Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Dawnguard review

Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Dawnguard review

T3 4
  • Elder Scrolls V Skyrim is the the massive RPG from Bethesda Game Studios, but is it big enough to steal headlines from Modern Warfare 3?

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Dawnguard review

    Love

    • Brilliant control system
    • Gargantuan environment
    • Great use of level-ups

    Hate

    • A few bugs and glitches
    • Dangerously addictive
    • Demands a lot of time

    Update: The first DLC for Skyrim is now available. Scroll down for our Skyrim Dawnguard review...

    There’s a moment that occurred in T3’s play-through of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that rammed home quite succinctly exactly how titanic the game is in size. In every instance where the player enters a new environment, they’re greeted with a loading screen displaying a picture of a new creature, or a new weapon, or a new artifact contained somewhere in the game.

    At the 48-hour mark, T3 was still seeing content we’d yet to encounter. After two solid days of playing Skyrim, the game was still informing us we had so much more to discover.

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Plot

    Anyone interested in picking up a copy of Bethesda’s new RPG should probably book a week off work. Skyrim demands a tax in the form of time that few other video games can match.

    Leaving aside the over-arching narrative, which involves a civil war ravaging the land of Skyrim and the return of the dragons against whom the protagonist is pitted, Elder Scrolls V offers players such a huge number of ways to interact with its world that it manages to capture their attention-span to a point, which could be almost considered dangerous.

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim:  Environments

    Skyrim is easy to lose yourself in. Players can spend hours, weeks and months exploring its vast expanse, finishing up quests, fashioning armour and weapons, enchanting items, mixing potions, chopping wood and even engaging in the odd spot of reading at the Winterholm mage college library.

    They can while away frightening amounts of time exploring the game’s huge environment, uncovering caverns, dungeons, treasures and cities. They can even, if the mood takes them, buy property, kit their house out with all the necessary features and get married. Skyrim works hard to both immerse the player in its gargantuan environment and make them feel a part of it.

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Level ups

    It also rewards the player’s character for this investment. Everything they do in the game earns XP and proficiency in whatever skills, magic and weapons the player uses the most.

    When they hit a new level they’re offered a top up on their basic capabilities – health, stamina and magic – and a talent point to augment the their skills. Naturally, they’re able to better improve the ones they’ve been using most in the game.  

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Controls

    Skyrim has been touted as perhaps the most accessible RPG that Bethesda has created to date. What this means to anyone reading this who isn’t already interested in the game is that it’s available on consoles for the great unwashed.

    For anyone who has played any of Bethesda’s other fantastic games – Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3 leap to mind – it means that the control system is as easy to use as it is intuitive.

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Menus

    Wll spend a lot of time in the game navigating menus, switching up weapons and magical attacks, looking at the in-game map and levelling up their character. It’s a testament to Bethesda’s brilliant standard of game design that the vast amount of items the player needs to easily access and the game’s combat system compliment each other superbly.

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Bugs

    The only drawbacks to the game are the bugs and glitches that step in the way the player’s progress. We can deal with the odd wonky animation or the rare occurrence where a misstep leaves us trapped in grotto in the game’s environment. The odd instance in which a quest in the game doesn’t function as its supposed to or a complete crash requiring a reboot is harder to forgive.

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Dawnguard DLC

     

    Skyrim Dawnguard is the first chunk of DLC to be added and brings with it plenty of new features including new weapons, locations and characters. It may have taken a while for the developers to come up with the goods, but it's certainly been worth the wait.

    The add-on gives you the choice between joining the Dawnguard collective of vampire hunters, or becoming a vamp yourself. If you're on Team Vampire you'll be helping head bloodsucker Lord Harkon to destroy the sun. If you're part of the Dawnguard posse - your task is to stop them.

    It may not be the most revolutionary DLC in the world, but more Skyrim gameplay can only be a good thing.

    Check out more Skyrim Dawnguard coverage from our chums over at CVG

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Verdict

    Still, in the light of Skyrim’s strengths, its weaknesses pale into near-insignificance. Bethesda are famous in the gaming industry for creating some of the best examples of the Western RPG, and their latest game can only further their reputation. Skyrim is a big beautiful beast of a game and anyone who can blag a week off work should certainly pick up a copy.

