If you haven’t yet; you really should play Skyrim.
Few games will captivate your thirst for adventure as well as Skyrim.
Released 11/11/11 by Bethesda Softworks, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has seemingly endless replay value. I have been playing Skyrim on and off since it came out, and I still discover new lore and adventures with each playthrough; you might have to stray from the beaten path to fully immerse yourself into the world.
Skyrim is for just about everyone.
From experienced adventurers to those who have never played a video game in their life (looking at you, grandma) Skyrim offers an immersive world to explore and enjoy no matter how you want to play.
With a range of difficulties, new players can take their time figuring out what is going on with reduced incoming damage and increased damage output. For more of a challenge, you can set it up for a rigorous play through by cranking up the damage you take and reducing the damage you deal, making for exciting battles around every corner where every hit counts.
This range of difficulty is expanded upon by Bethesda’s support for the modding community. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry; we’ll get to it in a smidgy-widgey.
I say this game is for everyone, with an eye to the older generation, because it offers an escape from what is for most of us, a fairly mundane life. Particularly for older folks who may be spending most of the day on a TV broadcast, or having limited experiences in a nursing home.
Studies are finding that video games may even be healthy for older people for a number of reasons. Here’s one (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171206141648.htm) that shows how playing a game that involves running around in a 3D space can increase brain function.
We could do an entire article on the benefits of playing video games for old people, and perhaps we will some other time.
No longer do we have to be a scrawny little nerd or an old fart on a sofa; we can immerse ourselves in a rich world as a hero of the ages. Hurling fireballs or swinging axes.
How you develop your character; sets Skyrim apart from other RPGs.
Like most RPGs (that’s Role Playing Game) you make your character with a fair degree of customization. You choose the gender, look, and race. Your Race in Skyrim is the one thing that differs between characters at the start of the game. Each race receives a unique ability and has a different balance of starting skills. One race might have a knack for swinging around a war hammer while another might have a gift for sneaking around dark passageways.
No matter what race you choose, you are not confined to one play style or another, and that is what sets Skyrim apart. Most RPGs have you choose a class, which pretty much determines the skills and abilities you will have access to throughout the game. In Skyrim there are no class barriers; you level up whatever skills you decide to use.
This might sound like a simple and minor change, but it makes for a massive difference in how you build your character. Instead of getting generic experience to put toward whatever skills your class has available; you get skill specific experience based on what you are doing. If you sneak more, you’ll get better at sneaking. Pick up a shield and hunker down behind it while bandits release a barrage of arrows at you, and you will get better at blocking.
This simple difference in the mechanics of leveling your character makes for a massive variety of play styles as you build the character however you wish. Are you a specialized warrior type, more of a ranger with invisibility spells, or a jack of all trades using a different skill depending on the situation; certainly there’re merits to each.
Again, the range of play styles and character customization is expanded upon by the amazing modding community.
Dragons are not unique to Skyrim, I know, but Elder Scrolls V brings a certain flare to dragons in this fantastic adventure.
Dragons are at the core of the main story of Skyrim. The player is even imbued with Dragon’s Blood, a phenomenon referred to as “Dragonborn” in the Elder Scrolls lore. Only a Dragonborn, such as yourself, can truly kill a Dragon; because you absorb it’s soul when you slay it. This Dragon Soul unlocks special abilities called shouts. Shouts are words spoken in the language of the dragons, from fire-breathing to the classic force push to more obscure powers like becoming ethereal or calling a lighting storm to rage over the battlefield.
Not ready to fight dragons? Don’t sweat it, simply don’t start the main quest line until you are ready, you can explore the world all you want. After all, Skyrim is among the most ambitious open-world games, especially for its time. This means that you can go almost anywhere pretty much whenever you’d like to.
When you are ready, head on to the main quest, once you slay your first dragon, other dragons will start to show up in the world. Some flying overhead might take notice of you and an epic battle you might not have planned for is inevitable…well — you can always run like the dickens until it losses interest.
As you might have guessed, yes, even the dragons are more varied, challenging or rewarding by mods developed by this game’s modding community.
MODS! MODS! MODS!
Yes. You are looking at a man riding an enlarged chicken atop a mountain.
Ranging from silly and fun, to gritty and immersive; mods take this already incredible game to an unimaginable level of replay-ability.
They have mods for nearly anything:
- My favorites are the mods that make the game more immersive; by simple methods like making the storms more real, or adding grass, improving the snow physics, adding signs and extra travelers around the world.
- Alternative starts, for a fresh feel with each play through.
- Others add more immersive movement making momentum impact your ability to change directions or swing your sword.
- Added flexibility through improved skill trees, making even more detailed and diverse character builds possible
- More character creation options. Do you want purple hair? You got it!
- Cheats! Do you want infinite magika for casting spells? Perhaps you’d like your bare-handed punch to result in a fiery explosion.
This is only scratching the surface of modding capabilities, and while I know it’s tempting to dive in and start messing with all kinds of mods; I would encourage everyone to play the vanilla (unmodded) game first. Take your time and appreciate this brilliant game that Bethesda has put together.
For a 7-year-old game; it holds its own.
Written in a hurry by Goose Garzeski.
There’s much more that we could talk about, this article is a surface level look at some of what makes this game so fantastic.
With the next Elder Scrolls around the corner (still a number of years out) NOW is a great time to pick up the game; if you haven’t already.