Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -or- My wife is cheating on me with a fucking X360 game.

I kid, I kid.   Maybe....

Anyways this is the titanic fifth installment of Bethesda's long running PC series turned into a console series with part 3 Morrowind. Is this game worth playing? Is it worth losing contact with all friends, family, kids, pets, job, school, etc., for the next foreseeable four months. Hell yes it is. Is it worth possibly giving up sex to enjoy killing dragons?

No. Never. Poontang is *always* better than video games. And if you disagree, well, I guess its because you must be banging a corpse or something. But I digress....

Lets just get this over with right now. I'm having to compete for time to play this game with my wife. She apparently can turn into a video game zombie as fast as I can with the latest AAA title. Her selections are more limited than mine, because I'm an achievement whore an play almost everything, so RPGs are her addiction. I've also noticed she got snippy with me when she found out I had 40 more gamer score in Skyrim than her. She actually sounded pissed off that I was getting to see more of this game than her! Don't worry gang, she quickly (read: two massive 8+ hour marathons) beat the shit out of my score. But I do get the system back after she goes to bed.....and the war will continue.

Ok, I'm off track here. The meat and potatoes of this game isn't the main storyline about the return of the dragons to the world. Its about the freedom to play this game however you feel you want to play it. And Bethesda does that very very well. I can see where they learned from their mistakes from Oblivion and corrected them ( for example every enemy in the game doesn't level up with you so a damn mountain lion can't kill your level 50 heavy armor warrior....hated that in Oblivion) and they also took some of the cooler play tweaks from Fallout 3 and applied them here. Heck, they refined them here. Lock picking is more Fallout style than Oblivion. It works better.

Character creation is just bliss too. If you play around with the creator enough you can make practically any type of character your heart desires. You start by manufacturing your look but how you play determines what you want to be. There are no character classes. You want to excel at doing something, lets say smithing, well the more you keep doing it the better you get at it. And the more you improve your skills you will eventually level your character which grants a boost in Health, Stamina or Magicka as well as a perk. Perks are similar to Fallout 3 but not as limiting. I don't think limiting is the best choice for that statement yet I can't find another way to say it. Perks give you boosts and bonuses to the skills you want to improve. You can also hold onto a perk selection for later when you reach the requirements for one you really want. I like that choice.

So how does the game look?


The graphics are excellent. Its a vast improvement over previous Elder Scrolls entries and the more recent Fallout series. From the changes in weather to how the rivers flow, to the animations of the people and monsters.....they done good here!

Speaking of people. It was well known that the people you encounter in the prior games looked...well....'off'. Like "I took a doody in my pants" off. 'Tethered Swimming for gym class' off. Well they don't look bad anymore. They look much better!

 See? Dramatic improvement. Even the enemies of the game look this good.

Burn you fucking Ice Troll! I hate Ice Trolls!

And I will say that while the enemies don't scale in difficulty with your level progression Bethesda has put some beasties in this game that will kick your ass all over the place. Yes you will be a bad ass and murder bandits and wolves and giant spiders at higher levels.....but then you run into the terrors of Skyrim. No, not the dragons.....

"Its Mr. Honey Badger to you little man!"

The giants are the total bad asses of the realm. I've watched them beat the shit out of dragons, while on fire, and then go rampaging into a bandit stronghold for a murder spree just because one farted in their direction. The giants are uncaring beasts. They will kill you. Alot. And they don't give a damn what you do to them cause they won't stop.

I will also mention that the sound design is great, the score is epic, the voice acting is great. It has to be when Max Von Sydow (The Exorcist, Dune, The Seventh Seal, Ice Pirates...yeah no shit) is in the cast. So is Christopher Plummer, Joan Allen and Wonder Woman herself Lynda Carter.

The game also handles well. I don't have any problems with the control set up. Everything is really responsive with the only lag really showing up when the game auto saves. Speaking of that the game will do that frequently but it is highly advised you save multiple times of your own accord so if you screw up doing something you can go back and try again without losing a ton of progress.

I also have to give props to Bethesda for getting all of this content on 1 disc. One. Uno. The game is streaming info in the background constantly and its pretty damn smooth. I can only guess which dark force they struck a deal with to accomplish it.

So I have to say this is a worthwhile game. Its worth a purchase. Don't GameFly this. BUY it! Its a no brainer that you won't regret. But there is one glaring problem I have with the game.....

...getting my wife to stop playing and go to bed so I can get another crack at terrorizing the country side with my Orc Battle-Mage member of The Dark Brotherhood assassin's guild.