John: Oh Skyrim. Oh Skyrim, Oh Skyrim, Oh Skyrim. Finally an Elder Scrolls game which can stand tall and proud alongside the great game of Morrowind. There are no words to describe how much I enjoy this game, other than imagining a truck load of naked woman and money. It feels like an almost real world, which you can explore while other people go on along with their daily lives. However as this is such an extensive RPG we have run into many problems on how to review it, so instead we will write many subsections on different parts of the game and give our views on them.
Dan: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the best RPG I’ve ever played. The amount of choices in character levelling alone is astounding; it allows me to build an assassin who can silently roll behind his mark, cut their throat and dissipate into nothingness before the unfortunate fellow’s mates can do anything more than stare at his body. I can sprint and jump off a cliff, land in a river and blast a dragon flying over head with lightning. I can use my Unrelenting Force shout to use a massive force of wind to make Imperial soldiers sail over entire forts. I can listen to guards tell me about how they took arrows in the knee. I could literally go on for pages and pages, describing the quests and situations the almost immaculate Skyrim allows you to do and get into.
John: Anybody who says this game is best RPG ever is an idiot and deserves to be immolated after having his balls doused in petrol. It is not as good as Morrowind, no matter how close it comes and retarded people believe it is. However that doesn't mean it's not the best RPG I've played in the past 5 or 6 years, the only other one which can even come close in The Witcher 2 (I am not classing Deus Ex: HR as an RPG for this comparison ok... Got that), but Skyrim easily outshines that. Now on with the review.
John: So Skyrim is the 5th game in the Elder Scrolls series, and not Oblivion 2 as some idiots believe. If anybody thinks that, I want them shot in the head with a laser rifle controlled by a rabid dog. The story revolves around a giant Dragon named Alduin coming back during the time of a huge civil war in Skyrim and subsequently reviving a load of other Dragons. So as Dovakhiin you have to go stop them by shouting at them like you're a character from any British soap.
I still haven't finished the main story because I kept getting distracted, however from nearly finishing it, it seemed extremely short and boring, which is why I was distracted, and also very strange for any game which includes dragons. However who plays an Elder Scrolls game for the story in all honesty. Also has some pretty good looking parts in it, just not as good as everything else.
Dan: The Main Quest of Skyrim is, unfortunately, a let-down. That’s not to say it’s not good: in some cases it feels spectacular, the first dragon fight near Whiterun is great. The way the dragon swoops and breathes flame on you as you desperately take cover in the tower, and how you charge forward and start hacking at its head looks and feels amazing. The problem was this: the next dragon fight had me running away from a flying lizard that was breathing fire on me as it swooped over then I charged and starting hacking at its head. And the same thing for the next one. And the next. The dragon fights do get very repetitive, but they ALWAYS stay rewarding. I can sit through Generic Dragon Fight #37 if it means I can use its soul to turn enemies to ice. The story (I haven’t actually finished it yet) is… well it’s good, I guess. The Main Quest has some great moments, as I say, but also some really irritating ones, mainly the one in the Thalmor embassy where they seem to either spot you from 200 yards away or block every door you need to get through, meaning stealth is almost impossible (so I was buggered).
The Civil War
John: The Civil war is possibly my favourite part of the game, fighting off many of those Imperial bastards to free Skyrim for the Nords (Yes I'm a Stormcloak.) Some of my favourite moments have been attacking forts and the cities of [redacted] with my Stormcloak allies to get Ulfric Stormcloak on the throne. (No I don't care if they are more racist than an angry Nick Griffin)
Dan: The Civil War that ties sort of into the backstory and a bit of the Main Quest feels a lot more rewarding and satisfying. In Oblivion the great battle for Tamriel was fought with about 12 soldiers in a small clearing. This is the gaming equivalent of going to watch the Lord of the Rings to find out it’s the pacifist version. In Skyrim the battles even stretch across cities, with catapults that do fuck all firing flaming rocks that do fuck all. I can Fus Ro Dah people off the walls while I decapitate an Empire prick in front of me. Anyway, I’ve gone on too long about that, so I’ll summarise the Main Quest/Story. The Main Quest is good, if underwhelming and repetitive, and the quests about the Civil War are, although not the main quest, excellent and tie in to the Main Story nicely.
John: The Dragons themselves are pretty damned cool for the first few times you see them, however later in the game with good armour they just become a nuisance, as if you were being attacked by a very angry dust mite. And the fact that the game seems to throw them at you every 5 seconds just leaves you feeling disappointed. However no matter how many times you fight them, they are always, always more interesting than the fucking Oblivion Gates, however even if they had been replaced with some guy poking a needle in your eye they would have been less irritating.
(Caution, this is me basically wanking over the world design)
John: My god the world is beautiful. It appears to have been forged by God himself. This is one thing I believe it does better than Morrowind. The amazing looking rivers, the awe inspiring mountains which form the skyline of the province, the wonderfully built cities. It's all amazing. It's not the most graphically advanced game I've played, but the detail, the detail must have been created by Vincent Van Gogh while high. Each city has its own style, its own personality, where the people go about their daily lives as if this was real.
It is easily the best part of the game, just exploring the word to see what you can find is endlessly enjoyable to take part in.
