Review Roundup: Skyrim soars


In this video game image released by Bethesda Softworks, a Dragonborn hero battles one of the flying lizards in "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim." (Bethesda Softworks/AP)
November 11, 2011

For numerologists, 11-11-11 may have some sort of significant and mystical meaning, but for gamers of a certain slant, it’s only had one meaning for several agonizing months of waiting: Skyrim’s launch date.

And the sandbox to end all sandboxes hasn’t disappointed — at least, that’s what the reviews seem to indicate. The Elder Scrolls games from Bethesda — Skyrim is the fifth— all have expansive worlds, and the latest installment seems to be no different.

How big are we talking here? Kotaku’s Mike Fahey said that running from one end of the map to the other, straight through, took him a half-hour. The Nordic world of Skyrim still lets you scale any cliff or beat any path you want to, and reviewers have had a ball stumbling across the playable elements scattered throughout the game’s enormous world.

Gameplay, according to reviews, is superb, with a “deep combat system,” wrote Digital Spy’s Liam Martin, with new elements such as Dragon Shouts, which let you harness the power of the huge monsters present throughout the game. Gamespot’s Kevin VanOrd points out that skills actually scale up depending on how often you use them, so you get better based on your personal style of play.

In fact, the only downside that users and reviewers have reported is the same issue that tends to plague Bethesda games — Skyrim appears to be a little glitchy.

Bethesda issued a statement today on its user forums saying that it’s working on a solution for the Xbox version of the game, which, some users have reported, has had problems fully drawing the details of the game’s world.

“We’re working on a solution in the next title update for those who have installed the game,” an unnamed staff member wrote on the company’s user forums.

Over all, however, the game has a 96 out of 100 score on Metacritic from professionals and a 9.2 out of 10 from users, though none could have possibly played through the entire game just yet.

As The Escapist’s Steve Butts wrote, “reviewing a game like Skyrim is a bit like reviewing an entire grocery store on the strength of a single orange.” There’s just so much to do and so many variations of the game, that it’s likely that very few players will have identical experiences.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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