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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review

By BwwDtt | 05 May 2020
Average: 10 (4 votes)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an epic fantasy RPG inspired by Norse mythology. It's one of the most popular games in Elder Scrolls series.

  • Immersive plot with hundreds of quests
  • Vast open world and vivid nature
  • Flexible character development system
  • Thousands of different modifications

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim Gameplay

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is an open-world multiplatform role-playing game developed by Bethesda Game Studios. This game is the fifth project in the Elder Scrolls series. The game was released on November 11, 2011, for Windows, Playstation 3, and the Xbox 360. It also has three expansion sets: the Dawnguard with vampires and werewolves; the Hearthfire with sophisticated housing system, and Dragonborn with the locations from previous games. This game is also famous for its fan-made custom modifications.

Like the previous games in the series, Skyrim allows the player to travel around the vast open world and explore it to find new places and quests. The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim takes place in the fictional province of Skyrim on the mainland of Tamriel on the planet Nirn two hundred years after the events of the previous game in the series, the Oblivion. The main storyline of the game revolves around the appearance of the mighty dragon Alduin in Skyrim; the main character, "Dragonborn", is challenged to stop the return of dragons and defeat Alduin.

The game received positive feedback from critics and collected several awards, including the title of the best game of 2011 from the Spike Video Game Award, the title of "Game of the Year" and "Role-Playing Game of the Year" from IGN and Gamespot. It also had an immense commercial success: in 2014 the number of copies sold around the world exceeded 20 million, and by November 2016 - already 30 million.

The storyline of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim

Two hundred years have passed since the events of The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion and the time set in the game is the 201st year of the Fourth Era (4E 201). The High King of Skyrim was killed, and the province is in a state of civil war. One side wants Skyrim to separate from the Empire, and the other wants it to remain a part of it. This conflict is the last event predicted by the Elder Scrolls that will lead to the return of the dragons led by Alduin.

At the beginning of the storyline, the player's character turns out to be a prisoner, and you are taken to execution for illegally crossing the border of Skyrim during the war. As soon as the protagonist puts the head on the block, the dragon Alduin attacks the settlement. The player later finds out that the main character is Dovakin — Dragonborn — whose ability is to kill and gain knowledge of slain dragons by absorbing their souls. The hero has the responsibility to defeat the dragons, who began their awakening in Skyrim. Wanting to help fulfil their fate, the famous Graybeards and the last two surviving members of the Blades join Dovakin.

Screenshot of the character creation menu
Each race of Skyrim has unique culture and history, and it influences on NPCs opinions about your character

Character Development in the Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim

In The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, a character can develop 18 different skill-trees. Skills development characterizes how good your character performs various actions. The growth of the skill level occurs when it's used. It also leads to an increase in the level of the hero. The starting level of most skills is 15, although, during the character creation, the choice of the race determines six trees that receive additional starting bonuses.

Screenshot of the skill menu
Even though it's possible to open all skills in Skyrim, it would take awful lot of time. Hovewer, there are no limits for the creation of hybrid skill builds.

On Nirn, three constellations are apparent: Warrior, Mage and Thief, and it's closely associated with the Guardian Stones located in Skyrim. The stones of the Warrior, Thief and Magician are located near Riverwood. They give blessings called "Signs." Anyone can receive a buff from them by touching one of the ancient stones.

Crafting in The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim features a few skills that allow the players to create various pieces of gear and consumables:

Blacksmithing is a skill that affects the parameters of the created items of equipment and allows to forge gear and weaponry. The more skilled blacksmiths forge deadlier weapons and more reliable armour. It's one of the production skills alongside with alchemy and enchantment. This skill is the best for warriors, although anyone with proper diligence can learn blacksmithing. The progress of this skill is affected by touching the Stones of the Warrior and Lover. The constant ability of Ancient Knowledge, among other things, accelerates the development of this skill by 15%.

Screenshot of the blacksmithing menu

Alchemy is a skill that is especially useful to thieves. Alchemists create valuable and poisonous potions. The recipes for brewing are described in the scripts that can be found on sale and during the adventures. The growth of this skill is affected by touching the Stones of the Thief and Lover.

Enchanting is a skill which allows you to enchant equipment. The experienced magicians can create stronger enchantments for the items. It belongs to the number of production skills. It's usually preferred by magicians, although anyone who studied enough can learn how to enchant. The growth of this skill is affected by touching the Stones of the Magician and Lover.

