After about 40 hours into the game, I don’t think it’d be crazy, at all, to declare/claim that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the greatest RPGs of all time. Although I will probably be putting upwards of 150-200 hours conquering this epic, I doubt that much could dissuade me from this original opinion. Even with all the hype leading up to Skyrim’s release (usually not a good thing), the game has surpassed most peoples’ expectations. I would name it the greatest RPG ever, but frankly; I haven’t played every single one. In my opinion though, it definitely is the best, and believe me, I’ve played quite a few. It has cemented itself as not only a worthy successor for a storied Elder Scrolls franchise, but also as one of the greatest role playing games ever made. Here are 5 reasons of why this is:
5] The Combat
A huge improvement to Oblivion’s, Skyrim’s combat is masterfully implemented. While it’s not at the level of Dark Souls’ combat, it’s still one of the best systems for a first person RPG – especially one not completely centered on the fighting. Also, with vastly enhanced magic, and the incorporation of shouts, Skyrim’s combat is top tier. The magic is a much larger part of the game than before; it’s so fun to combine different spells, or two of the same spell to create stronger combinations. With the new leveling system, you can afford to delve into both melee and magic quickly, which adds a whole new dimension on how to approach combat. Also, the companion system is better than ever, with stronger companions than the useless ones in Oblivion, and a more streamlined system than Fallout.
4] The Graphics
Skyrim. Is. Beautiful. Even in a harsh world with disheveled cities and torrid weather, Skyrim shines through as a graceful and truly beautiful land. The graphics test the limits of the PS3/Xbox360 systems, and while having some shadowing and light issues, include some of the most breathtaking views in video gaming. Character models look much better than the silly looking characters of Oblivion, boasting the capability of having some very attractive characters. The animations are top notch, much more fluid than RPGs before Skyrim (jumping/running in any other Bethesda title). Also, the mouth to voice synching in this game is impeccable; they’re so much better than, say, super mutants in Fallout 3/New Vegas. All these things, along with amazing set pieces and effects (anything having to do with dragons), make Skyrim a gorgeously presented game.
3] The Content (Side-Quests)
As an Elder Scrolls game, ridiculous amounts of content is expected. Skyrim goes above and beyond this. Side-quests are interwoven so well with the main quest that it’s almost indeterminable which is which. These side-quests, the bread and butter of Elder Scrolls, have become far more interesting and significant than before. They’re incredibly well-written, each with its own unique twists and turns, none quite like the other. And the sheer amount of them just makes you want to exhaust every speech option with everyone and everything in the entire game. No other game has such a diverse repertoire of things to do outside of the main quest. Let’s just say that I’m 40 hours into Skyrim, and I haven’t even been to all the main cities yet because I’ve been so preoccupied with side-quests.
2] The Setting/Storyline
Without doubt, I can say that I have never been more encapsulated by a video game than Skyrim, and I believe that many others would say the same. You’re thrown into the game in a similar fashion as the other Elder Scrolls games, except with more urgency because you’re *spoilers?* TRYING TO RUN FROM A DRAGON! It tosses you into a world filled with deceit and tension, with more depth behind every single character. The world is far more rugged than Oblivion, and the monsters are tougher. Even worlds as disheveled as the wastelands in the Fallout series cannot even hold a candle to this game’s setting. Also, the way the factions are introduced and how they are slowly molded to how you perceive the land of Skyrim is unparalleled, and a testament to the game’s immense storytelling.
1] The Music
The music of Skyrim is the key to it being one of the most immersive games of all time. All the emotions that you go through are propelled by the songs that play, from the grand theme during dragon encounters to bards playing on lutes. There aren’t many games in which I’ll actually sit down on a virtual chair and watch a bard play for a couple of minutes. There’s only so much fear, joy, or "tense-ness" one can feel within a video game, but Skyrim does its best, and succeeds, in forging a great atmosphere for the player to experience. It is a huge improvement on the previous Elder Scrolls titles, which had rather redundant music, and is accompanied by other great sound enhancements, including the voice acting and ambient noises. The music of Skyrim certainly does its part, and is the number one reason of why the game will go down into video game history as not only a truly enveloping game, but as one of the greatest RPGs ever made.
cole on August 31, 2016:
what do you call a magic owl
Samuel Franklin on October 24, 2014:
You definitely hit the nail on the head with this page, these 5 things truly made the Skyrim experience for me.
