Skyrim is epic. There is no way around this simple and powerful fact. Everything from the pulsing choir heavy orchestral soundtrack to the ridiculously beautiful art design and grandiose set pieces practically screams, “I am the most epic thing you will ever do.” However, do keep in mind brave adventurer that this is still a Bethesda game, and that means that it is as bug heavy as a monsoon in the Amazon. In spite of its propensity for random and hilarious glitches this game is nearly perfect, a beautiful blend of adventure, glory, and, most importantly, dragons. There is no way to talk about this game without talking about the amazing dragons.
Skyrim’s undisputed heroes are not the Nord barbarians or the crazy daedra lords or the crafty khajitii. No, the greatest draw for this game is the masterfully crafted dragons. These scaly terrors are the most powerful and imposing of the new enemies in Skyrim and are not only brilliantly used as enemies but also make surprisingly strong contributions to the story. These dragons are some of the most amazing looking of their kind in any videogame to date. They randomly show up and almost always get the player’s heart pumping but where the dragons shine physically, they are far more lackluster in terms of intelligence. Following pre-scripted attack patterns and simple rhythms the dragons quickly become stagnant enemies. While not being the greatest enemies in the world these dragons make up but a small fraction of the foes faced in the wilderness of Skyrim. Giants, mammoths and dire wolves are just a few of the varied forces that will try to thwart your intrepid adventurer in his many and varied quests. And there will be many, many quests.
Both a boon and a curse for Skyrim is the veritable plethora of quests available at any given time. There is always something to do in Skyrim, usually many things to do at once. This makes it great as it allows the player to constantly be on the move from one event to the next but it also its greatest hindrance. With so many things going on at any given moment it is almost impossible to keep track of every active quest. The constant stimulation keeps the action going at all times but also makes it difficult to maintain the full rush of every active quest. This means that occasionally the player would do well to set the quest roster aside for a bit and just explore the countryside, hunt a few mammoths maybe. Even just travelling the countryside of Skyrim can be a great experience, admiring the fantastic attention to detail and magnificent set pieces. Skyrimis huge, easily giving the player hours to just travel the snowcapped wilderness. This very size and variance is what also causes Skyrim’s greatest flaw, though it has since been mitigated somewhat by a patch. The sheer amount of glitches in this game, though often hilarious, is astonishing.
Skyrim is fraught with glitches both big and small. Occasionally a NPC will keep walking after its hit a wall, blatantly ignoring the impediment. Other times a mammoth will take a ride on top of a dragon as it takes off, flying into the wild blue yonder. While these glitches are funny they are also distracting and can tear the player out of the game, briefly ruining the experience. Many of these glitches have been solved by the recent patches but there are still some annoyances that mar the otherwise almost perfect experience that Skyrim presents. In almost every other respect Skyrim is a perfect game.
Skyrim is near perfect but not quite. It has a few issues, especially with glitches but it is still an almost perfect synthesis of action and beauty. It is by far one of the best games of this generation, making almost everything that made Oblivion great, perfect. If you did not like Oblivion you will not like Skyrim but there is no other excuse not to play this game. Be ready however to devote days and weeks to this single title. Skyrim’s attention to detail and fantastic gameplay make it a must own. Five fire-breathing monstrous reptiles out of five.