Screenshot of the alchemy menu

Guilds in The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim

In The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, as well as in previous games in the Elder Scrolls series, several factions and guilds are presented. You can join any of them and become their leader. As in other games, each Guild has its storyline and unique characteristics. Guilds do not require the newcomer to possess specific skills, but it's necessary to train them for successful completion of the questline. For example, in the Thieves Guild, Hacking and Pickpocketing skills will come in handy, and in the Mages Guild, knowledge of the basics of a magic school is useful. However, at the same time, it's possible to complete all the guild quests playing for one character.

Imperial Legion / Storm Brothers - two warring factions (it's not possible to complete both their quests with one character). The player will have to choose one of the parties. You can fight in the name of the Empire on the side of the Emperor under the command of General Tullius, or take the side of Ulfric Stormcloak, the head of the Nord rebellion. There is also the opportunity to betray the chosen faction when completing some quests. If the player does not accept one side, the war will continue behind the scenes.

Blades / Greybeards are allowed to join after completing the main quest, you can join the Greybeards or the re-creating Blades organization; you also can invite or hire friends you helped or mercenaries who will serve in this organization. If you end the civil war instead of concluding a ceasefire, then both organizations will be welcoming to the player simultaneously.

Companions Guild is an analogue of the Guild of Fighters from previous games in the series; their members are mostly mercenaries. This Guild has it's own secrets which are hidden from outsiders, and they're rivals with an organization called the Silver Hand. Companions are located in Whiterun, and they don't have any official leadership. The wisest and most skilled Companions are called the "Harbingers" who advise less experienced members. Their leader is Kodlak White Mane. The "lieutenants" of the organization are Vilkas, Farkas, Ayla and Skior. Opinions of the locals about this organization are very different. If you listen to Vignar Gray Mane, he will describe the Companions as a gang of ordinary bandits and mercenaries. Still, the Companions themselves and some city dwellers claim that they are the legendary order of warriors.

Screenshot of the Companions Member

College of Bards is an adventure organization. The player will have to fulfil various requests of the guild members for promotions. They are located in Solitude.

College of Winterhold represents the union of the mages of Skyrim. It's the only place in Skyrim where you can officially learn magic. The most comprehensive range of books with spells is only available in the College; unique skills and master levels can only be obtained in this Guild. As the name says, this Guild is located in Winterhold. A student who successfully passed the certification and distinguished from other students becomes a candidate for the post of an archmage. Archmage of the Guild is Savos Aren, Dunmer (dark elf).

Screenshot of the main courtyard of the College of Winterhold

Guardians of the Dawn / Vampire Clan of the Volkihar castle are available after reaching level 10, at the entrance to any settlement, you can meet a member of the Guardians of the Dawn. They offer the character to join them. After entering the Guild, the player goes through a series of quests leading to the castle of Volkihar. Players have to make a choice: either to pass the game further for the Guardians of Dawn or to join the Vampire Clan. The Guardians of Dawn are led by Isran, the head of the vampire clan is Lord Harkon. Available only in the Dawnguard add-on.

The Thieves Guild is a criminal organization based in Riften. Unlike the thieves guild in previous games in the series, in The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, they are weak at first. You can join them in Riften. If you don't help the Guild there, it will fall apart in a generation. Still, if Dovakin fulfils special orders in all major cities, the Thieves Guild will return its influence, authority and capital. The master and the head is Mercer Frey. The organization's lieutenants are Brignolph, Vex, Delvin Mallory and Carly.

Screenshot of the Thieves Guild Headquarters

The Dark Brotherhood represents the remains of the once-influential Guild of Assassins of Tamriel. To join them, you need to complete the secret task from their member. You can also choose to fight with the Brotherhood and destroy their members. In contrast with the Oblivion storyline, the Dark Brotherhood of Skyrim behaves more like a gang of ordinary hired killers than a mysterious sect of assassins, vehemently following their ancient traditions. Skyrim is the last stronghold of the Dark Brotherhood in Tamriel: in other provinces, it was disbanded or destroyed.

Screenshot of the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary

Graphics and Atmosphere in The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim

The new Creation Engine that is featured in The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim manages to produce such vivid landscapes that sometimes you don't even believe that all this works fine without lagging. Many mistakes were also fixed comparing to the previous projects: people now look like people, and the dungeons got rid of the copy-paste print. All the models now have a vast number of details. Birches, snowdrifts, frosty rivers and a snowstorm can be witnessed along with many other beautiful special effects.

Screenshot of the mountains nearby Riften

You can fish in a wild mountain river, while a bear is doing the same on the other side, and it's all presented in high-resolution textures. You can hunt moose and wolves, sew clothes from skins and gather wild berries. There is even an opportunity to gobble up mushrooms and survive in wild nature. Players may configure the settings along the way to make the game fit better their device's hardware.

