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Review - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Well, well. After 3 months I've finally written a new review. It's not so good must say, I had some problems with formulating my sentences properly, I repeat a lot and it's once again much longer than I wanted it to be. Oh well, maybe it's because I haven't written any review since three months now.

Anyhow, here's my original review, and please rate it if feeling like it.

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"A gigantic world and lots of freedom are only a part of what makes Skyrim so outstanding."

Difficulty: Just Right

Time Spent: 40 to 100 hours

The Bottom Line: "Amazing"

I still remember the first time I started Skyrim on my PC as one of the first PC games I had bought. Quite some time has past by since I've done that. But no wonder, after being astound by the visuals, I found out what was so amazing about Skyrim: I had never seen such a huge world within a video game before. After the introduction and first few hours with the game I knew I wouldn't regret the purchase of Skyrim.

---Presentation---

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Skyrim gets a lot right, that's for sure. For one, the story is very entertaining and quite gripping. You play a character who was accidentally accused by the empire, which rules Skyrim, for belonging to the enemy (there's a war between the empire and rebels) and is supposed to lose his head. He/she gets saved by an sudden attack of a dragon, a creature that is actually said to be extinct, since the chaos the dragon causes gives him/her the chance to flee with the help of some other people. During the story you'll find out that the Dragons are back to take over Skyrim, and as it comes your character is the only one able to stop the evil dragons from mischievous plans. It's an exciting story that evolves in a good pace.

Of course, the main story is only the core foundation of what is to happen in this game. Along your way, choices you make affect the story a lot. Actually, you are the one who can decide how the story shall go on. While the main story will end the way it is supposed to end eventually, you may decide how your relation ship to different people are, are able to make crucial decisions that make one group of people to your friends, and another to your foes. And of course, you may decide whether you'd like to be on the good side, or the bad side. You even decide if you want to become a warrior, magician or even a thief. Skyrim has a lot of freedom where you self are able to decide what kind of person your character is, and are able to create your own story. With that said, while it is nice to be able to make such big decisions, the consequences of a few of the little decisions aren't always fitting. The majority yes, but sometimes the consequences of decisions you make are quite incomprehensible. Other times it also felt like the developers had squeezed in one or two too many different decisions to make, when multiple decisions had the same consequence, even though they were two quite different decisions made.

Another reason why Skyrim is gorgeous are the beautiful visuals. The many landscapes of Skyrim are beautiful to have a sight of. There's an incredible amount of details in the world of Skyrim, which can be considered surprising since Skyrim is so huge. Textures are also mostly good, though taking a close look at some objects might end with some unpleasant pictures. Despite some rather muddy looking objects, it's still an outstanding looking game. The same can't be said about the soundtrack. It contains some great tracks, but not very many memorable tracks. Actually there isn't a hell of a lot of music appearing in the game, a lot of the time there isn't any music at all to be heard, and it seems quite random when the music does appear, which does make for some unfitting moments of when the music suddenly starts to play again.

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By all means though, what really makes Skyrim so special is that it presents us such an lively, beautiful and exciting world to explore. The world brims of charm, the game represents so many different areas, among them very different kingdoms, so many different characters with personality and other life; it really is amazing what Bethesda has done with Skyrim. They have put so much effort into this game to really give you the feel you're exploring a real, huge world. Not unexpected, but unfortunately, there are quite some glitches and other issues that hold the world of Skyrim back at times. The misleading consequences are only the beginning of many little annoyances that ruin the immersion of Skyrim's world at times. Glitches like getting stuck in environments aren't too common, but they do happen. I don't know about you, but I do perceive it as darn strange when a Mammoth suddenly takes off into the air and lands safe short after the take off. Also, while many people in the game have quite some personality to them, I did encounter people who all shared the same sentences. Which isn't really anything bad, though it also seems very weird when over twenty guardians all seemingly have a cousin who is allowed to fight dragons, meanwhile they have to do their generic, average job as guard. Well maybe they all share the same cousin, an unlikely but still possible solution. Another situation that bothered me quite a bit was the one time where an old lady had died and was lying in the middle of a street. After I had once left and then come back, the lady was still lying there. But the stupid part is still to follow: Whenever a guard who walked along the pathway came along the dead body, he said something like oh geez, what happened here, knelt down, then stood up again and walked further on. After turning back and coming along the dead body, he did the same thing again. The chances you notice something like that isn't high, but if you do, it really does ruin a bit of the immersion of the world for you. The same goes for dead Dragon bodies, that like to lie in the middle of a way quite some time. Sure, this doesn't have to be unrealistic, but when people suddenly walk through the bones and pretend their isn't anything lying in the way, you do get an awkward impression.

