SKYRIM an rpg you will love if you take the time to learn its personality. A personality of explore! explore! explore! Which after two years of playing I have found out is SKYRIM's greatest strength along with the other things your character does on their own such as blacksmithing weapons and armor, enchanting items with magic effects, researching alchemy for creating healing and fortifying tonics as well as toxic death dealing poisonous potions, reading books upon mountains of books (No you still cant write your own) which fill out the missing spots in lore and interacting with the world.
There is so much to do in SKYRIM its mind boggling.
Game mechanics such as combat have improved greatly since the nostalgic old days of MORROWIND. Not only can you block with a shield but you can stun an opponent with it and do the same with any weapon in your shield arm such as a bow. Its a lot of fun taking a non-melee weapon like a bow and bashing the stuffings out of my enemies as they stumble about stunned and confused. Of course it takes timing as well as stamina which is always being used up for such attacks. Another excellent combat mechanic are power attacks that can make a big difference when dealing with a powerful bandit chief or high level monsters like Draugr Death Lords. It always comes in handy to buy or with the alchemy skill create stamina potions once you have learned the recipe to use in battle to keep those power attacks going or at least to have enough stamina where the enemy wont knock you on your rear end creating the perfect situation to finish you off.
One of my favorite ways of dealing with enemies is to swing a burning torch at them and watch them go up in flames. This is great because it means my melee based barbarian character doesn't have to break character and learn magic to use fire which weakens enemies to physical blows. I just grab a torch like a raging villager out to burn the Frankenstein monster into a crispy critter shade of well done.
You can also attack on horseback which is done in a realistic manner with a sense of awkwardness since after all who has ever seen a jousting match where combatants felt graceful.
Kill cams add some eye catching coolness when killing enemies just like in the grand sci-fi b-movie styled rpg masterpiece FALLOUT 3.
Everything in the world of SKYRIM is lovingly hand placed allowing Bethesda to tell a story in many set piece situations like a husband and wife whose burnt bodies you discover outside their isolated cabin. With further exploration you eventually find out what may have most likely been the cause of their untimely demise.
The world is full of hostile and non hostile npcs and creatures. Just when you think you have come across something that is menacing and bound to attack it turns out to be the opposite as long as you don't get on it or their nerves. Enemies such as bandits many times will not out right attack you and will instead warn you to keep away which is a wonderful welcomed change from enemies that kill everything in sight.
It is this kind of depth and detail to the big and little things that make exploration mind boggling fun. It also why the shortcomings of SKYRIM sometimes stick out like a sore thumb.
On top of all this epicness we also have good the fortune to have the creepiest action packed as well as creative DLCs to ever grace an Elder Scrolls rpg with the HEARTHFIRE, DAWNGUARD and DRAGONBORN DLCs which add many new things to the base game as well as their own main subjects of building a home, vampirism and vampire hunters, things ancient and of long ago.
A few niggles do annoy me though for nothing is perfect except the journey to perfection-
1. Console based ui instead of a separate pc centric ui. I have tried ui mods all they did was make things worse with scripts that made the game ai spaz out and confused or just plain make enemies pause in place as if unable to make up their minds to attack or not. Its too bad I had such results considering all the hard work and unique design implementation that went into the creation of the ui mod I used.
2. Asinine quest design where the player is forced into very linear if not straight line to a and b robotic solution where the player has no choice and usually has to go against character to complete the quest. The quest with the shopkeeper's sister Camilla with the two admirers seeking her hand in love and the daedric quest with Molag Bal are two of many such quests where one or two more choices then the ones offered would have helped to keep to ones character.
3. Plenty of obvious bugs which could have been fixed like hunters in the wilderness who wont pay for items that are sold to them. When looting DAWNGUARD DLC vampires after killing them frequently the game will crash.
4. Audio glitches where I have to either switch to 5.1 surround sound or Loudness Equalization due to the original audio being too low or sounding unbalanced when not facing the source of the sound perhaps due to the center speaker missing in a 2.0 stereo setup. Too bad considering how amazing the audio work is in SKYRIM.
5. Timed exclusives for DLC. I can understand making money to keep things going but releasing a much anticipated DLC like DRAGONBORN during the Christmas season only for XBOX and having PC and PS3 customers wait until Feb is some lousy sales timing not to mention alienating long time fans on PC.
6. Having to log on to STEAM when I want to play offline every time as well as having to go online with STEAM at least once a month to be able to keep playing offline. I don't know why they couldn't have done it like GOG where the game is downloaded and that's it with no extra steps or having to log on once a month. Whatever happened to one time authentication then leaving the player be.
Even with these flaws and marketing missteps SKYRIM is a masterpiece that screams LOVE ME! AM HUMONGOUS!With open bone crushing arms and big crazed drooling smile upon rosy fossilised Draugr cheeks.