Review by PokeyBanana

Reviewed: 01/04/12

Dreadful game

RPGs are my favourite genre of game, but The Elder Scrolls games always flatter to deceive.

Skyrim talks a big game, boasting of a huge open world, thousands of quests and an epic adventure. In reality, however, it's a mess of poor design choices, tedious missions, dreadful combat and more bugs than there are stars in the Universe.

Bethesda boast that the world in Skyrim is huge, yet it's filled with very little of any interest. A ruin here, a cave there. The occasional bear or wolf. Nothing very interesting. And since when is having over 200 dungeons something to boast about? Dungeons are boring, dark, samey places. They should have invested their time in creating other types of locations rather than make so many tedious caves.

The combat is horrific as well. Melee combat consists of wildly swinging your sword at thin air, hoping it hits something. Magic users will spend half their time roaming through their favourites list as they frantically try to change the type of magic they have equipped for the eighteenth time per battle. Stealth is fine until you're seen, which you will be every now and then for no discernible reason, in which case you may as well re-load as you've got no chance in toe-to-toe battle.

The game is utterly soul-less and devoid of any atmosphere. Dreary characters awkwardly make their way around the world randomly spouting the same dialogue for the billionth time. A lack of cut scenes or any cinematics at all coupled with the archaic game engine and silent protagonist mean the game lacks any immersion whatsoever. The game engine is particularly bad, at time you'll see the character you're supposed to follow get stuck in a door walk around in a circle. During conversations other NPCs will walk between you and start talking over the quest giver. Ridiculous. Bethesda really need to come out of the 18th century in regards to their technology.

The missions are terrible too. Go here, kill him, fetch that, come back for meagre reward. Repeat ad infinitum. Loading times are long and everywhere, and that's if they load up at all. Skills like Enchanting and smithing can be used to massively overpower your character to game-breaking levels. How this wasn't spotted I don't know.

Along with the Nords, bugs and glitches have made their home in Skyrim too. You can't go five minutes without a freeze, a frame-rate problem, a texture problem or a mission that can't be completed because of some silly oversight or confused game engine. It would be funny if you hadn't had to pay for it.

The best way to sum up how bad this game is would be to focus on it's main attraction. Dragons. The dragon battles are just as broken and tedious as the rest of the game. Most of the time when a dragon appears it simply flies around minding its own business as the player desperately tries to attract its attention. "Please fight me and give me your soul for my dragon shouts" you yell in vain as the dragon ignores you and flies off. Even when you do get it's attention, the battle itself is poor and uninspiring. Just randomly hack at it a few times and hope it drops before you do. A human (or at least an anthropomorphic animal) just doesn't work when fighting a dragon. It looks stupid and feels stupid.

This is a horribly overrated game and the only points I did give it were simply to acknowledge that Skyrim at least tried to be epic and offer a lot, although it certainly failed miserably.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Product Release: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (EU, 11/11/11)

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