Skyrim. © Bethesda Softworks

Skyrim is an action role-playing open world videogame published by Bethesda Softworks and developed by Bethesda Game Studios, released in late 2011. The fifth game in the immensely popular The Elder Scrolls franchise, it is a worthy successful of Oblivion and the best rated game in the series. Since its release, three more downloadable content packs were released, with a comprehensive expansion called The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Legendary Edition hitting the stores in 2013.

Key facts about Skyrim

  • Skyrim invites players to enter a world where dragons roam freely and defeat the menacing Alduin the World-Eater.
  • Action takes place 200 years after the events of The Elder Scrolls Oblivion and has the same open world system as its predecessor.
  • Skyrim allows players to postpone the main quest for as long as they like and focus on side missions or explore the great outdoors indefinitely.
  • The game uses the new Creation Engine which was built specifically for this new installment and has some of the best graphics of all video games.
  • Skyrim is the best selling game in the franchise, with millions of copies sold and scored high marks for its amazing soundtrack and stunning graphics.

The Skyrim games

All Skyrim games are famous for allowing players to explore a huge world and cover long distances using the fast travel work system. At the same time, they can choose the slower but more rewarding alternative of walking, running or riding horses. Unlike other games in which players have very little freedom and need to rush from one objective to the other, here players can do everything at their own pace. Exploring the wilderness, cities, dungeons and remote areas can be just as rewarding as killing monsters.

Ignoring the main quest is possible in Skyrim games, but players are still supposed to complete a couple of introductory missions. These serve the purpose of helping players get familiar with the game, learn the core mechanics as well as the manner in which to interact with non-player characters. Players also enjoy a lot of freedom in choosing how to interact with these NPCs, but there are consequences for every action.

The consequences range from making certain items and quests unattainable to being chased by the guards in any of the nine holds. Stealth is very important in Skyrim not only during combat but also when committing crimes, because when discovered players accumulate bounty points. These can be extinguished by bribing the guards or serving time in jail, but players also have the option of resisting.

What is Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an open world action role-playing game, in which players can assume third or first-person perspective. It is a sequel to the fourth installment in the series and action unfolds two centuries after the events of Oblivion, with players revisiting some popular sights. Bethesda Softworks is the publisher for the game and the developers use a game engine built specifically for Skyrim.

Screenshot of Skyrim. © Bethesda Softworks
Screenshot of Skyrim. © Bethesda Softworks

Gameplay of Skyrim

The Skyrim gameplay uses many of the core mechanics that could be found in the previous installment, while introducing new features. Interactions with nonplayer characters are more complex, particularly those with NPCs belonging to organize groups such as the Dark Brotherhood. There are plenty of factions scattered across the map and players decide whether to shake hands with them, collaborate for a limited period of time or crush them.

When players choose an aggressive approach, they can use one of the combat mechanics available and when used effectively, they can take down more powerful foes. Players can wield magic as well as weapons and can carry two offensive weapons simultaneously or a shield. Developing the character is an essential thing in Skyrim, as in all role-playing video games and leveling up unlocks powerful abilities.

More than meets the eye

Customization is of great importance in Skyrim and players can choose between several races, but also facial features and appearance. As they play the game, players improve certain skills that they use more often and can also enhance them by using various potions. Health, Magicka and stamina are depleted and can be restored by accessing the inventory and using certain concoctions, or by simply waiting.

Better weapons will improve the chance to defeat opponents, but players need to choose the ones that are more suitable for certain purpose. Depending on whether they plan on attacking enemies from up close, take them out from a distance or use magic, they need to choose the right weapon. Sometimes, the most intelligent way of dealing with the threat is by using stealth and Skyrim players benefit greatly from pickpocketing and sneak attacks.

In the wilderness, dragons are the most formidable opponents one can encounter in Skyrim and only high-level players can take them down. When successful, they can absorb their essence by using Dragon Shouts which need to be learned by consulting the "Word Walls". These can only be found in remote areas and various dungeons scattered across the continent, further encouraging players to explore.

Screenshot of Skyrim. © Bethesda Softworks
Screenshot of Skyrim. © Bethesda Softworks

Plot of Skyrim

Skyrim’s narrative takes place two centuries after Oblivion, but the game is not intended as a sequel and has its own plot. The player assumes the role of a character that escapes an Imperial execution and finds shelter in Riverwood, a village living under a constant threat of a dragon assault. The player travels to the nearby city of Whiterun to seek assistance in dealing with his menacing flow and this triggers the spawning of the first dragons in the world.

The plot of Skyrim grows in complexity as the player host his skills and emerges as a powerful Dragon killer and the only hope of slaying Alduin. The dragon is prophesied to destroy the entire world and the only one that can stop him is the player who is revealed to be the last member of the Dragonborn order. Trained by the Greybeards, he travels the world until he makes his way to the far North and defeats Alduin with the help of three heroes.

Development of Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion was very popular but in the wake of its release in 2006, Bethesda Game Studios shifted its focus on Fallout 3. It took them a while before starting to work on Skyrim and only after the apocalyptic RPG was released in 2008, developers started to focus exclusively on the fifth installment in the franchise. Regarded as a spiritual successful of both Oblivion and Fallout 3, it was the product of a team of more than 100 people working tirelessly.

Despite all the time and energy put into this new project, the game was not released in early 2011 as planned. The fans had to wait for a couple of more months, but when it hit the stores in November, it was a huge success among both critics and players. The production of the game was supervised by Todd Howard, the one who worked on many games published by the company.

Screenshot of Skyrim. © Bethesda Softworks
Screenshot of Skyrim. © Bethesda Softworks

Where can I download Skyrim?

To download Skyrim, players can head on to the Bethesda Softworks and buy it at a discounted price if they purchase some of the previous installments. Furthermore, on the same website fans of the game developer and publisher can purchase some other popular titles. The list includes but is not limited to Horizon Zero Dawn, Fallout 4, Doom, Dishonored 2 and Rage.

What are others saying about Skyrim?

Skyrim was an instant hit and receive plenty of positive reviews, with critics celebrating the removal of the character class. Despite the fact that everyone had high expectations for the game in the wake of the successful release of Oblivion, the latest installment exceeded these expectations. The fans were thrilled with the manner in which they can customize the character to make it more unique, as well as the ability to explore the huge world at leisure. The user interface and the easy way of accessing the inventory was also much appreciated by both veteran players and those new to the game.

See what Conan O'Brien has to say about Skyrim in his Clueless Gamer review:

Skyrim tournaments

Skyrim is essentially a single player game that is supposed to keep players entertained for long hours, while exploring the open world by themselves. It is challenging enough to keep players hooked for long hours even in the absence of a multiplayer and the absence of Skyrim tournaments will go unnoticed.

My rating of Skyrim

Whenever I have a couple of hours to spend by myself and want to enjoy a video game without the risk of getting frustrated, Skyrim is the perfect choice. It’s hard to think of any other game that is more enjoyable in single player, better looking and featuring a better soundtrack. Time passes much faster when playing this videogame and I strongly believe that it is the perfect addition to the celebrated Elder Scrolls series. I’m trying really hard not to go over the top with a review score, so I’ll only rate this game 9.5 out of 10, but it is as close as perfection as it gets.

Overall Score