---Gameplay---

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Despite my complaints about the presentation of the game, it's still outstanding in general. The same goes for the Gameplay. Right from the beginning you'll be involved in some great action, with battles that look and play great. The main Gameplay aspect of Skyrim is simply traveling through the world and finding all the different areas, always finding more and more content as if it seems that the game does not know what an ending means. And in actual, it doesn't. There are so many different places to find, and so many different missions to complete, that I hardly believe anybody really is able to complete the game with a 100 %. And even if you do have found all locations throughout the whole entire world of Skyrim (which, again, is very unlikely), there are still the many different attributes of your character that you can always improve until there isn't any more to improve. And I'm sure there will always be some foes to have a fight against.

Of course, the game would probably wear out sometime. The main reason why Bethesda had put so much work into creating a world as huge as the one in Skyrim isn't because they expected their player's to explore every single spot in the world, but that players get the feeling their adventure is taking place in what could be a real world, which also leads to even more motivation exploring at least a part of the present world. And it really works. Whenever I come across yet another cave leading into the undergrounds, it's hard to resist for me not to take a peak into the cave. And mostly it ends with me going through the whole cave, beating the baddies that get in my way and coming out with yet another completed mini-adventure that might even be very likely a part of an mission you don't even know about yet. And it's always good to find more and more places since you can fast-travel to any of these places whenever you need to. Also, seeing always more places popping up on your huge overworld map is quite satisfying.

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It's just such a huge map!!

The amount of missions is just as mind-boggling. Granted, I don't know how many there are in numbers, but I know there are a lot. I've got many on my to do list, I have done already a lot, and I'm absolutely sure I haven't even seen a quarter of the missions in Skyrim. The missions are also very varied. Find someone or something, bring an object to a specific place or clear off a cage from all monsters in it, these missions are varied enough and most of them are entertaining, at least the ones I've played. The game also always indicates where exactly to go to complete the mission, which guarantees that you won't be stuck on missions because you don't know where to go. That is, except when a glitch appears that let's the arrow disappear, which should normally indicate where to go: then you've got a problem. Luckily, this glitch is a very rare one.

Of course you've got the freedom and can mostly decide which mission you want to do and which not, except the missions that are required for the story mode and other missions that are part of another type of a adventure you choose to take. The freedom of the game really is an awesome part of the game. For instance: you get to make the crucial decision whether to become a magician, thief or warrior. To become a magician for example, you'll have to visit the magic academy, which will then start a kind of totally new adventure for you, that's totally separate from the main adventure, which will then confront you with many more, new missions that become mandatory if you want to end that adventure as well. It really is fun to decide what your character shall become, and to create your own story of your own character.

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Wanting to become a magician?? Then go visit the magic academy!

One thing I didn't talk about yet is the combat: a very important aspect of the game.  And it's fun generally. There are tons of different weapons, armor and other spells you can learn to help you in battles (you've guessed it, you can even make your own weapons and armor), and it's really fun using the many different attacks against your enemies, finding out which one's are the best. And combat is quite satisfying as well. No matter with what you battle your enemy, seeing him finally fall is pretty satisfying, especially when special death-scenes occur. Just watch out, as you never know if you're already powerful enough to battle against a specific enemy, or not. It probably won't always end good. Combat isn't masterful though. Without a lock-on system, it's easy to miss your enemy when in a steamy fight, which can make up for some briefly frustrating moments. What really can get a little frustrating however is when you slash right through an enemy and he doesn't take any damage. Doesn't happen too often, but the collision-system isn't always precise.

