By Amber Riippa
If you haven't yet heard about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, crawl out from that large rock you've been under and listen up! This latest chapter in Bethesda Softworks' Skyrim series is an action-packed role playing game where you can fight dragons, join a guild for mages or bards, save the world, or just run around aimlessly battling mudcrabs, giants, bears, or any number of the creatures roaming the vast countryside.
To say the game looks breathtaking is an understatement; it received a major artistic revamp from the last game in the Elder Scrolls installment, Oblivion. In fact, the game recently received the Game of the Year award during Spike TV's prestigious VGAs (Video Game Awards). During its first two days of release, Skyrim also sold over 3.4 million copies worldwide.
What makes this game great aside from its sheer size and astonishing graphics is its innate ability to keep the gamer engaged for countless hours. It is designed to operate on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 platforms (basic system requirements below).
Skyrim is set in winter wonderland with pristine rivers and waterfalls, gigantic mountains, malignant landscapes, and it's covered from head to toe with sinister dungeons and bustling towns that you can enter upon will. After choosing from a number of preset characters or designing one of your own, you’re put into this world where the main object is to save Skyrim from the brutal and ever-rising dragon attacks.
But, you don't need to follow the main storyline right off the bat, in fact, Bethesda stated that you should probably branch out and do some adventuring before attempting to tackle it. Simply meandering around will present you with tons of quests and missions from weary travelers, guild leaders, or even from a book off of the shelf that speaks of an ancient ruin holding a certain enchanted sword.
In Skyrim, you can be a dark elf mage, sword-warrior of Nord descent, Breton assassin, an axe-wielding Orc... or you can even be a "jack of all trades," although, doing this might prove to be more difficult. The game has 10 races to choose from in all. After leveling up, the player can improve his or her health, magic or stamina. From there, it's all about the skill points. There are 18 skills in all, set on a grid of constellations; some of them include conjuration (summoning a creature to fight with or for you), archery, destruction (i.e. fire and ice spells), restoration, and one-handed (with blades such as daggers).
Skyrim is truly an experience to behold; we'd recommend it to anyone seeking to spread some holiday cheer (whether the person being gifted is an avid gamer or not). It is rated M for Mature on the ESRB ratings scale, meaning its content is suitable for persons aged 17 and older. Games that are in this category normally contain violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and/or strong language.
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