I saved the world.
This seemingly epic conclusion is the common and stereotypical ending to a vast number of video games in the industry today, spanning all sorts of different genres. These grand adventures are no doubt all high octane thrill rides, giving you the pleasure of slaying an entire race of evil alien scum, defeating an immensely powerful overlord attempting to overthrow the entire world, or even seeking vengeance and revenge on the very gods that control the fate of the universe (cough). Many of these games are special, one-of-a-kind experiences that have been outrageously popular, selling millions of copies. Why is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim any different than all of these other great games? A lot of games have endings that blow you out of the water; Skyrim, on the other hand, focuses on the experiences of the player throughout their entire adventure. When I finished Skyrim I didn’t feel like I had saved the world; I had created the world.
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios | Platform: PC, PS3, 360 | Release: November 11th, 2011 | Genre: Action RPG
What Todd Howard and the team at Bethesda have put together is quite simply the best journey that I have had the pleasure of embarking on in a video game. I’ll try to keep this fairly short and sweet but, as many of you all know, Skyrim isn’t all that short of a game by any means. Skyrim was the first game that I found myself so thoroughly invested in that I wanted to get all of the achievements, which says something in and of itself. Concluding my epic adventure through Skyrim’s inspiring and jaw-dropping world I clocked in at roughly 156 hours and 30 minutes. I have never sunk so much time into a single game in my entire life, a testament to the many thousands of hours that the team at Bethesda poured into crafting this masterpiece.
The thing that really sticks with me after spending so much time wandering throughout Tamriel is everything that I’ve managed to accomplish. I’m not talking about all of the quests that I’ve completed, the countless dungeons that I’ve conquered, or the many dragons that I’ve slain; I’m talking about what I have become: The Arch-Mage, Harbinger, Nightingale, Guildmaster, Listener, Dragonborn. Each one of these titles was earned through dedication and hard work which in turn shaped the rest of the game’s universe. No other game lets the player choose what he or she wants to become and just lets them go wild. Everything that I did mattered, was recognized, and influenced the ever-changing world around me.
This grand experience is a phenomenal philosophy to base game development off of; but, as we all know, it also takes many other things to back it up with. Bethesda has designed a very nice perk system that makes every level up feel like it’s the most important one yet. The world looks gorgeous with sprawling cities and massive backdrops. Combat flows smoothly, whether you choose ranged, magic, or melee. The soundtrack is fittingly epic and I’ll never get tired of hearing that “barbarian choir” singing along with one of the most familiar game melodies of all time. There’s a seemingly endless amount of content and features that I won’t go into but which all support the game and give freedom to the player.That’s what this game is all about: freedom. Skyrim drops the player right down in the center of this intricately created world and tells them to just go have a good time. Here are all of these things that you can go and do, places you can explore, people you can talk to, and amazing adventures you can make your own. Now go become who you want to be. This game isn’t just for RPG fans, by any means, and I would recommend it to each and every one of my friends. After all of my experiences in the regions of Skyrim I can full-heartedly say that I ventured, I conquered, and I created the world that I wanted to create.
Oh, and I slayed 7 bunnies too.
Originally seen on Game Informer