If there's anything I really have to complain about the gameplay, than it is the check point system. Since there isn't anyone, actually. The game saves automatically whenever you enter an area, house, cave or whatever. But otherwise, there's no automatic saving. Sure, I know, a proper check point system wouldn't be easy to do in a game like Skyrim, but always having to think of saving the game yourself can become a tiny bit annoying, and maybe even interrupt the gameplay a little bit. The real problem of this is simply that whenever you die, you get sent back to your last saving point. And if you have forgotten to save during a long period of time, you might just have to replay a whole lot you had played before. It happened to me once or twice and it wasn't a nice experience. Not at all.

---Verdict---

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an exceptional game. Exceptional when it comes to size, freedom, imagination and design. The main story will lead you through many exciting locations and moments, and it's only one little fraction of what is to be found in the game. But instead of just squeezing in a lot of content into a game without giving it a lot of thought and attention, most of what is to experience in Skyrim is a simple joy, with incredibly lots of content and lots to do, may it be exploring the huge world or trying to pump your many different attributes, and the game makes sure that the game still has a lot of content to be discovered after you finally get tired of the game. Put all remaining issues together in one game that mar Skyrim and you will be confronted with some of Skyrim's weaker moments not too rarely, but compare it with all the positives in the game that deserve to be mentioned, and the issues of the game seem undeniable tiny. No matter how long you expect the game to entertain, you'll be satisfied in the end. It is an everlasting game.

The Good

  • An absolutely gigantic, lively and gripping world that will always have much more content to be discovered than you plan on to discover
  • Huge number of missions with lots of variety, most of them entertaining
  • Beautiful visuals
  • Good main adventure that should keep you hooked until the end
  • A lot of freedom that lets you create your own story of your character
  • satisfying combat with many, many different fighting options
  • Overload on content that you will most likely never ever experience totally

The Bad

  • technical problems and other weird moments ruin a bit of the immersion Skyrim's world creates
  • automatic saving system barely even exists

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Review Score: 9.0

Finished Luigi's Mansion today

Finished it today, and I must say it ended up with quite an epic final battle. It's a pretty fun game, I must admit, and it's definitely clear what made this game so beloved by many people back when it was released, even with a rather short story mode and little variety. And I must say, it wasn't actually as short as I was expecting it to be. Took me about 10 hours, I'm guessing.

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I will try and write a review for this game as soon as possible, stating my full opinion about the game. Since I haven't written any review the last few months, I've got rather many games to review now.

Luigi's Mansion finally landing in my Wii!

So it's been over a month now since I've blogged here, and I haven't really visit the site during that time either. So I'm sorry about that, though I do doubt that anybody has really missed my blogs. Anyways, I'm back, at least for the moment, though now I've got holidays for 2 weeks, so I'll probably be active more frequently for the next few weeks, at least.

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So anyways, I've finally got myself to buy a Gamecube Controller, Luigi's Mansion and Super Mario Sunshine. And of course I've slid the Luigi's Mansion disc into my Wii already, since I want to finish it before the release of Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon. Unlike most Mario game sequels, the story in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon does seem to not pretend that the first game had never existed.

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So, my impressions on the game so far are quite good. For it's release time, and for the system, the graphics seem very good and polished. There's a nice variety of cool ghosts as well, each having a nice amount of personality. The core gameplay is also pretty darn fun. While it took quite long to get used to the controls (I wish pointing forward with the right Joystick would make Luigi face upwards, and pushing the joystick to yourself would make Luigi look downwards, and not vice versa), it was a real joy sucking up those ghosts, especially after I got used to the controls a bit more. The complaint of many gamers being to repetitive and unilateral hasn't occurred very much as well to me, since there's also a lot of searching in the mansion required. Sure, a few glimpses of staleness have appeared, I mean, there isn't very much to the searching but pressing the A-button when near an object to search for goodies, but mixed with the ghost catching that does contain some variety thanks to the different ways of beating the ghosts in battles, the game stays quite entertaining. At least until now.

