The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was one of the best action RPG experiences during this console generation. Throw in the gigantic open world that offers dungeons, towns, and a great storyline and the series has players waiting anxiously for the upcoming Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Skyrim has been in development since the team finished their work on Fallout 3 in 2008, and it shows. The game looks absolutely fantastic. The level of detail put into everything within the game world makes it one of the best looking open world games to date. This is all due to the in-game engine known as the Creation Engine, which was built for this game specifically. While walking around the map you will see lush landscapes teaming with life. You will also notice fine details like butterflies fluttering about or trout swimming upstream.
Not all animal life is in it to attack you immediately either, that is unless you provoke them, the two creatures we saw were mastodons and giants. This does not mean that there aren’t any big enemies that you will encounter that will attack you on sight. In fact one of the main draws of Skyrim is the ability to fight dragons. Whether it be the typical fire-breathing dragon or an ice-breathing dragon, these huge monsters offer a major challenge to the player.
Just as in previous Elder Scrolls titles you can pretty much traverse to any area in the map, including the highest mountains in the title. It is always nice to have the entire map at your disposal from the very beginning of the game. Another huge bonus of the map itself, is the amazing draw distance in the title; you can literally see as far as your own eyes could.
In Skyrim you once again have the opportunity to play in either first person or third person mode. A huge emphasis has been placed on third person in this game, and it is a huge upgrade of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
The game let’s you “be the player you want to be”, allowing for enormous amounts of customization to make the exact character you would like. Not only can your equipment be interchanged on the fly, but also your magic as well. If you want to carry a staff and a sword then you can; the options are endless. Along with the dual-weapon wielding, magic has taken this approach as well. You can now hold a spell within each hand and cast them individually, or combine them for a much more damaging effect.
A new addition in the abilities department is known as “Voice Shouting”. You can learn many of these abilities as you progress through the game. One of them is able to send your enemies flying back from the power of your voice. Another even lets you breathe fire just like a dragon.
Stones known as Guardian Stones have been placed around the world of Skyrim and have replaced the Birthsigns used in Oblivion. Picking a specific stone will help you level up in certain areas. They can be switched around at any given time, allowing you to shape your character even further to your liking.
As in previous Elder Scrolls titles there are a large amount of dungeons for you to explore as a player, and Skyrim is no exception. There will be over 150 different hand-crafted dungeons placed all over the map for you to explore. These not only provide you a great place to level up, but also the opportunity to find some great loot.
NPCs will live out their lives regardless if you are there or not, including working at their jobs. But you can also have a job now as well to make some extra money, this includes chopping wood or working at a blacksmith.
Easily one of the best titles shown at E3, Skyrim will offer hours of gameplay, huge amounts of content, and an amazing and history rich world to explore. The game is set to release 11/11/11, be sure to pick it up.