Review: Skyrim: the Elder Scrolls V (Xbox 360)

By Wayne Webb

For weeks now I’ve been told how great Skyrim is going to be. Loads of chatter on the Internet and from games people and of course fans of the series. Having never played an Elder Scrolls game before I had high hopes. Bethesda Studios have delivered in every area except one.

As a Dragonborn you are destined to be the one, the chosen, the foretold, the prophesied – you get the picture. It’s a standard swords and sorcery fare – you are here to unlock the secrets, fulfill the quests and solve the riddle of the Dragonborn and win the day.

One of the best things about Skyrim is just how much there is to do and see, but that can also be a negative as there’s so much you think you’ll never see it all. And that’s probably true; in following the storyline first and foremost I passed up the opportunity to explore some interesting ruins and shrines in favour of exploring later. In at least one case I can’t recall where the entrance is because my mind has become cluttered with so much other stuff going on in the game. With a suggested 350 hours plus of gameplay and a large number of randomly generated quests and tasks – I could be playing Skyrim for the next 6 months and still not get it all. I certainly feel after a few days of solid playing that I have barely scratched the surface of all the game’s extras.

The world of Skyrim is one of the most detailed and visually stunning game designs I have seen in a long time. Every tiny little detail is meticulously drawn and filled in leaving you with a sense of the hard work hundreds of people who contributed to the story. And it’s not a small world. You have to walk around it on foot to get places, and unlocking fast travel is an early and welcome feature, as is getting a horse.

However, as mentioned at the beginning of the review, there is a problem with this game. While it is brilliant in so many ways the annoyance of the visual glitches really detracts from the experience. It’s possible this is due to the size of the game and relative processing power of an Xbox 360. Enemies can disappear and reappear during a fight, your horse walks off a cliff you can’t see and people you are talking to are just gone and appear in a different location seconds later. These glitches are confusing and irritating, and while they won’t stop me from playing, they have stopped me from calling this a masterpiece. It is a huge feat, just wish they had had less visible errors. 

Pros: Expansive world to explore, stunning detail & design, engaging storyline, loads to do, hundreds of hours of play
Cons: Visual glitches annoy, too much to do.

4 Shacks Out Of 5