The 2 boss battles I've encountered were also pretty cool. The first one was the better one of both, it was pretty fun and creative, and the Baby Ghost looked actually quite creepy whenever he started to scream, or whatever he tried to do. The second one wasn't as good, as it could get a bit frustrating when trying to aim at Bogmire with those ghosts sucked up to balls. It was still quite the epic fight nevertheless.

All in all I can say that Luigi's Mansion is quite good. Sure, it just isn't the same playing the game for the first time now and not in 2001, but it's still fun and I simply wanted to play the first one before I play it's sequel on the 3DS. I'm also a little mad at me that I hadn't bought Luigi's Mansion many months ago, when I was already thinking of getting the game and Mario Sunshine. But oh well, I just hope that the fact that I'm playing this game right before I play the sequel won't affect my enjoyment with the sequel.

New announcement from Nintendo: Returns coming to 3DS!!

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So at first I was incredibly excited when I read the title of the Topic, after watching the video I was rather disappointed. Instead of giving us a brand new Donkey Kong game, they rather just port Donkey Kong Country Returns to the 3DS and give it 3D graphics. I'm still hoping for an announcement of a brand new Donkey Kong Country game coming to the Wii U. That would be downright awesome.

Rayman Legends delay!

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I read this 1 or 2 days ago, and was shocked, disappointed and mad at the same time. My second most anticipated Wii U game, and after Mario Bros U's release my most anticipated Wii U game, has been delayed and removed to September. And it really is just because they suddenly decided to release the game on Xbox360 and PS3 as well. The big joke is that, a far as I know, they could already give Wii U owners Rayman Legends on it's previously planned release date, but instead wait until September so they can launch all 3 versions at the same time. I've lost a bit of respect for Ubisoft because of that decision, but worse, I've lost my anticipation for Rayman Legends almost totally. No doubt it will be a great platformer, and one that will show off the graphical possibilities of the Wii U as well as the Wii U gamepad's features, but having to wait so much more longer now really makes me quite upset, and until than, I'll be focusing way more on Nintendo's first party titles anyways, that they will show off during E3 and hopefully release still this year.

What a luck that I have started finding joy with Wii hacks, mainly New Super Mario Bros Wii hacks, so it's not like I will start to be bored because I don't have any new games to play until Dark Moon.

New announced Nintendo games!!

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Yarn Yoshi: Gameplay Analysis

So, a week ago, Nintendo had announced new titles coming for the Wii U, including a new Yoshi game, a remake of Wind Waker, a new party game, and a new Mario Kart as well as a new 3D Mario game. We'll see a demo version of some of these new announced games at this year's E3, though that's still a while. I just hope the new Yoshi game and 3D Mario game will release still this year.

What's your opinion about these new announced games? Are you excited for some of them?

The Hobbit

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So who else has seen the movie already? I've seen it now twice actually, once with my family and once with my friend. It's quite the epic movie, with amazing screens of the expanses of middle-earth, epic special effects, battles and other moments, and a gripping story. The only minor gripe I had with it was that it seemed a bit more children friendly than "The Lord of the Rings" movies, and the huge cliffhanger.

I couldn't tell you right now if it's up there with the "Lord of the Rings" Trilogy or not (or at least the first and maybe the second part), after my first watch I probably would have told you it isn't as good, but since I enjoyed the movie a little more the second time I watched it (I realized the awesomeness of the bad orc king Azog during my second time through) I couldn't tell you anymore, but anyhow, I'm really excited for the second and the third part. Too bad the second part is not out until the end of next year, the 13th December to be accurate.

First Impressions on New Super Mario Bros U

It's Awesome!!!

