A role playing game fan, I am not. In my days, I’ve only really dabbled in the genre. Mass Effect was the first RPG that I completed, and really hooked me. And that was mostly due to the fantastic sci-fi story, and huge amount of combat. Any other RPGs I had sat down with, felt slow and dry in comparison. Aside from Bathesda’s Elder Scrolls and Fallout games, that is. They’ve always seemed to capture my attention, but I’ve managed to resist their lure by telling myself repeatedly, “You don’t have time for a game like this.” While the fifth entry in the Elder Scrolls series dropped at the busiest time of year for gamers, the months that followed were barren, and when I stumbled upon a copy of Skyrim for 50% of the current retail cost, I lowered my guard and gave in to Bathesda’s seemingly endless game. One that has claimed the title of “Game of the Year” from countless sources, I might add. And rightly so, it would seem.
I probably didn’t approach this game with the right frame of mind – I wanted to complete the main quest, and care little about everything else. Or at least, that was the plan. When I played Oblivion back in the early days of the Xbox 360, I got stuck at around 16 hours. I had set out to do the same – complete the main quest, but my character wasn’t strong enough to defeat the enemies that lie ahead. Assuming this would likely be the case with Skyrim, I still set out to defeat Alduin. Surprisingly, there were no road blocks that required me to side-track and level up before proceeding. Alduin was slain within 20 hours, and I was done… the main quest, at least. I shelved the game and told my wife that I would stop hogging the living room TV every evening. No more than a few days had passed, when I found my ass back on the couch, and my mind back in Skyrim.
Another path I had determined early on, was that I was going to fight my way through Skyrim with melee weapons and a bow and arrow. No magic. Magic is for pussies. My dude is a tough-as-nails Nord, and he fights with his hands, or things he can project using his hands. At least, that’s what I thought, until I discovered that I could shoot flames and fireballs from my hands like fucking Ryu! Yeah, my Nord is the Arch-Mage of Winterhold, no big deal.
Another thing I said I would never do, is traverse the world without cause. I would always have an active mission, and that’s what I would be doing. Until I saw a dragon fly over the peak of a mountain on the horizon. I chased that bastard until I was in range to bring him crashing down with my Dragonrend shout, and quickly took him out with my Dragonbone sword, then obsorbed his soul. I stole that sword from The Blades temple, by the way. It deals 20 extra points of damage to dragons. Pretty sweet little weapon! There were some ruins close by, so I checked them out and some dude asked me to go in and bring an enchanted staff back for him. Sounds easy enough. Three hours later, I had the staff, and the dude turned out to be a dick, so I killed him and kept it for myself. What was I doing again? Oh right, just running around doing miscellaneous shit. You know, that thing I said I would never do.
So far, I’ve invested over 40 hours into Skyrim; 100% more than I had anticipated. And the only thing that’s going to put a stop to it, is Mass Effect 3, which is set to release in less than two weeks from the time of writing. But even then, I have a feeling that I’ll end up back in Skyrim when new releases begin to dwindle.
There is really so much I could say, and stories I could tell about my experience with Skyrim. And I could come back and write more after each sitting, but I’m going to keep this relatively short and to the point; The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an absolute masterpiece! It is so expansive that any minor technical issues become obsolete, given that you will likely forget about them due to the sheer amount of time invested. At least, that’s been the case with me. It looks fantastic, plays exactly how I would want it to, the music by Jeremy Soule is some of his best work, and it lets you play however you would like. What more could one ask for? Dragons? Yeah, it has plenty of them too.