The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review

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What a wonderful world


The latest entry in the Elder Scrolls saga brings players back to the world of Tamriel, visiting the frozen wastes of its dangerous northern regions. Unfortunately, the winter wonderland is having a bit of a problem with dragons lately. Luckily, you're just the hero to act as pest control, as you're descended from the scaly beasts, giving you the power and potential to save the people of Skyrim - if you choose to. Skyrim's greatest strength is in the unrivalled freedom it offers players. It's role playing in the truest sense, with no set character paths to take and only broad directions to follow as the story progresses.

Instead, you'll spend your time enraptured by the world you find yourself exploring. A lot of developers talk of creating realistic worlds but here, Bethesda has exceeded expectations. Skyrim feels busy and alive, the people you encounter going about their business with or without your presence. Despite the frost-bitten locale, the environments themselves are rich and breathtaking on a scale previously unseen, with mysterious dungeons and keeps peeking out amongst the stunning wildlife.

Combat has evolved slightly from that of its predecessors, now catering to a slightly bloodthirsty crowd with execution animations but overall, the fighting mechanics remain simple and intuitive. Weapon-based melee requires some more thought as enemies are smarter, circling around to exploit weaknesses. But as your skills - weaponry, alchemy, magic and over a dozen more - increase with use, you'll find yourself able to craft more elaborate items and fight more powerful opponents.

Whatever you choose to do in Skyrim, whatever quests you choose to follow or alliances you choose to make, you can be sure you'll be swept up into the world while doing it and not want to leave - the surest sign of a brilliant experience. We're not sure if it's possible to create the perfect fantasy game, but if it is then Bethesda has come damn close to it.

See how Skyrim did on our list of the 100 greatest games.