Screenshot of the waterfall lake

Expansion Sets in The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls 5: Dawnguard review

On May 1, 2012, Bethesda Game Studios announced that the first official Skyrim add-on called "Dawnguard" will be released first on the Xbox 360 on June 26, 2012, and will be exclusive to the platform for the next 30 days.

On August 3, 2012, Bethesda Game Studios confirmed that a DLC called "Dawnguard" was released on Steam. DLC is available in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian with full-voiced voice-overs for all the options. For the PS3, the expansion came out on February 26, 2013. On November 23, 2012, Dawnguard came out with Russian voice acting and translation, localized 1C-SoftKlab.

The theme of the add-on is the story of a vampire lord named Harkon. All he wants to do is to put an end to the war and defeat what he hates the most, the Sun. There is a choice of one of two groups of the conflict: vampires and vampire hunters called the Guardians of Dawn. Depending on your choice of the side, the content will vary significantly. Some quests of the main storyline are happening in one of the locations of Oblivion - Cairne of Souls. Some other additions include the following changes: in Riften's Tavern "Raging Flask", the Galatil Bosmer can help you change your facial features in just 1000 Septims, but it won't let you change your character's race or gender. Keep in mind that she will only help you if you are not a vampire. Those who like to build new branches of skills for their characters also have something to rejoice about: two new trees of talent have appeared: vampirism (a form of vampire lord) and lycanthropy. You can turn into a vampire lord if you side with Harkon. But even if you follow the path of vampire hunters, you can still become a vampire lord. This look will add a lot of new features.

Screenshot of the Fort Dawnguard, headquarters of the orden Dawnguard

You can always go back to human form at all times. New dragon screams are added in the add-on. One of them is called Rupture of the Soul. This cry will allow you to withdraw the soul from a defeated enemy and use it as an ally. Also in Dunstar, Windhelm and Solitude, there are new ferries that can transport you and your companions between these cities for 50 Septims, and the pier of Ice Water (Volkihar Castle) for 500 Septims. You can also fight while sitting on a horse, where you can use both one-handed weapons, and a crossbow or bow, but not staves or spells. Other minor additions include dragon bone weapons and new varieties of finishing moves.

The Elder Scrolls 5: Hearthfire Review

After releasing The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard, Bethesda decided to make simple housewives out of players in Skyrim. In the expansion called Hearthfire, players are allowed to tackle their character's personal life, buy a land plot and build a house. The size of the house depends on the financial capabilities of the protagonist. After construction, you have to make home improvement. It's enough to install everything necessary for the manufacture of weapons and armour, and you can create everything in the house. If you like to breed animals, it is not a problem either. The garden allows you to obtain something to eat and feed to the cows.

It's possible to adopt a child that brings additional responsibilities. It's necessary to protect the house and children from villains, such as both the small harmless malefactors and the huge giants that represent a considerable danger. The expansion came out September 4, 2012, on the Xbox 360, October 4, 2012, on the PC, and February 19, 2013, on the PS3.

The Elder Scrolls 5: Dragonborn Review

Like the previous additions, according to the agreement with Microsoft, Dragonborn became available to Xbox 360 players on December 4, the PC version became available on February 5, 2013, the version for PS3 on February 12, 2013. All information about the release was published on the official Bethesda Softworks blog. This add-on is included in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary.

In this expansion set, you can explore the lands outside Skyrim, and you can leave the northern province and go to the shore of the island of Solstheim. On the way to unravelling the mysteries of the return of the Dragonborn, you will meet Dunmeri settlers in Raven Rock and the indigenous people - the Skaal tribe. The add-on gives you a chance to become the most powerful Dragonborn ever, and use all the power of your voice in the battle with the first Dragonborn, which name is Mirak.

You can learn new shouts and spells; for example, "The Incarnation of the Dragon", which allows you to call all the internal power of the dragon and deliver powerful blows with all of your attacks, and it also enhances other shouts. "Cyclone" causes a small tornado. "Subjugation of the will" makes the dragon fight on the side of the protagonist. "Battle Rage" is similar to the cry "Elemental Rage", but acts on non-player characters. New Powers include dark forces you encounter while travelling to a new Daedric Dimension called Apocrypha, which is home of Prince Daedra Hermeusa Mora. The place allows you to collect books of forbidden knowledge and choose new ways of developing skills and abilities.

