Skyrim: Fight Dragons… and other things

The game you have been asking about for years is finally here. Oblivion came out over five years ago and its last piece of DLC came out just a year after that. Many gamers have been eagerly waiting for the next installment in the Elder Scrolls series. The wait is over. It’s in stores now. RPGs have evolved a lot over the past 5 years. With the Dragon Age and Final Fantasy ruling the RPG market is there any room for Elder Scrolls? Have the enhancements in Skyrim stayed up to date with the industry standards? Are you going to be mad because I’m not giving this game a perfect score?

Skyrim is a beautiful game. It has amazing textures and is very detailed. Not to mention a draw distance that surpasses all others. The sights found in this game leave me speechless. Whether you are on the highest peak or in the lowest valley, you will remember your time here forever. Detail is a big part of these visuals. From how the snowfalls onto the ground or how a wolf’s howl warns you not to get closer, never before have I felt like a real citizen of a virtual land.

The AI is something else. It interacts with you and each other more than real people do (if you don’t get out much). Animals will watch as you pass, giving warnings to not step on their turf. Trust me you won’t be able to take down all the beasts you encounter. The AI have their own lives inside this virtual world. You can even ask the Inn Keeper if anyone needs help nearby. He/she will tell you someone was complaining about the bears around the city. Quest time, speak to them and get a quest to kill the bears. Battles can get really intense with the intelligent AI. They switch up combat strategies on the fly and don’t mind chasing you for as long as it takes.

The combat has changed from Oblivion. The triggers act as your right and left hands. You can equip just about anything to each hand: spells, swords, and shields. I stuck with spells for my left hand and a one handed sword for my right. Bow and arrows were a nice back up if I needed space. Remember to save often. I can’t remember how many times I would be hiking up a hill for hours to complete a quest and run into a Frost Troll. Those things are tough and when you die you go back to your last save. The enemies are strong but let’s face it, there’s only one type of enemy you want to hear about. The Dragons!

The Era of Dragons is upon us and it’s up to you to save the day. You fight your first dragon early in the main quest. It is an experience that I won’t soon forget. The dragon flying through the sky, landing only to kill the soldiers as you run for cover. I stuck with my Bow and Arrows for that fight. It was so intense I was yelling at my TV for the soldiers to get into cover. Why do they never listen? After finally killing the beast, somehow, you absorb its soul. The survivors say it’s because you are Dragon Born (I don’t know how a Dark Elf was born from a Dragon but hey, it works). Your adventure will continue but I don’t want to spoil anything, as you need to experience it yourself.

Skyrim has many things it did right and a few it did wrong but they are still there. Facial expressions aren’t up to par with other games. Menus can be trouble to navigate. Roads can be hard to find, and essential, when the nav point will say “go there” but a mountain blocks your path. Dungeons are better than ever with the new AI and graphics. Many games are grabbing for your money this holiday season. Skyrim should be near the top of your list. A- and that might be a little harsh, but the facial expressions bugged me a lot.