Dan: The world of Skyrim is vast, and you can literally keep playing forever, apparently. The Radiant Story system keeps generating quests for you, even though these are utterly generic and dull as fuck. It’s like being promised cocaine for the rest of your life then about a year in it’s switched to Coca Cola (ATTENTION: The Rofling Officer and John Smith definitely do NOT advocate the use of Cocaine, if you use such drugs please snort them so hard they enter your brain and you turn to mush you loser, thank you). Skyrim’s world is magnificent, glorious, incredible, unimaginable, and now I’m starting to run out of synonyms, but the point stands. Skyrim is so dense, so rich, so detailed, that everything like a Dungeon has its own backstory. I enter one and a ghost tells me to leave, but then I discover it’s not a ghost at all, but some wanker pretending to be one. I enter another, and another, real, ghost helps me proceed so he can take revenge on a Draugr called Olaf One-Eye. The cities are generally brilliant; Solitude sits atop a cliff looking gracefully down at the frozen sea, Whiterun lies in the middle of the tundra where giants herd their mammoths, and Windhelm is in the frozen, snowy north and has Jack the Ripper. Saying that, one city (Markarth) is SHIT, it looks awful, all the NPCs are hollow and have the same character trait and the design of the city is fucked up.
John: He is right, Markath is shit. Staying there is like applying to have a nail through the foot.
John: The dungeons are, for a start much better than Oblivions, which made me want to endlessly slam a hammer down onto my head due to how boring they were. However they are also nowhere near as huge as the ones in Daggerfall, which is actually a relief. The ones in Skyrim are extremely linear, and also some seem very similar, however they are varied enough to not get boring, and the stories in some of them are very intriguing. They do feel like they have been designed by a man with a fetish for long corridors though, and I hate that.
The Dark Brotherhood
Dan: The Dark Brotherhood quests of Oblivion were my favourite part of the game, as being an assassin is a route I always take in games like this. But now in Skyrim my choices were so open and great that I could stealthily roll behind my target, slash him with my daggers, doing 30x normal damage then disappear into the shadows as the targets bodyguards turn around. This is around 13 times as fun as Oblivion. Saying that the actual quests themselves are a little disappointing; they all feel like just one LOOOONG quest leading up to the target that I stopped caring about 3 quests ago. And even that isn’t that hard as you can just hack your way through everyone as they’re sailors and have no armour and are stupid. I was expecting this to be an ultra-hard test of my sneak skills, to help me appreciate all I’d learned like the last quest for the Thieves Guild in Oblivion. Don’t take this to mean that I didn’t LIKE the Dark Brotherhood quests, overall they all feel great and have some very satisfying moments that I could (and will) do again and again, but it just doesn’t feel that climactic.
[Kind of/not really spoilers here for the Companions quests, you should be safe]
John: As the character I usually play as is some sort of stealthy warrior who is also a duel wielding badass, I felt that the guilds which seemed to fit me the most where the Dark Brotherhood (the only good part of Oblivion) and the Companions. At first the companions quests seemed extremely boring, involving the same collect an item shit that spreads through RPGS like the plague... or an STD. However half way through the quests, when you become a werewolf, it suddenly becomes a whole lot more fun. Your attacking strongholds of wolf hunters, hunting down the remaining organisation in revenge missions. It even becomes a little sad near the end after the Silver Hand assault Jorrvaskr. This all lead up to one of my favourite final quests of any organisation as you journey through Ysgramor's tomb.
Put it this way, I liked the companions so much I married Aela... Also that leaves me thinking, does marrying an NPC who just happens to be a werewolf, BUT you only see them as a wolf once, mean your into bestiality. What about if your also a wolf?
John: Fucking, fucking terrible. I would rather have my balls pierced by a boiling hot spike than have to sit through this crap again.
Thieves Guild and Mages College
John: Haven't done much of these really and neither has Dan.
The marriage in the game does at first seem pretty pointless as all it means is that you can have a meal cooked for you. However if you think about it, this is a role playing game, and add a lot to the immersion in the game. But then again if you enjoy immersion in a game "you're probably less popular than Hitler dancing on the graves of puppy's who have died from leukaemia" - Some retarded person.
Other Bad Points
John: The game was almost certainly not ready for it's release date, it was filled to the brim with bugs. It was and still is more buggy than a termite mound, with countless crashes to desktop for me, like a blind person driving a Ferrari. And (as I play on the PC as i'm part of some master race) the UI was, and still is dreadful, it was as if they had a 3 year old without a brain to create it. Somehow it was even worse than Oblivion's. Yes there are mods to fix it, but it is dissapointing nonetheless, no matter how much I love this game.
John: Even if you do somehow get bored of this game, just remember, mod tools will be released in January, so people will be creating new stories for this game for years. (And if you're not on PC, always remember Bethesda's own DLC, no don't shudder, it's not horse armour, and they have vowed to be releasing huge content in these, my bet, something about the Thalmor.)
Dan: In conclusion, YES SKYRIM IS THE BEST RPG I’VE EVER PLAYED SHUT UP, and it takes my game of the year slot. I can tell I’m going to be playing this excellent game for years and years, just like I did with Oblivion, the difference being this one is far better. There are a few let downs (which include a LOT of hilarious and game breaking bugs which we haven’t really touched on), but overall The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a wonderful RPG, and the only one I’ve played that lets me customise my character’s play style to the point of absurdity. A massive step up from Oblivion, and also a massive one from Fallout 3, but that was shit anyway.
John: In conclusion, it is not the best RPG ever, but it is certainly the game of the year and is amazing, so if you don't play it you deserve to be raped by a pig, or due to Darwin's theory, killed in the name of natural selection.
Both: So have a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season from us guys, and just remember FUS RO DAH!