445 of 525 people found the following review helpful
After the patches...,
This review is from: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Greatest Hits) - Playstation 3 (Video Game)
**update, March 16th, 2012**
So, I recently began playing this game again because, for all its problems, I still love it. My ps3 downloaded the latest 1.4 patch which seems to have fixed the game. After eighty hours of play with no lag it seems like the latest patch has made the game playable even after the save file is 8mb. Only twice did the game freeze on me and a glitch seems to be preventing me from finishing the Forbidden Legend mission which is really annoying. Other than that, the game plays beautifully, even after hours of continuous play. I decided to upgrade my rating back to the original five because, for all the problems the ps3 version had, this game deserves it.
*Original review with updates*
Before I begin, I should point that I'm still a recent convert to Elder Scrolls fandom, having never played Morrowind, let alone the two before that. In fact, I only played Oblivion for the first time this year. Oblivion was the first open-world RPG I'd ever played and was also the only one that took me months and months to get tired of, having little patience for RPGs longer than 60+ hours. Once I was hooked, I wanted Skyrim as badly as anyone else because I knew that even if it was only better than Oblivion by a factor of 1.1 it'd still be a godly masterpiece.
With that said, this will mostly compare the two, Oblivion and Skyrim.
For starters, the character creation is more stream-lined and simpler than Oblivion's while still giving nearly infinite choices. I admit the character creation in Oblivion was a bit of a joke since none of the races looked very appealing in the first place and looked more like rejects from a low budget CGI movie. The Dark Elves didn't look menacing, they looked like red-eyed Keebler elves; the Argonians looked like anthropomorphic iguanas and everyone else looked like dolls.
Skyrim's character's look real and beautiful this time, and fine-tuning their features is easier since all the slider bars go from 1-5 or 1-10 instead of a mind-numbing 1-50. Coloring your Argonian is no longer a chore that involves fighting with the color sliders every step of the way. If you want a rainbow colored Argonian you can do it. Eyes are no longer off limits either, nor are scaring or face-paint if so desired.
One big thing that may disappoint some is that they took out the birth-signs. However, it's still possible to have different astrological effects added to your character via stones that are scattered across Skyrim's landscape, much like the one's in Oblivion that could grant your character another greater power.
The number of skills has been reduced from 21 to 18. At first glance this may seem like they dumbed it down but they really didn't. Each skill has a number of perks that can be unlocked with every level gained. Such perks include reduced magicka cost on different schools of spells or the ability to zoom in on targets in archery. There are more than 200 different perks to be unlocked. However, since you can only unlock one perk per level and go as high as level 80 it's impossible to unlock them all. This will make deciding what kind of character you want to be all the more challenging since you can only specialize in so many things, unlike in Oblivion where you could make a cheap, jack-of-all trades character.
You level up as you increase your skills, just like in Oblivion, but unlike Oblivion you don't have to senselessly grind other skills to make a balanced character. At level up, you decide which attribute you want to raise, Health, Magicka or Stamina. Speed, strength and endurance no longer factor in, every thing is more simplified. Some may not like this, but I say less is more. You can focus more on game play and less on tedious grinding to raise all your stats like someone with OCD.
Here are a few example of how the new skill perks work.
One-handed affects both bladed, axe and mace weaponry. Again, this may seemed dumbed down but the unlockable perks in the One-handed category include skills like increased critical hits with blades or more bleeding damage with axes or the ability to ignore armor rating when using a mace. This way, you won't end up with a character that has high attack power with a sword but low attack power with an axe like in Oblivion. That seemed dumb! You can specialize in one type if you like and still fight effectively with the other type.
Want to do more damage with fire magic? Unlock a perk in Destruction that increases the power of fire spells. Other perk exist for Frost and Shock as well. Be a fire mage, or a Frost mage, or even unlock them all if you want! Just keep in mind that perks aren't free; what you specialize in effects how you play.
Unlock a perk in archery that slow down time while zoom in on a target. Bullet-time, anyone?
Smithing is also fun. This time around, equipment doesn't break down in the field. This may seem unrealistic but no more so than reparing your equipment without a forge! Seriously, being able to repair equipment everywhere in Oblivion, even in a cave, was silly. It's much more gratifying in Skyrim. Smithing includes smelting, for melting down ore into the raw materials needed for crafting; tanning for turning your pelts, the spoils of so many killed animals, into leather for armor; and forging, for creating your own weapons and armor. Lastly, you can also super-improve your gear and you don't have to have level 75 Smithing to do so. The higher your smithing the more you can super-improve weapons and armor, making continual upgrades throughout the game so a piece need never go obsolete, at least until you get the ability to make better equpiment.
