Platform: PLAYSTATION 3 (PlayStation 3)
The next chapter in the highly anticipated Elder Scrolls saga arrives from the makers of the 2006 and 2008 Games of the Year, Bethesda Game Studios. Skyrim reimagines and revolutionizes the open-world fantasy epic, bringing to life a complete virtual world open for you to explore any way you choose.
The Empire of Tamriel is on the edge. The High King of Skyrim has been murdered. Alliances form as claims to the throne are made. In the midst of this conflict, a far more dangerous, ancient evil is awakened. Dragons, long lost to the passages of the Elder Scrolls, have returned to Tamriel. The future of Skyrim, even the Empire itself, hangs in the balance as they wait for the prophesized Dragonborn to come; a hero born with the power of The Voice, and the only one who can stand amongst the dragons.
Review Game: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
This review is a PERSONAL OPINION, nothing more. I do not claim that what I write here is gospel, simply the view of this game from a hardcore PC gamer perspective.
First off, lets get the cons out of the way. For fellow PC gamers out there looking for amazing graphics and a smooth game, look elsewhere. This is a direct console port, complete with keys that can’t be remapped, a horrible console UI, mouse behaves very weird, and it does not take advantage of the much more powerful PC equipment at all. I hope that future patches fix this, but for 60$, the same amount of attention should have been paid to my version of the release as all the console gamers.
I look for immersion when I play a game, and unfortunately the constant, never ending reminders that this game was made for consoles constantly pull me out of the enjoyment of this game. It is most frustrating that the MOUSE cursor moves very strange. How can you make a game for a PC and not even address that? Also, every menu has the usual consolitis problem of having the proper button to press in the lower part of the screen. You can, fortunately, ignore this and use your mouse and the escape button to navigate around, but it is just another indicator that this game is optimized for a small, weak console system. The menus are all console menus. They look very weird and are very, very dumbed down compared to what is usual for a made-for-PC game. This is very unfortunate, considering TES was originally designed for the PC. I have to admit I was caught very offguard and I really, really wish that I would have waited to read some reviews before buying this game. It is very jarring and unnatural when I have to change gear, and just goes to further alienate me from the game world. On that note, this is the first RPG I’ve ever played without a paper doll equipment system. The only way you know something is equipped is by the arrow next to the equipment. Very simple system, like it was created by a 6 year old for 4 year olds.
For all the fanboi’s out there raving about the graphics, I can only assume you played this on a console and aren’t used to what a PC can do. I have a pretty powerful computer I made myself, and I’m used to games that are damn near photo-realistic. Skyrim looks like an upgraded Oblivion engine, no more. Graphics are somewhat dated. However, the scenery is very beautiful. Looking at mountains in the distance is breathtaking. It isn’t until you get close to people and monsters that you notice this game is clearly, once again, optimized for very low end machinery. There is not too much difference in the way this game looks between medium and ultra, sadly. There are plenty of graphics options, but they don’t really appear to change much.
Sound- I am on a 7.1 surround system with a Creative X-Fi card, and it does not sound very good. Not what I was expecting at all. However, it does sound a lot better when I put on headphones. This game was optimized for TV speakers and headphones I suspect. Just another indicator that ZERO thought was put into the PC version. They did the ABSOLUTE minimum to get it to work on a PC and left it that.
Stability – This game crashes a lot. I expected it to though. Those of you who played Morrowind and Oblivion recall that they also crashed a lot until they released a few stability patches. make sure you save before looting. Which brings up a another peeve….you can’t name your saves. SERIOUSLY? This is supposed to be a damn PC game, or at least that is what I bought…it said PC-DVD. Again, it was made for consoles, not PCs.
Ok, that was the bad, and there was a lot of it. Now for the good.
This game is fun. No, it isn’t perfect, but it is fun, and in the end that is all a game is meant to be. Graphics aren’t everything, neither are menus, sound, etc. I am having fun playing it. There are a lot of annoying things about it, and it isn’t as great as it could be. But it is fun. Definitely worth playing through, and if you happen to own an Xbox or PS3, I would recommend playing on those systems instead of the PC. For you PC gamers out there, I would recommend waiting to buy this until they have released a few patches. For you purists out there like myself, I would recommend waiting until they release a PC UI and fix the vertical mouse problems. If they don’t ever do this, you might want to wait for another PC-RPG. Unfortunately, you might be waiting a while, as the money is definitely in the 13-16 console crowd.
As mentioned, the scenery from a distance is quite beautiful. Combat is fine, nothing to write home about. Those of you looking forward to getting into the nuts and bolts of the TES universe, and making your own spells and such are going to be disappointed, unfortunately. I however, don’t miss that one bit. I like learning a spell and that’s that.
It is somewhat disconcerting to play in 1st person mode and have no body, which creates a weightless feeling, so that somewhat detracts from the combat, but you get used to it after a few hours.
In my opinion, the side quests are more fun that the Oblivion ones. The world is also less cookie cutter. Everything doesn’t feel exactly the same.
In the end, I would recommend buying this NOW if you are a console gamer. I would recommend waiting for Christmas sales if you are a PC gamer, and wait and see if they are going to fix the many PC problems.
*edit* For you fellow PC gamers out there, TES games traditionally have an active mod community. Someday soon all the gripes in this review will be fixed, either by Bethesda in official patches, or by fan made mods. There are a few fixes out now, but they require editing your .ini files and playing with some other settings. Depending on your comfort level with computers, you may find these fixes easy, hard, or impossible. Proceed at your own risk.