• 10 November 2011 14:14:58

    Skyrim Released and Skyrim Review Roundup #1

    posted by Lingwei Game News
    Players in Australia will be able to unlock Skyrim on Steam in less than an hour as of the time of posting and other players have already been able to play.

    The game goes on sale today and will unlock on Steam at 12am local time for players regions.

    Players may check Steam to see what time the game will unlock for their region.

    The embargo on gaming reviews which were written by reviewers ahead of the release date but held off until release has been lifted.

    The first of these reviews are beginnining to hit the web. This news post may contain spoilers, and the reviews almost certainly will.

    The general consensus is that the game is excellent. In good news for role playing game fans there appear to be a significant number of quests.

    Destructoid is of course impressed.

    Bethesda's games have always felt like online encyclopedia browsing, where one opens a page, finds more interesting ones within, and ends up with twenty unread articles open before long. In Skyrim, this approach is taken to extremes, with opportunities for adventure found in every city, cave, farm and forest hideout. Thanks to the "Radiant" storytelling system, these adventures can be procedurally generated as well. While there are fully scripted quests boasting their own characters and narrative threads, there is an infinite amount of miscellaneous objectives that can appear at any point. These range from simple tasks (such as collecting a bounty note in a tavern and slaying the target) to more intricate missions (like pulling off a successful burglary for the Thieves Guild). The game is also smart enough to place objective locations in unexplored areas of the gargantuan map, improvising in order to encourage further exploration.

    Wired is of course impressed.

    This sheer amount of content may seem overwhelming to many gamers, particularly in light of the fact that the game has an infinite number of procedurally generated quests. If you’re worried about losing sleep, you should be. I have spent 62 hours with Skyrim over the past two weeks and I still can’t stop thinking about all the things I have left to do.

    The game’s greatest accomplishment is that it is a paradise of escapism, a lavish love letter to immersion. Diving into Skyrim’s world feels both thrilling and comforting, like riding a rollercoaster or swimming in the ocean. There is very little padding. There are very few scripted quests that aren’t worth experiencing.

    Game Informer is of course impressed.

    The frequency with which you obtain new quests is astounding. At one point, I had 14 main quests and 32 miscellaneous quests active at once. This huge list turned me into an antisocial outcast; I stopped approaching other characters for fear of getting more quests from them. Even this strategy wouldn't work, as messengers would hand me documents containing new quests, and some NPCs rewarded jobs well done with additional tasks. After completing the narrative quest and logging over 100 hours into the game, I still found myself overwhelmed by the amount of uncompleted quests, NPCs I neglected to talk to, and areas of the map that I hadn’t visited yet.

    A story thread accompanies almost every quest. Some of these tales tie into the main conflict at hand (your character is the “Chosen One” tasked with cleansing the kingdom of dragons), while other side stories stand on their own or flesh out the world history. In a way, the game feels like a gigantic collection of short stories. The main campaign is superbly penned and is Bethesda's best effort to date. All of the scenes involving the greybeards are fantastic. I also thoroughly enjoyed Skyrim’s take on the Dark Brotherhood, and I got a big kick out of being a part of the Bard's Guild (my evil character had music in his heart all along). Even the books scattered across the kingdom, of which there are a dizzying amount, have great tales to tell.

    Eurogamer is of course impressed.

    Composer Jeremy Soule's reliably outstanding handiwork adds an essential, subtle backdrop to Skyrim that contrasts with previous Elder Scrolls outings. The imperial pomp of Oblivion's music - while perfectly suited to the setting of that game - has been replaced by something far gentler and more fragile. It's an ethereal, pastoral fantasy score that's both stirring and sad.

    Skyrim itself is a world of eternal winter, where foxes pad through the snow and the northern lights shimmer in the night sky. There's certainly no question that the misty mountain setting, complete will swirling fog and high-altitude snowstorms, has allowed Bethesda's technicians to pull off an extraordinary feat.

    But, close up, Skyrim's textures may shock those expecting a generational leap from Oblivion - a game that stunned at release but whose un-modded visuals I believe live on more fondly in the mind than in the flesh. However, while Skyrim's trees have rough edges, its woods are unrivalled in fantasy.

    This focus on grandeur over granularity is most evident in the city of Markath, with its leering architecture hewn from the solid rock of the mountains, where waterfalls spill around the buildings. In the courtyard of the College of Winterhold, an angelic statue, arms spread open, bathes in the snowstorms while blue arcane beams reach into the skies all around.

    Stay tuned for many more reviews as Skyrim Nexus news posters in the UK and USA awake and post more.

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