Skyrim's graphics are a great improvement over Oblivion's already great looking graphics. Sparks will fly off in random directions from torches. Shadows, patches of light and reflected fire light will change shape with the ever dancing candle flames. Smoke from fires will be carried off in one direction by the wind, and the snowy gusts on mountains trail will look real enough to make you feel cold just watching. While in a cave, I came across a grotto with a water fall. I had to stop a moment just to look at it, it looked so real...
People in town and the city will get dirt on their faces while working and then later have clean faces when coming down from the day. Dust, snow, water, it all looks good.
While making my way through a cave, a saw the giant shadow of a bandit imposed on the wall as he stood in front of a fire. It wasn't scripted either, it was real time. That's impressive.
There is one annoyance, though. When traipsing about the wilderness, you can still see the grass grow in the distance as a new area is loaded. This is one leftover from Oblivion I could have done without. If anything, it's more noticeable because you're already looking at the gorgeous environments. I bet PC users with lots of ram don't have to deal with that.
People have more interesting things to say. Once, while using healing magic on myself on a bridge a passing Imperial soldier said, "practice your fancy magic somewhere else!" I had to laugh at that. Of course, people will still start talking some random sound byte like autonomatons should get even 3 feet close to them. Also, I was really hoping you could make your character get drunk somehow. What's the fun of having beer and mead if your character can stumble around!
The so called Dovakhin helm is actually just an iron helmet. There's a video on Youtube of "Dovakhin" in a bar but I've seen him, he's not Dovakhin, he's just some random guy wearing an iron helmet. Just thought I'd tell you that.
Fighting dragons is certainly more stimulating than closing an Oblivion gate. While I didn't mind shutting down Oblivion gates I could still understand if somebody told me it was tedious and monotonous. The dragons seem to be anything but. The dragons will fly around in circles for what looks like kilometers while you wait for them to come around for another attack. Sprinting from area to next, desperately trying to catch up with it while painfully aware of your own earthbound limitations really makes you feel like you're fighting a dragon. It usually has the upper hand and sometimes it's all you and the city soldiers can do just to wound it.
The environments in Skyrim are more fun to trek on foot since the world of Cyrodill felt relatively flat with civilization always in walking distance. Skyrim is a lot more rugged, and dangerous.
3rd person mode is a little more improved but you'll still want to stick mostly with 1st person. These games were just designed for 1st person and won't work better any other way. This isn't Dark Souls where 3rd person combat was intense and deep (and I had to make that comparison just to break the ice brought up by haters between both games. They are both great in their own way! They're also too different to compare. Please, compare this to another open world game) Using magic is a lot more fun since you can shoot a stream of magic until your enemy is dead. Shooting ice magic may as well be like spraying liquid nitrogen from your palm. And seeing your character use a finishing move against on opponent makes combat all the more fun. I swear that in those short cinematics I can see my Argonians fangs as he smiles or grimaces or whatever while shoving a sword through a bandit's chest.
The story is more interesting this time around. I praise the Elder Scrolls for creating a universe that is deep, well crafed and genuinely fascinating, but let's face it, the main story in Oblivion boiled down to nothing more than a few fetch quests and other easter egg hunts. Skyrim's story has characters that are remarkably deep, especially with the top-notch voice acting! This is a breath of fresh air from the typical stories involving moody, tormented emos with existential problems in other games *cough Fail Fantasy 13 cough* There's politics, religion, conspiracy, an ancient prophecy, and an uneasy desicion whether to support an empire or a rebellion. Do you support the empire, which has become the puppet of High-Elven racist supremecists who want to stamp out the worship of Talos, the patron deity and founder of the empire? or do you support the Stormcloak rebellion who want to preserve the worship of the cannonized god-emperor while paradoxically fighting the same empire which he himself created? Desicions, desicions...
And if the desicion which side to support seems obvious to you just keep in mind that nothing is black and white. The Empire only participates unwillingly with the High Elven Dominion and the leader of the Stormcloak Rebellion is no saint either.
