I love Skyrim. Right now, it’s competing with Garry’s Mod as to which game deserves more of my attention, and Skyrim is winning by a mile. Why though? I’m not normally a fan of RPGs or even single player games. Most of the games I’ve played are multiplayer games with a single player mode on the side, or they’re really old games for Playstation One and Two. Skyrim’s actually one of the more unusual, yet somehow more stereotypical games in my played library.
By stereotypical, I mean, almost everyone likes Skyrim. The people who don’t are generally people who feel the game was dumbed down to appeal to a broader audience. They’re right in a way, but if Oblivion and Skyrim had both been as complicated as Morrowind, which often needed you to grab pen and paper and constantly write things down as if working on a homicide case, they would never have sold very well and we wouldn’t have gotten more sequels. Like it or not, the majority of people who play games just want to relax and chill out, maybe have a laugh or two, and they’re the people who decide to make you rich and famous. Also, I hate to jump on that old cliche, but it’s not fun constantly attacking an enemy and never actually hitting them. Random critical hits are one thing, but random misses are far, far worse.
That’s also not to say that Skyrim has faults. It has a fuck ton of faults. Many of the game’s problems are because Bethesda wanted to release Skyrim on the 11th of November 2011, 11/11/11. That meant they had to rush and cut things, which is why there’s no Windhelm Arena, the College of Winterhold makes no sense, creating your own magic disappeared and half the Civil War content is missing. There’s also the old Bethesda bugs, some of which still exist even today, although many patches have removed the worse bugs. Even with the cut and broken content, Skyrim though pleased enough people and got hit reviews all over the place. And with a nod to all the Morrowind fans, Bethesda added Solstheim in the Dragonborn DLC, which, if not completely satisfying their hunger, certainly scratched that Dunmer itch.
But even then, Skyrim isn’t that impressive. It’s a big world, yes, with apparently just as many quests as Fallout 4, but a lot of it does look rather bland at first glance. You have to dig deeper to see all the different terrains. You’ve got snowy mountains yes, but there’s also pine forests, lakes, large tundra plains, volcanic springs, rivers and waterfalls, both frozen and not, grassy hill terrain, swamp lands, non-snow-covered mountains and the beautiful aspen tree biome around Riften. That’s mostly why I disliked the Fallout games, as the dusty desert terrain made my eyes get bored after a while.
You can also say that the quests are mostly fetch and grab. That’s true in a lot of games though. The bigger issue with Skyrim is that many of the plots don’t make much sense or end on a low note. The Thieves Guild, one of the less buggy quests, requires you to do a ton of grinding and pledging yourself to a daedra, but the reward at the end is meager and most of the guild still kinda treats you crappy. The College of Winterhold, mentioned earlier, makes no sense at all, plot-wise and game-wise. You can complete it without really using any magic at all. The Companions is a buggy as fuck guild that’s not even very good. The entirety of the story in the Dawnguard DLC could have been avoided by killing Serana at the beginning of the second quest. The main quest line isn’t too bad, until Delphine tells you to brutally murder the ONLY person who’s been genuinely nice to you the whole time, then lets you down further with a mediocre final battle.
There’s more. The characters look bland and expressionless. The world’s colours look dull. Many Nordic and Dwemer ruins are too same-y. There’s a distinct lack of armour. Difficulty is arbitrary. Immersion can suddenly be broken. I could go on for ages.
But the amazing thing about Skyrim, the thing that has kept the game alive for so long, and that’s the modding community. For every little fuck up Bethesda makes, the community fixes and expands upon. It’s really amazing, and it’s what’s stopped Skyrim from fading into memory.
That is why I like Skyrim.
Oh, that and it is actually a beautiful game. Even on bad settings.