Memo to everyone: I did NOT finish Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
I poured over 27 hours into the campaign - no sidequests - and have
only completed a quarter of the game, based on other reviewers' reports.
This is not a review, but an impression. A huge impression that if it
was any other game, it would have been a full-fledged review.
Developed by Bethesda Game Studio and published by Bethesda Softworks, Skyrim is an all-encompassing role-playing game set in the land of Skyrim, a mythical land north of Oblivion, which was featured in the previous Bethesda/2K offering, Oblivion. Your adventure, however, starts off with you, your hands bound and heading forth to be executed. You learn the backstory of your demise throughout the game. As you are about to be ended, a huge dragon interrupts the party and gives you precious moments to escape. From there, you will find yourself on a quest to find out why dragons are mysteriously reappearing and set out to slay every last one of them.
What makes Skyrim a true gem is - the depth. You don't have vehicles, per say, though you have access to horses and fast travel, so most of your traveling around Skyrim is done with Tom and Jerry. You have a limited amount of slots to store items you retrieve and unlike Oblivion, you can still move being overloaded, but you move painfully slow and can't run. You do have a servant of sorts who is "sworn to carry your burdens" and acts as portable storage. My partner in crime is named Lydia. Not sure if your companion goes by other names - I selected a male Redguard and was assigned Lydia, a female soldier - so I'll refer to your companion as "your companion."
The story is a detailed one. You travel across Skyrim, battling dragons and searching for clues to their sudden reappearance. You are dragonborn - you have the power to slay dragons and absorb their lifeforce when they die. And you slay more and more dragons, you learn more and more of their shouts. Theses shouts include lightning fast sprinting, a shout that knocks soldiers on their duff and several others.
Your powers are vast - you don't choose a character class and can choose upgrades that enhance you in areas, such as health, magika and stamina. You can learn experience points throughout the game by performing tasks while you are on mission. Seek up on your enemy without being detected earns you experience points. Take a mean lick from someone? You can earn armor points.
The graphics are stunning. When you stop your character in the valley near Whiterun and pan your character around, you will feel the vastness and expanse of the mountain range. You will marvel at seeing a bee hover close to you.
Lastly, for this impression, I've been asked this repeatedly - is it worth $60. I have spent 27 hours playing this game. I didn't have an issue aside from a slight freeze when saving early on during the game. I didn't install the disk - I played it from the DVD without a single issue.
Look for my full review of Skyrim early next week.
Thanks for tuning in! Here's my unboxing on YouTube of the regular edition of Skyrim.