maybe you'll just wander, an itinerant swashbuckler, taking work as you find it. It's hard not to wander. The game world's so thoroughly realized and lovingly rendered, well, good luck not abandoning whatever quest you're tracking just to see where the river over there goes, or what that strange light halfway up a mountain is.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Recommended

Be the first to comment.

Post new comment

Users posting comments agree to the Good Gear Guide comments policy.

Login or register to link comments to your user profile, or you may also post a comment without being logged in.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?