The world itself has more detail. The Nords are truly what you would expect teutonic vikings would be. The Bretons are Celtic like mystics who are somewhat savage in their worship of evil witches. The Redgaurds are the Elder Scrolls equivalent of the Moors; a sophisticated, manly warrior race with curved sarasin sabres. The Imperials look more Roman like. Olive colored skin and imperial legion armor that looks like Centurian armor. They even have Latin ranks in the Imperial legion such as Preator and Preafect and Queastor. My favorite race, the Argonians look more dragon like while the females look velociraptor like. Nice!
The RPG aspects are phenomenal. Wether you're out taking in the gorgeous enviroments or walking around a city, quests can happen unexpectedly. And quests have their own story lines. In one town, I was running around, doing some detective work, interogating people, trying to solve a mystery involving some corrupt gaurdsmen and their connection to a resistance movement living in the hills; one of the players of this story was called Nepos the Nose (sounds like a Dick Tracy villian!). Then I got in too deep, got framed for murder, was sent to prison and had no choice but to conspire with one of the conspirators inside to escape. That was fun.
And Deadric quests are amazing. Unlike Oblivion where you had to seek out the shrines or cults and ask for a mission, in this game they have a way of finding you! You won't even know you're doing a quest for a dark god until you're already in! Then you have to make a moral desicion whether to go through with it or not but no matter what you can usually expect some kind of reward.
And that's how this whole game is. It's amazingly organic. There are so many surprises and points of interest. This truly is a Role Playing Game. Technically, those Japanesse ones I grow up on don't even count, not that they weren't good they were just stories on rails. This game is limitless, it will make your head spin. It makes Oblivion look small!
Be warned, once you start playing you won't want to stop!
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Showing 1-10 of 50 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 14, 2011 2:33:09 AM PST
Phil, Interrupted says:
You don't want your character getting drunk. [POSSIBLE MINOR SPOILER] Mine did on a challenge in Whiterun and woke up the next day in the Temple of Dibella in Markarth--oy vey!
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 4:06:08 PM PST
Son of Tiamat says:
Ha, ha! Yeah, I ended up doing that, too!
Posted on Nov 14, 2011 4:16:45 PM PST
Son of Tiamat says:
If I could add something to my reivew. Contrary to what I said before, you don't need to be able to make a type of weapon or armor to improve it. My character can't make Dwarven gear but he can improve it which is cool. Build up your smithing. The best way is to hunt animals, take their pelts and use them to make leather armor. That's the fastest to level up your smithing.
Posted on Nov 18, 2011 2:56:56 PM PST
Christopher Barrett says:
This was a wonderful review! I'm even more excited to get this game soon, though I did pre-order King of Fighters instead of this! (Whoops... though the 4 music CDs for pre-order tipped the bucket compared to the 'map' for Skyrim). Anyway, awesome review!
Posted on Nov 22, 2011 5:42:11 AM PST
A. A. Black says:
Very good review!!! Thanks for the lag issue resolution!
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 22, 2011 11:45:28 AM PST
If you want to level you're smithing the fastest way is by making iron daggers, just buy iron ingot and leather strips from the blacksmith and continuously make them, then just sell the daggers back to the blacksmith, got my smithing up to 100 in around 40 min.
Posted on Nov 22, 2011 4:03:24 PM PST
Adam C. says:
Just to add feedback and thank you for the suggestion, I found that turning off autosave on travel makes the game substantially smoother and load times particularly in and out of merchants much better. I almost dreaded selling stuff because it became unbearable to wait but now I think the game runs better than ever. Great news because I almost tried a SSD out of desperation. I have put eighty hours into the game btw.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2011 5:11:16 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 23, 2011 5:13:46 PM PST
C. hill says:
which is funny but hard mission nonetheless so when its lagging its saving that does make sense because i have it auto saving every 30mins so i'll turn it off however just to point out dying in the game is easy so if you dont save often like in oblivion when you will lose all unsaved data i lost 5 hours of data because i didnt save :(
Posted on Nov 23, 2011 9:21:14 PM PST
Energico Q8 says:
yeah.. about that stopping the auto save.. i dont recommend it as sometimes u would go nuts if the game freezes after u kill a dragon priest or going somewhere fast.
Posted on Nov 25, 2011 7:43:31 PM PST
Robert T. says:
I call that a broken game, not an easy fix. I refuse to stop playing and give the system a break because Bethesda couldn't foresee this as an issue and create a playable game.