YAB Review: "Skyrim," The Latest Game In The Elder Scrolls Series

Today’s post comes to us from Julia, our resident Youth Advisory Board gamer. She’s been immersed in “Skyrim,” the latest edition in the Elder Scrolls game series. To her, it’s the best video game of the year. She’s explains how and why it succeeds for a diverse group of gamers…

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YAB Review: Skyrim

What was the biggest draw?

All my friends were talking about “Skyrim” even before it came out. Even some of my friends who normally never play video games posted facebook statuses about it. That made me curious if it would live up to the hype.

How’d you get the game?

I found it on Amazon.

What’d you expect going in? How much did you know beforehand?

I didn’t really know that much about the game, other than it is a role playing game (RPG) that takes place in a medieval world. I had played “Oblivion,” which was the proceeding game in the Elder Scrolls series, so I knew that it would be an “open world” RPG that lets the player choose to spend time following a main quest, doing side quests, or just exploring.

Describe the set up…

Like previous Elder Scrolls games, “Skyrim” is set in a vast medieval kingdom. Almost every aspect of the player’s experience is customizable, from the character’s gender, race, and appearance, to what quests to undertake. The story begins with your character on their way to be executed for being mistaken for a member of the rebel group the Stormcloaks. Right as the executioner is about to cut off your head, a ferocious dragon attacks. This allows your character to escape with either a member of the rebel Stormcloaks or an Imperial soldier. With a civil war consuming the land, the side to which you swear allegiance to affects the quests you go on and the eventual ending of the game. After fighting off another dragon, you learn you are the last Dragonborn, a dragon hunter who can defeat Alduin, a dragon god of destruction that will eventually destroy the world.

Although the main plot-line is an important aspect of the game, it’s not necessary to complete it. “Skyrim” is non-linear, and a player can spend many hours exploring, crafting new items for characters, completing side quests, and developing skills without ever touching the main quest-line.

The world of “Skyrim” is filled with interesting characters who are glad to tell you their life stories, and traversing the world is fun on its own. One of my favorite parts of the game is stealing from a variety of locations, such as pubs, castles, shops, and, of course, stables, because horses are expensive. Just like in the real world, you can get caught, but you can always bribe a guard to let you off with a fine.

When you are ready to battle, there are many options outside of the main questline. You can join various guilds, including a group of mercenaries, a mage guild, and a mysterious group of assassins called The Dark Brotherhood. These groups all contain unique settings, characters, and quest-lines. You may be sent to battle a ferocious dragon, assassinate a target, or kill a bandit king. The game’s combat system is not out of the ordinary for an action RPG, but unlike in traditional games where you choose a class, you can combine abilities to create a unique character that suits your play style. My character uses elemental and healing magic, but also is a powerful warrior and a skilled blacksmith. This keeps combat interesting, even in a game that can last hundreds of hours.

How’d it look? Any advertising?

Skyrim Scene“Skyrim” features top-notch graphics, and every detail of its medieval world looks realistic. One of the game’s best features is the variety of environments to explore. As your character traverses the vast world of “Skyrim,” you’ll encounter snowy mountains with dynamic snowfall, meadows filled with various plants and animals, dark and foreboding dungeons, and charming villages. Even the interiors of the buildings reflect their functions and look unique. The pubs are filled with bottles of alcohol, bread, and even a guest room where your character can spend the night. Whiterun Castle looks majestic from the outside, but it is also furnished with ornate decorations and hosts a variety of servants who interact with your character. The realistic world of the game makes it all the more engrossing, and it’s one of the features that makes “Skyrim” so addictive.

Bottom line, what’d you think?

“Skyrim” is probably the best game of the year, and certainly the most addictive one. It’s vast and gorgeous world, customizable characters, and the sheer number of plot-lines to follow makes it immersive and keeps players coming back for more. Unlike other RPGs, it’s unique combat system keeps it from getting boring, and the variety and realism of its environments keep it from feeling repetitive. “Skyrim” is the best open world RPG on the market as of now, and I’d recommend it to anybody, even people who usually don’t play video games.

About Julia

JuliaJulia is a freshman in high school in Claremont California. A self proclaimed Otaku (anime obsessive person) she strives to complete her immersion into the world of Japanese pop culture. In between school and homework she watches the latest Japanese anime on the internet, reads manga, plays video games, and practices Japanese. Though she is not a fabulous writer by nature, Julia does enjoy writing fan fiction related to said interests and occasionally immersing herself in online role-play sessions. In addition, she loves mashing up anime and game clips into anime music videos which she posts on YouTube, participating in her school’s debate team in novice LD, and of course reading. Julia is incredibly excited to be on the Youth Advisory Board, and able to express her opinions, which she has plenty of.

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