Overwhelmed with new releases at the moment? Quantum Break not your cup of tea? Telltale just not your speed? Well, if sprawling open world RPGs are what you enjoy, then look no further than Skyrim. Sure, the game is 5 years this November but that doesn’t stop it being one of the best games around and here are a few reasons why:

  1. You aren’t automatically the hero: The vanilla opening to the game has your character being driven to their execution after attempting an illegal border crossing. Your execution is then interrupted by a dragon and this sets into motion a series of events that eventually lead to you being revealed as the Dragonborn, an individual who can absorb the souls of slain dragons. However, you aren’t thrust into a position of power from the start; you build up to this discovery. This is exacerbated if you install the mod that includes a number of different starts, such as being a bandit, a hunter etc. The game is much more about discovering your destiny (or not, if you’re like me and complete the first quest and then just wander off into world) rather than having your destiny established before the game starts.
  2. There is so much to do: As well as the 100+ quests that you can undertake, there is wildlife to hunt, potions to brew, magic to hone, plants to gather, NPCs to murder. The world is a dynamic, living one and certainly feels it as you wander around. There are also 3 hefty DLC packs, allowing you to build yourself manor houses, become a vampire hunter (or sell them out and become a vampire) and discover the origins of the Dragonborn. It is easy to spend at least 100 hours in Skyrim without growing tired or finding yourself with nothing to do.
  3. There are so many ways to play: Skyrim doesn’t dictate how you should play the game. If you want to wield a sword and shield, you can. Want to sneak around with a souped-up dagger? Yep! Every way to play offers a unique experience and a near limitless skill progression system allows you change your play style at any point during your playthrough of the game.
  4. The World: Skyrim’s wiki is spread across 25000 pages and there are 820 books, letters and other written tomes within the game. If you want to immerse yourself in lore, you are free to do that. If you want to spend five hours chopping firewood, you can do that. The world is a sprawling mass of people just trying to life their lives and secrets to uncover. This is really why Skyrim is so good, because it feels like a real place. You can spend hours in the world without it really seeming fake.

So there you have it. Despite all the AAA titles coming out at the moment, Skyrim holds up as one of the best games that you can return to at any time. I wonder what Bethesda has in store, if anything, for the series…

 

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One thought on “Ben talks video games: Why Skyrim is still one of the best games around

  1. 5. It’s not stupid pricey despite having large, solid DLC. Twenty ameridollars (or, irksomely, twenty queenfaces). While it was more when it first came out, it’s a five year old game that’s well beneath the price it could command were it released today.

    6. Fukken mods. Mods everywhere. Dirty console peasants may go home at this point, but a lot of the fun I’ve had in elder scrolls games* has been with the help of mods, be they amusing memes, total overhauls, or new ways to play. The big thing is that it makes the game have a sense of community and continued presence that fire-and-forget single player releases lack. I can think “Man, the adoring fan is a complete twattycake” and then download a mod for punting him off cliffs. Even if I don’t actively interact with anyone, I can see that other players hold my view and have made mods upholding it.

    Which brings me to my minus point. The games have become less deep as time has gone on. One of the first things I did with Oblivion was mod in unarmed and unarmoured skills, because I wanted to play a brawler. Some bits of system streamlining are nice, some are not. Tweaks and system overhauls are things we should use, rather than enshrining the past – see my personal philosophy on beating LARP systems with a stick until they’re in shape – but I don’t like losing options that were fun, even if they were a bit underpowered, just because they were weak. Buff fists, pls.

    *I started with Morrowind. I’ve tried Arena and Daggerfall. They are not my cup of tea, though they may have been when they first came out, they don’t hold up as well. Yes, part of this is the graphics. That’s why I play Morrowind with graphical overhaul mods. Shit’s tight.

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