Screenshot of the Ravenrock location

Several new dungeons, creatures, weapons and more are available to the players, and you may collect newly-added carved Nordic or Stalgrim armour, as well as Stalgrim weapons, that drop on the way through many dungeons. A variety of unique artefacts are also available in the expansion set. You have to fight formidable enemies such as ash spawn, rikling and many others. The main storyline of Dragonborn begins with an attack on the protagonist by a group of aggressive adherents of a particular "Cult of the World" to eliminate the false Dragonborn. After defeating the fanatics, you can take a note from the corpse of one of them. Name "Mirak" is indicated in the letter, and the false Dragonborn is mentioned to be eliminated. The further path lies in the docks of Windhelm, where the captain of a small ship can take the hero to Solstheim. In Dragonborn, you can also meet with representatives of the most ancient Guild of assassins in Tamriel, which is called Morag Tong. Their ideology is significantly different from that of the Dark Brotherhood. At the last but not least feature is an ability to ride and saddle the dragons.

Skyrim Tips and Tricks

Save Often

Screenshot of the combat with giants

Even though Skyrim has an auto-save feature, it's still vital to save as often as you can. Try to choose safe places with no enemies and obstacles around and create a new save file each time; otherwise, your character can stuck at the moment right before death, and you will have to replay everything from the previous save spot.

Explore Dragon Laris

Screenshot of the dragon lair in Dragontooth Crater

You will find hundreds of interesting places during your adventures in Skyrim, but the most significant locations are marked with a dragon icon. The Dragon Lair is a nest guarded by a powerful creature, and it's necessary to explore them: you will find a chest with loot, Word Wall, and a dragon's soul from the killed enemy.

Take your horse on adventures

Screenshot of the horse

The horses in Skyrim are even more important than classic companions. These powerful creatures are fast, beautiful, and extremely useful when you have to climb in the mountains. Horses in this game can climb even sheer cliffs where your character physically can't go. Skyrim is a rocky place, so you will often have to ride through snowy peaks if you want to travel fast. Moreover, you don't have to wait until you have enough money to buy a mount: you can borrow or steal a horse, but they wouldn't follow you.

Don't save too much loot

Screenshot of the inventory

You can find tons of useful items while adventures, but it's impossible to save all. First of all, the game has a weight limit for characters; second, you can't store everything you gather before you obtain a house. The best choice is to sell everything to shopkeepers; however, each NPC can buy only a certain kind of loot. They also have a limited amount of money which restores every 48 hours, so you will have to wait until you can exchange items.

Best Skyrim Mods

Nexus Mod Manager is the vital modification for Skyrim because it provides an easy install of mods.

Skyrim Graphic Modes is the most popular kind of improvements: these modifications replace the standard models, add new textures and visual enhancements in classic Skyrim. Still, they're not so cool as it seems: the more graphic modes you install, the worse your FPS rate drops. Be careful while installing them and choose only proven modifications, such as Static Mesh Improvement Mod or Skyrim HD. Another must-have is a Climates of Tamriel which changes the weather and lightning.

Survival modes are the most extensive modifications of Skyrim . The Frostfall modification implements system of the weather, time of the day, adds campings and other survival elements, Realistic Needs and Diseases adds different necessities, and Wet and Cold compliments realistic weather.

Another popular kind of Skyrim modes adds more adventures into the world of the game: usually, they add new quests, NPCs, partners and locations. The Interesting NPC mode adds over 250 brand new citizens of Skyrim towns; the Immersive series (Immersive Citizens, Immersive Creatures, Immersive patrols) changes the behaviour of existing creatures and adds new activities with them.

The modes adding new weaponry and clothes are another essential part of the Skyrim Modifications. You can improve your experience with modes like stylish Cloaks of Skyrim, extend the weaponry with Immersive Weapons, or go on and change all clothing in the game on anime suits — there are no limits.

Games like The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is so much like The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim allows you to decide how you want to play out your adventure considering a vast majority of available side quests and events. You are not able to change a race or a gender in this game; however, you may assign the skill perks in a similar way to the TES5.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild features the freedom the explore and a vast majority of side activities as well as it does The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. You may develop a wide range of abilities to create unique fighting styles, and different kinds of weapons you collect on your way offer various advantages under challenging situations.

The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion is the previous game in the series, and it features most of the mechanics of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim as well as entirely different storyline along with the available map to explore. The same universe offers familiar characters, and a lot of side quests are connected to the story of the original game.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim System Requirements

Minimum Requirements

  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 470 1GB / AMD HD 7870 2GB
  • CPU: Intel i5-750/AMD Phenom II X4-945
  • File Size: 12 GB
  • OS: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit Version)

Recommended Requirements

  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 780 3GB / AMD R9 290 4GB
  • CPU: Intel i5-2400/AMD FX-8320
  • File Size: 12 GB
  • OS: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit Version)