“The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” worth every penny

By Wesley Bauer | Opinion Editor
Magic, dragons and hours of adventure await players in the newest installment of The Elder Scroll series, “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.” Bethesda Software, LLC, an American video game company known for delivering incredible role-playing games with full character-customization, has once again outdone itself with this visual masterpiece.

In this installment, which takes place in the world of Tamriel, Skyrim, the game begins with the player bound and headed to his or her execution. Seconds before the falling of the ax, a dragon swoops down from the skies and begins to destroy the town. In the chaos, the character escapes and begins his or her journey towards learning the secrets of the presumably extinct creatures. As the game progresses, the player’s character learns of the god of all dragons, Alduin. No matter what path the player chooses to take, they all lead back to this final quest.

Similar to all of the other Elder Scrolls games the player has much more to do than play through the main story. For the first time in The Elder Scroll series, they may play a major role in the economy. This game contains several towns and factions that can all be interacted with, in addition to providing countless hours of gameplay, and be tampered with economically. If the player wishes, they may burn all the crops of the local farms in a region and send that county into economic disaster. At the same time, if the player is constantly interacting with the stores of a faction, they will improve economically. This economy affects what you can and cannot find in the stores of a county and how much they cost.

Although similar to “The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion,” this game has made many changes. Across the board, Bethesda has made huge adjustments while still maintaining a similar feel to the previous installments. One of the most notable features is the realism of the characters and how they interact with each other, whereas before, characters only reacted to the player’s presence when a crime had been committed in front of them or when directly speaking to them. In “Skyrim,” however, simply tossing a worn-out shield may cause two people to fight over the money they could sell it for.

Another area Bethesda has made realistic changes in is the very roots of The Elder Scrolls franchise: combat. Unlike “Oblivion,” where meleé combat merely consisted of slashing over and over until the enemy suddenly collapses, they tried to make the combat flow like a real medieval fight. An example of a new feature Bethesda added to fix this stale combat is if the player’s character is too close for his sword to actually hit the enemy, he will attempt to strike them with the hilt rather than the blade for a swifter, weaker blow. A popular combat characteristic from another successful game, “Fallout 3,” was also taken, where the player’s character will randomly finish the enemy off in a slow-motion killing blow. A highly anticipated addition to combat is the capability of combining spell and weapon combos for a greater variety. If the player wishes they may protect themselves with a shield while blasting their assailant with lightning or volley them with spears of ice from each hand. Although these additions may seem small, they change the feeling of the game in general.

With the all of the options for what the player can do in this game it is well worth the $60 price. “Skyrim” is not for people who want a game they can flip on and play for a few minutes. This is an intense video-gaming experience intended for the serious player. Bethesda has once again delivered a game that is worth every penny.