What is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Special Edition?
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a huge, expansive open-world fantasy role playing game, set in a world inspired by Norse mythology. With an extensive character creator letting you make your own hero (whether human or otherwise), you'll set off on a quest through a world where dragons roam once again. With an Empire that lies in tatters, and dragons stalking the land, the people cling to the hope of an ancient prophecy that tells of the Dragonborn - a hero born with the powers of the dragons, who's the only hope for defeating Alduin, the God of destruction (and also a dragon), and prevent him destroying the world.
This Special Edition is an upgraded version of the Xbox 360/PS3/PC original, boasting improved graphics and special effects. All three official expansions (Dawnguard, Heathfire, Dragonborn) are included, while the game also has support for player created "mods" (even on consoles), which can optionally be downloaded to offer extra quests, areas, and features.
How do you play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Special Edition?
As an open-world role-playing game, Skyrim is a game that puts you into a gorgeous, Nordic-themed world, and lets you play however you see fit. Played from either a third or first person perspective, you can explore the map to find secret dungeons and hidden treasure; join a guild of thieves, mages, hunters or murderers; become a vampire; buy a house, and adopt children; or, work your way through the story, and save the world from Alduin. It's really up to you.
While you may have a lot of options, though, you'll never be stuck when it comes to figuring out what to do next. Throughout your game, you'll receive quests by simply chatting to the folk you meet as you explore the game's vast world, which could be something as simple as heading to a town to check up on another character, or venturing in to a veritable war zone to take out a particularly tough enemy. With a huge amount of variety on offer, and hundreds of different quests to work your way through, Skyrim is a game with a great story, and an immersive world, that's perfect for fans of fantasy.
How easy is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Special Edition to pick up and play?
While there's undoubtedly a lot of depth to Skyrim, the game itself is actually pretty easy to pick up and play. With a choice of third or first person perspectives, you can play the game pretty much however you want to play it, while the game's levelling system lets you tailor your character to suit your play style, giving you the chance to boost your strengths, and cover your weaknesses.
Almost everything you do in Skyrim will earn you experience, which you can use to increase your character's overall level, and make them stronger. From sneaking to lock picking, from engaging in combat to using magic spells, the more you use or do something, the better your character becomes at doing it, meaning the game almost ends up tailoring itself to how you play. If you prefer to use magic, you'll become a powerful wizard simply by playing and casting spells; if you prefer to stick to the shadows, you'll soon become a master thief by simply sneaking around. When you do gain enough experience to level up, you can choose to increase either your magic, health, or stamina, again letting you tailor your character however you see fit.
While it may be easy to get into, however, Skyrim is certainly tricky to master. Combat is often a complex affair, with no surefire way of blocking enemy attacks when you end up in close quarters combat. With no dodge button, you're often forced to simply weather blows when engaging in melee combat, or use your shield to absorb most of the damage - something which can be tricky when you have to take on entire groups of bandits, or monsters. Similarly, the residents of Skyrim expect you to obey their rules, and if you happen to accidentally pick their pocket, or even so much as touch their bread or tankard, you'll find yourself getting in trouble with the law, often having to pay a fine, or end up in prison. While your health does auto regenerate if you can avoid combat, and the game autosaves your progress, it's wise to manually save your game on a regular basis for this reason.
If you want to tweak the game's difficulty at all, the game does have a choice of an impressive six levels to choose from, ranging from "Novice" (very easy) to "Legendary". On Novice, you'll have a much easier time beating enemies, who'll do much less damage to you, and can take much less damage in turn.
In terms of mature content, Skyrim is light on swearing, but contains mild innuendo and strong violence.
Violence and gore
Gore is a frequent fixture in Skyrim, both in in-game cutscenes, and the midst of battles themselves. The game opens with you watch a man be decapitated during an execution (although there's little blood), while other areas have been done up to look a bit grizzly and gruesome, with heads impaled on spikes, or blood splattering the floors. When in combat, the game will sometimes engage a slow-mo camera to show you a particularly brutal move, like a decapitation or dismemberment.
While there's nothing in the way of nudity, the game's dialogue does contain very occasional references to sex slaves and whores.
Set in a fantasy environment, Skyrim actually contains nothing in the way of bad language or swearing.
Format Reviewed: PC