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Enter the dragon

india Updated: Nov 24, 2011 19:00 IST
Nikhil Hemrajani
Nikhil Hemrajani
Hindustan Times
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Right off the bat, we want to mention that this is not a review of Skyrim. Easily over a hundred hours in length, it would be impossible to ‘review’ this fifth edition in the Elder Scrolls series so quickly. Here are our first impressions, based on our experience on the PC version.

The Elder Scrolls universe is set in the fictional land of Tamriel, which includes regions like Morrowind and Cyrodiil that were explored in previous games in the series. This new game is set in the mountainous region of Skyrim. The game’s basic premise is that the dragons have returned to destroy the world and it’s up to you as the player to quell the invasion. At your disposal are a host of spells, potions, swords, shields, daggers and armour.

You start the game by creating your character. You have several races to choose from — each with their own set of advantages and flaws. Elves, for instance, are better at magic but low in health. Imperial soldiers are great for running into the thick of things. If you spend enough time, you can also customise your
character’s looks.

Skyrim, like its predecessors, is a beautifully designed open-world game. You can roam anywhere you feel like — to the top of a mountain or down the rapids into a gorge. While the world detailing is beautiful, character animations feel rather woody. The game is also demanding in terms of hardware, you’ll need a moderately high-end system to get the best out of it.

But you’ll quickly forget any of these setbacks the first time you fight a dragon. The combat is engaging, and you’ll need to figure out a proper strategy to get out of the battle alive. It might seem crazy, but there are reasons to seek out dragons in the game and kill them: you absorb their souls and unlock special powers in the process.

But the best thing about the game is that you needn’t follow the main storyline at all. You can simply wander off on your own taking up odd jobs at local guilds. These can include infiltrating a nearby bandit’s den or recovering a stolen artefact. Completing such missions promises gold and better equipment.

Verdict
You will lose track of space and time in Skyrim. Its excellent storyline, detailed environments and intensive fights will have you playing it for hours on end. Newcomers may find its role-playing elements a bit complicated, but it’s easy to learn in a couple of hours. If you aren’t daunted by the idea of spending many late nights on it, Skyrim promises one of the best experiences you can have anything outside of real life.