Harel on April 26, 2014:
Calling Skyrim a RPG is probably the biggest mistake of this review (and also a mistake of o-so-many companies). Skyrim is not an RPG, don't let the "Action RPG" label fool you. It has nothing to do with a role-playing game.
Your role does not exist, you do not act out a character as you don't even have a personality. You do not have real dialogues and during 99% of the game you don't even have choices and what little you have changes nothing in the world. They do not have an impact.
And about the 5 points of the review:
It is terribly boring and simple. Skyrim's combat system is probably the easiest of the TES games. As for the new lvl-ing system: it has been also made simplier, requiring much less thinking and completely destroy any kind of chance of creating a style for your character. By the end of the original vanilla game you reach around lvl 45+ and this is without any kind of lvl-ing trick. Your skills upgrade so quickly that unless you want to waste potentional exp you will slowly max out most of the useful stuff.
Theres not much to discuss this. The game looks nice, nothing ground-breaking and straight out bad if you tried out any graphic improving mods.
This is what should make the game live up to its labal as an RPG but it doesn't. A bunch of missions without any real impact on the world with little variety (most of the time you just have to kill something), not to mention full of game-breaking bugs (as the review came out like 10 days after Skyim I won't considering patches after that date for now [not that they fixed everything anyway]).
The setting is nice, can't argue with that. The game has a great feeling to it but again, nothing ground-breaking. The story is okay, but once more: because you can't have any decisions about how it goes it has almost zero replay value, not to mention the main-quest line is very short and even when you finish it, its like you have done nothing. The world stays exactly the same.
Of course its nice, a company has to be a total failure to mess even this part up. The main theme is of course reused from the previous titles and theres nothing wrong with that. Its part of the series. The rest of the music is nice but the lack of variety is bad, especially when it comes to the bard songs.
Now after pointing out all the flaws I would like to say that I like Skyrim. It's a decent game, not an rpg at all, but a good action(maybe adventure too) game. I had fun with it, especially during the first time... actually with vanilla Skyrim only the first time. It does not offer much value of replaying it as I said. You will do the same mission in the same way again and again just you will fight differently based on your skills and perks, that's all.
But there is one thing that is truly awesome in this game and that is the ability to mod it to extreme ends like other TES (and Fallout) games made by Bethesda. And that's how this mediocre game becomes excellent. Thanks to a dedicated and very creative modding community this game full of flaws can become a true gem with challenging combat system, compelling additional story through quests and NPCs and much more immersive with lighting and weather mods.
If you primarly play on a PC and not afraid to spend a whole day modding a game, definitely get Skyrim and turn it into a truly epic adventure as now, more than 2 years after it came out, it reached the apex of its state.
Michael Gill from Philadelphia, PA on January 30, 2014:
I'm sold, I never played Skyrim but I will be tonight lol. Great hub!
skyrim is da best game ever on January 19, 2014:
This game was my first ps3 and my dearest game i never have hated it i just love the gameplay, story is semi good and its so beautiful game and the music is so well fitting
RParsons7 on August 24, 2013:
Good review. I agree with everything. There are a few disapointments to me. The compass, stuck right on your forehead it seems, ruins the view. I found a mod on Nexus to get rid of it until you press a certain key. Destruction magic doesn't work well at higher levels. Melee with smithing and enchanting and alchemy can make weapons way overpowered. The game difficulty settings can fix this however. Playing on Master difficulty is pretty fun and challenging. Could use more variety in enemies.
On the plus side the modding community is excellent and kudos to Bethesda for making the Creation Kit available.
grayfox on August 18, 2013:
great review andawesome game been i huge fan of the series and this one is over the top beautyfull!
