Review: Skyrim rolls a twenty, crits your weekend plans

Not only did it cancel your plans, it called in sick for you and brought you your slippers. Skyrim puts the game back in roleplaying in the latest “Elder Scrolls” title.

Prior experience not required. Even if you have never played (or didn’t care for) the previous four titles in the series, Skyrim is highly accessible to both the seasoned roleplaying game fan and new player alike. It wastes no time drawing you into the story and rich world, easing you into game controls and character creation along the way. It is instantly interesting and difficult to put down, setting a new standard for what an engrossing game should play like.

Like the preceding Elder Scrolls titles, the story, world and flow of game is highly dynamic and open ended. The core storyline drives just a few of your objectives and encourages you to explore and make your own agenda. Even the main story content itself adjusts and adapts to your choices – making no two players game experiences alike. Case in point: both my wife and I started new games individually and had a different gameplay experience. The dialog and even a few of the characters you’d interact with first changed.

Where Skyrim succeeds the most, though, is in the fun factor. It’s one thing to hand the reigns over to the player in an open-ended world, but another to make it actually fun. The places, people, landscapes and dungeons are memorable. Character development is smooth and well thought out. Progression is anything but a grind, and rewards you for simply doing what you want to do. Favor a sword and shield? Put one on and go. Prefer to sneak and dispatch your enemies from the shadows? Just do it. Dabble in spellcraft, but want to blacksmith? No problem.

One more thing – you’ll be playing this RPG with the sound on. The ambient sounds, effects and musical score are a knockout. Look for this title in the “game of the year” section of your favorite gaming magazine soon. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an pesky ice troll to settle a score with….

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