‘The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’ does dragons right

Cordell Kintner

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Dragons are the main theme in the fi fth installment of the Elder Scrolls series, “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim”. These days, it seems that Dragons are the new zombies. Everyone is using them, from “How to Tame Your Dragon,” to “Minecraft”. But by far, The best use of them is in Skyrim, available for Microsoft Windows, PS3, and Xbox 360.

The game, produced by Bethesda Softworks, takes place in the snowy reaches of the land of Skyrim, a harsh land filled with massive mountains and rolling tundras. You start out as a prisoner, like all other “Elder Scrolls” games, and immediately have a dragon shoved in your face as it interrupts your execution by killing everyone, allowing you to make your escape. You later learn that you are Dragonborn, a mortal with the soul of a dragon. With your new found powers, you are the only thing standing between Alduin, the Dragon overlord, and the destruction of the world.

Skyrim is a great game, with rich dialogue, beautiful scenery, and best of all, massive amounts of customization. The game allows you to make your character look the way you want, fight the way you want, and act the way you want. One of the main improvements Skyrim brings to the “Elder Scrolls” series is how character creation works. No longer do you choose what your character will be like at the beginning of the game, you now develop your character through how you play.

Leveling in Skyrim works differently now than it did in its predecessors. When you increase a skill, you gain experience toward your next level, gaining more as specific skills progress. This way, you still get the feeling of the old games, but if you suddenly wanted to change from Two-Handed weapons to One-Handed, you would still gain experience from using them.

Combat has also been vastly improved upon. It is now more dangerous than ever, with the average battle lasting only a few seconds. This is a double edged sword, as it is entirely possible for you to die in a few seconds. Only the most powerful monsters take over a minute, most notably Dragon battles.

Dragons are powerful and numerous in the lands of Skyrim, and take massive power to overcome. Most encounters with them are also completely unscripted. Dragons can attack towns while you are shopping, or while you’re exploring the wilderness. You must defeat these dragons and absorb their souls to gain their knowledge of the Way of the Voice, the language dragons speak, in the form of Shouts. These shouts allow the player to do things like breath fire, call upon a thunderstorm or even misdirect your opponents.

It is entirely possible for a Dragon to wipe out an entire town, leaving no one to barter with, or eliminating someone you needed to talk to for a quest. While this seems like a game breaker, the good people at Bethesda introduced a new system into the game: Radiant Story. This system allows for things such as Dragon attacks to be possible, while still keeping the game playable. If someone important dies, they are usually replaced with a family member, of if none are available, a generically named NPC. Not only does this prevent some quests from being impossible to complete, but also allows for a more vibrant and rich experience.

Overall, Skyrim is an extremely great game, and the minor bugs, such as furniture disappearing from your house or getting launched 200 feet in the air by a Giant, in no way affect the hours of game play possible in this game. Skyrim gets 5 dragon heads out of 5.