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You, know, after a fun yet disappointing New Super Mario Bros 2, this game is an absolute pleasure. It's fun, that anyhow. But the Level Design is so much more creative than that from the previous New Super Mario Bros games. Take the first level from Mario Bros U. Then compare it to the first level of New Super Mario Bros Wii. The Wii U version's first level has twice as much content as the Wii version's first level. And of course, this stays true with every level. Almost every level I encountered so far has much more content packed in, which of course leads too more secrets. Levels are also more varied and creative. It's not rich on surprises, but the way it uses all the remaining and it's few new elements makes up for some of the most creative level design I've seen in a 2D platformer.

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Definitely one of the most memorable levels of the game so far. It's design is outstanding!!

What's a relief is that, even though I'm at least 5 hours in the game, maybe even 6, I'm yet in world 5, and have just made it through the Boo Hoo section of the Soda Jungle. In other words, the main adventure isn't as short as it was in New Super Mario Bros 2. That is for one, because there are a few more levels along your way, but the main reason for this is that the levels are simply more longer and a lot more challenging. I won't lie, I'm only in World 5 and got to see the Super Guide Block two or three times already. But this challenge is more than what I hoped for, and I'm so thankful. Either it was some steamy situations in a dangerous castle, or a very complex Boo Hoo House that hindered me on pogressing for a while, but it always stayed incredibly fun. I'm even surprised that this game still feels challenging after I already had to fight with the first 5 worlds of Super Mario World. But unlike World, New Super Mario Bros U tosses enough 1-ups at you during your playthrough, so you won't have to constantly worry about going game over. Which I'm honestly thankful for.

A special praise must go to the Boo Hoo houses. After these were the only levels in New Super Mario bros 2 that really had me impressed by it's tricky and complex designs, the Boo Hoo houses in this game are even better. There aren't many, I've already mastered 2 Boo Hoo houses and the wrecked Ghost ship, and I know there's only one more Boo Hoo house to come, but the 2 Boo Hoo houses and the Ghost ship had some of the best designs of all the levels. And they were so tricky, especially the last Boo Hoo House I've encountered. I had to play it 3 times through, since the first time through I suprisingly found the secret exit (with a bit of luck), the second time through I finally found the normal exit, and the third time through I was able to at least snag one of those 3 star coins hidden in the Boo Hoo House. And I can't wait to return and search for those remaining star coins.

And then I'll say quick something about the bosses. As everybody probably expected, these are once again on the easy side (admittedly, Morton got me killed once), but that doesn't make them any less ambitious, fun, or quite epic; landing the third and final hit on these Koopalings is pretty satisfying. These battles are also more creative. Each of the Koopalings had some new fighting technique during the battle, may it be Lemmy Koopa with his bombs, or Morton with his gigantic hammer. The only time where I saw laziness scratch the surface was when I noticed that practically every animation or move from Larry was recycled from New Super Mario Bros Wii. But there couldn't be a minor gripe than that.

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Oh right, the visuals and sound: Visuals are pretty beautiful for the most part. Sound effects are great, music is also good, though I wish they had a few more new and a few less recycled tracks. You, know, I would have been perfectly fine with simply reused or remixed versions of old themes of other Mario games, like Super Mario 64, or maybe even Galaxy? Just not only from the previous New Super Mario Bros games. Good, I thought maybe they didn't do this because they were afraid the music wouldn't fit so well to the levels (admittedly, that happens insanely rare), so they didn't take any risks there. That was at least, until I noticed the underground lava theme in one of the jungles levels. It did fit pretty good in the end, however, if they try something like that then why don't give us simply some old classic music tracks from the good old Mario games like Mario 64?

Anyways, that sums it up for now. Hmm, wasn't actually as short as I was planning it to be, but who cares: I'm just happy New Super Mario Bros U doesn't come down as a disappointment like New Super Mario Bros 2 did. Oh and by the way, I've also tried the challenge mode, it's super fun, and incredibly challenging; this is what the real pros have been waiting for a long long time.

So, and now, if you'd excuse me, I'm burning to play some more of New Super Mario Bros U. I wish you guys furthermore Happy Holidays!