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim availability: Out November 11th on all formats

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim price: £34.99 on PS3 and Xbox360, £29.99 on PC

  • Read on for T3's Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim review, where games don Nick Cowen gives his verdict on gameplay et al. If you thought Battlefield 3 would steal your man hours, you ain't seen nothing yet  

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Dawnguard review

    Love

    • Brilliant control system
    • Gargantuan environment
    • Great use of level-ups

    Hate

    • A few bugs and glitches
    • Dangerously addictive
    • Demands a lot of time

    When we included Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in our round up of the games you need to play before you die feature, we knew we had every reason to shout about it.

    Three hours may sound like a fair chunk of time, but when considered in the context of a hands-on preview with Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, officially revealed at E3 2011, it’s barely the blink of an eye. Bethesda’s forthcoming fantasy adventure video game is epic in every sense of the word.

    The world it presents players is gargantuan, the characters that populate it are legion in number and the amount of time that could conceivably be spent exploring every inch of this game runs into hundreds of hours.

    Heck, you can spend nearly an hour and a half creating your character for this game such is the level of customisation on offer; forget which sex, species and body-type you’re after, you get to choose the shape, depth, colour and shading of each eyeball. The word ‘fetishistic’ doesn’t even cover it.

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: T3 warriors

    For T3’s hands-on, we created a female warrior bearing a striking resemblance to Grace Jones, and we were then ushered forth into the land of Skyrim. For those who don’t know, Skyrim is the northern most region of a fantasy world called Tamriel, which features in all the Elder Scrolls games – most recently in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

    Visually it looks like the wilder parts of Northern Europe, complete with undulating hills, fast-running rivers, snow-capped mountains and acres of pine forests. It’s hard to overemphasise how beautiful Skyrim looks, and the glorious visuals coupled with the woodland noises and gusts of wind on the soundtrack swallow the player whole. It’s a land that’s easy to buy into and even easier to become enchanted by.

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Plot

    As far as the plot goes, Bethesda gave precious few details away; we were told that Skyrim is set 200 years after the end of Oblivion and that players begin the game as a prisoner who escapes captivity. Also, in our hands-on time with the game, the three hours we were allotted meant that we barely scratched the surface of Skyrim’s story.

    In that time, we uncovered a couple of locations on the map and managed to complete one quest for a trader called Lucen in a small village called Riverwood. Turns out bandits made off Lucen’s most precious antique – a golden claw – and he charged T3 with recovering it for him.

    After a brief battle with the bandits in the hills surrounding Riverwood, we found ourselves venturing deep into subterranean caverns, battling first a giant spider and then a pack of walking skeletons called the Draugr.

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Combat

    The combat in the game is satisfying and easy to get to grips with. The right and left triggers activate an attack with whatever the player’s character is wielding in those hands – be it an edged weapon or a blast of magic – or allow for an attack with a two-handed weapon.

    Players can also head into their inventory, tag weapons or spells to ‘favourite’ them, and can then swap weapons and spells quickly and easily by opening a ‘hotkey’ menu with the D-pad.

    The controls and menu lay-outs are excellent; strange as it may sound to praise a game for its menus, it’s fitting here as in Skyrim, players need easy access to a ton of variables including their inventory, magic attacks, maps and levelling up screens.

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Controls

    Bethesda has said that Skyrim is one of its more accessible games, but don’t fool you into thinking that this means its appeal is any broader than previous Elder Scrolls or Fallout titles.

    This only means that the controls are more intuitive and the menus are easy to interpret. But Skyrim will require tons of hours and genuine commitment from any players hoping to uncover its secrets. Its gameplay may be a little more streamilined that that of its predecessors, but Skyrim is for the resolutely hardcore gamers – and those attracted to the fantasy genre to begin with.

    To wit, last year, mainstream news outlets ran stories about how Call Of Duty: Black Ops was set to cost employers a load of money, due to the fact that many fans planned to take a week off work to play it. In that vein, if you own a business, you might want to keep an eye out for any workers with who have say, a dragon statuette on their desk, or a well-thumbed copy of Lord Of The Rings. Come November 11th, you probably won’t see them for the rest of the month.

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim availability: Out November 11th on all formats

    Elder Scrolls V Skyrim price: £34.99 on PS3 and Xbox360, £29.99 on PC

    Watch the full Elder Scrolls V Skyrim trailer below.

     

    Liked this review? You may also want to check out our Assassin's Creed: Revelations review, FIFA 12 review, or PES 2012 review.
     

    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - live action trailer
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sk/xs_Skyrim_lead_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sk/xs_Skyrim_1_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sk/xs_Skyrim_2_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sk/xs_Skyrim_3_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sk/xs_Skyrim_4_624.jpg
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Dawnguard Expansion

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