SKYRIM DA BEAST on July 20, 2013:
read my name
Brendan on August 13, 2012:
I completely agree with the music and semi agree with the combat system. But for story and sidequests no way, they don't even compare to games like the Mass Effect series or Witcher series. A lot of things are taken from other games as well, especially the Gothic series. Morrowind is by far the best Elder Scrolls game, and if you are playing on PC you can mod the hell out of it to make it look just as good and play just as good as Skyrim.
Logan on July 08, 2012:
The music in this game is incredible, I agree. It always reachs it's huge swell just as I emerge to see the boundless skyline...
Cave on June 09, 2012:
I disagree somewhat with #1 almost completely since most of the music is identical to oblivion's and some even goes back to Morrowind.
Morrowind, I think, is a superior RPG
John Roberts from South Yorkshire, England on June 02, 2012:
Cesar, I see where you're coming from after clocki hours. Hopefully the next game will have a big difficulty ramp, no shouts and a much better story. All in all, it does have a lot of fun.
Cesar on June 01, 2012:
Such an easy game, with a bad story , and repetitive side-quest. But whatever, it is fun
UniqueRelic from United Kingdom on April 15, 2012:
I am going to be honest about Skyrim here. Don't get me wrong I love the game but I felt Skyrim let me down a bit. I loved Oblivion and I must say I prefer it to Skyrim. For me Skyrim gets pretty stale after a while. I am hoping Bethesda can regain my interest with DLC soon. And I agree, the Music is so epic! Voted up, nice hub :)
John Roberts from South Yorkshire, England on April 13, 2012:
I didn't know about Obsidian and F:NV, sorry about that one. Rage felt more like Two Worlds in the future with a hint of Fallout, and the setting in Borderlands. I still think it was the first few minutes that were good, but after that I can barely look at it. I can see why many like it though.
Davis on April 13, 2012:
I played Rage and I thought it was a pretty decent game, the story was almost a direct fallout 3 copy, and there could have been more NPCs, but it was ok. And F:NV was made by Obsidian, Bethesda just published it so it's really not them.
John Roberts from South Yorkshire, England on March 21, 2012:
@Chrystal - everything Bethesda does ISN'T great. I can understand South Park game being good, but this is from the guys who also made Fallout: NV (claiming to be a full game), and Rage (claiming to be a game). At least LJN aren't doing movie games any more.
Chrystal on March 20, 2012:
Skyrim is the RPG! Bethesda made a wonderful game and I cannot wait for the South Park game. Bethesda will make South Park the wonderful vision Matt and Trey have envisioned. Can't wait.
lyndanboi225 on January 29, 2012:
Wow great review of this game. I am a huge fan of oblivion but this game is so fun, that when I tried playing oblivion again it was boring! Cheers for the great review... and you should be Bethesda promotional leader because your amazing
theqwertyosc on January 21, 2012:
I hate to say it, but DO NOT buy this game if you have coursework/exams =3
Ttocs L (author) on January 17, 2012:
yep, even looking back onto it after a few months, I gotta say it's some of the most enjoyment I've gotten out of a video game
Zenonius on January 16, 2012:
Ya know, even though I haven't bought this game yet, I sure feel it's great one. I'll absolutely buy it when Iget the chance!
Ttocs L (author) on December 05, 2011:
Thank you John! Promotion leader... I don't think they even need one for the amount of hype they get for their games :P
John Roberts from South Yorkshire, England on December 04, 2011:
Only 5 reasons? There's a Hell load more as to why this game is the best! Just seeing Elder Scrolls on the box cover makes people slit their throats in this game's honour.
Great review - this deserves more views, and Bethesda should recruit you as their promotion leader ^_^
Ttocs L (author) on November 24, 2011:
Thanks! I'll be reading your video game articles as well :)
videogameviking from California on November 24, 2011:
This is a great review! I'm looking forward to seeing more in the future.
Ttocs L (author) on November 14, 2011:
Thank you very much :)
sumosalesman from Somersworth New Hampshire on November 14, 2011:
Serves me right for reserving Silent Hill: Downpour. Bah. :) Great review though!