Skyrim: Reviving My Gaming Excitement

Skyrim: Reviving My Gaming Excitement

So I’m about 65 hours into the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. A long time you might think, but – no matter how hard I try – Skyrim just doesn’t want to end. It’s a refreshing change.

Skyrim is so huge, so expansive, so filled to the brim with things to do, it is impossible not to be impressed with the depth and scale of the world Bethesda has created here. As I write this, I’m currently at a time of just over 66 hours, and in that time I’ve explored a good chunk of the map, a ridiculous amount of dungeons, completed a mind-bogglingly huge amount of quests, horded a ridiculous amount of loot which now lives in a chest in my house and generally annoyed the local populace by using the Unrelenting Force dragon shout to send them flying off mountains. The best part of this is, 66 hours into this game, I am still finding new things to do, new, exciting quests to follow and brand new, sprawling dungeons filled with loot and adventure just wait to explore.

What’s my point, you may wonder. Well, I shall tell you. Out of all the games that have came out this year, Skyrim shines with such a quality that surpasses almost everything I’ve played this year. Bethesda has sort of went back to the drawing board of games of the past and integrated something which, with the advent of multiplayer and improved graphical capabilities, seems to have become somewhat of an afterthought. That, ladies and gentlemen, is good, old-fashioned, immersive gameplay that lasts seemingly forever.

All This…Explorable.

That’s why Skyrim is a refreshing change for me. I’m becoming increasingly exasperated in recent years with the fact that games are getting shorter and shorter, and I’m going to use Modern Warfare 3 as an example. Those who read my review of the game will no that it divided opinion; some of you praised my words, while some of you called me a fool and various other things. That’s fine – you’re all entitled to your own opinions and I know, no matter what, Call of Duty will always have its fans.  My point though, is this: why pay a price of £45 for a game with a campaign that lasts just four hours, when something comes on the market like Skyrim that boasts potentially hundreds of hours of possibly the most versatile gaming experience conceivable?

I’m not saying COD isn’t without merit – it’s generally a well put together package that people like, but it is very hard to shake the feeling that its just the same thing over and over again, with little innovation to truly grab you and think ‘wow, this is amazing’.

Sure, COD’s multiplayer is where its all at, with countless gamers pouring their time and effort into levelling up, acquiring new guns and then prestiging, losing everything and doing it all over again.  I’ve done it  myself – last year I fell squarely into the Black Ops obsession, and poured hours upon hours into the multiplayer. It can be fun – but, honestly, I was just playing it because I was becoming increasingly bored with a load of titles coming out that took me hardly any time to complete. COD’s multiplayer is never-ending if you so choose it, but, for me, it was merely the stop-gap as I awaited a game to sweep me off my feet and take me squarely into a gaming world and wow me at every turn.

That game, my friends, is Skyrim. Never before has a game ate away at my life so much since my unhealthy obsession with Metal Gear Solid as a child, and that’s why I love it so much.  In fact, let me tell you a little story about me and Bethesda.

A few years ago, the Xbox 360 was born, courtesy of Microsoft. I played a few games for it – Perfect Dark Zero, Quake 4 – all those launch titles, but nothing really wowed me extensively until something else appeared on the horizon. That game, was of course, Oblivion. Coming from nowhere for me as I was an Elder Scrolls virgin, I simply could not believe my eyes as I booted up Oblivion and was unleashed into the biggest, most exciting game world I’d ever seen and routinely encouraged to go off exploring while stabbing things floatily in the head while also simultaneously leaping in the air to level up my acrobatics skill. It was amazing, and still holds a fond place in my heart.

Flash forward to 2011. Skyrim arrived in a blaze of glory on the 11th of November 2011 and instantaneously renewed my sense of wonder with gaming. It’s been missing for a long time – a few titles tried their hardest to grip me firmly in their grasp and a few – like the eternally brilliant Batman: Arkham City – held me for a while before letting me go and move on to other things.

Skyrim, on the other hand, has grabbed me firmly by the horns and kept my glued to it. It’s got to the point now where I simply can’t wait to play on the game when I have a free moment, wondering just what adventures I can get my Dragonborn into today. My quest log, even though I’ve done around a hundred quests already, is still packed to the gills with stuff to do ranging from trapping a dragon to merely clearing out a cave of vampires. Skyrim, in this way, merely isn’t a game – it’s a lifestyle, filled with such a huge amount of stuff to do that it can often be dizzying and make you giddy with excitement and truly immerse you in the fantastic videogame world Bethesda has created.

It’s a game that gets you, the player, to make your own game. Sure you can go off following the storyline, but Skyrim is all about the exploration – the time spent brawling in pubs, shouting at cabbages, goats and old women and making the experience your own. Totally versatile. Totally fantastic.

Let me just say I’m not getting at all modern games, but when something like Skyrim comes along and really delivers the total package after a development cycle of years on end, it really shows me how much better some other titles could be if the developers poured more time and effort into creating a game that was so much more complete than a lot of titles we get on the modern market. Most shooter games, for example, could really benefit from a longer dev cycle – again it is very hard not to imagine COD being a lot better if the franchise was expanded upon and grows with a longer development cycle, rather than being churned out year after year.

That is why Skyrim has revived my gaming excitement – I’m excited to see where gaming goes from here, as I can hold Skyrim as a massive benchmark for other titles to beat from now on, as this is simply one of the best, most exciting gaming experiences I’ve had in a very long time.  It’s going to keep me going for months, and that, to me, is truly a videogame worth purchasing, as it has given me such joy and great experiences that last as long as I want them to.

For more on Skyrim, check out Eric Pederson’s review!

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