We gave you our impressions of the PC version of The Elder Scrolls VI: Skyrim almost as soon as it was launched.
But now we’ve had some time to get even further into Skyrim’s vast, untamed world on the Xbox 360 edition and the experience continues to be as absorbing and surprising as we had hoped.
So far we’ve notched up about 50 hours of gameplay, yet this epic still shows no signs of coming to a close.
If you’re not already familiar with Elder Scrolls games, they are single-player fantasy role-playing games (RPG) that are played from a first-person perspective (though there is an option to switch to third-person view if preferred).
Skyrim, as with its most recent forebears, Oblivion and Morrowind, offers a huge open world to explore.
There is a main quest path to follow, where you are tasked with finding a way to halt a recent resurgence of dragons, as well as a branching sub-quest, where you need to take sides amidst a political struggle.
Not only that, but there are also quite literally hundreds of side-quests that can be completed at your own discretion.
Unlike a lot of RPGs, Skyrim is very easy to get the hand of.
For the most part it plays out like any other single player action game. You don’t need to learn any special turn-based combat systems or spend too much time tinkering in menus.
What goes best with Skyrim? Console or Mouse/ Keyboard?
The interface is very streamlined and, in some ways, makes more sense with a console controller than it does with a mouse and keyboard.
The console version of the game doesn’t have quite the same high level of graphical polish as its PC cousin, but it’s pretty visually impressive all the same.
Water, ice and snow – of which there is a great deal in Skyrim’s chilly environments – are all rendered realistically, while the game’s cohesive art direction gives the impression of a living, breathing world that’s populated by thousands of fully-voiced characters.
Stirring music adds further to the game’s epic feel.
The game continues to suffer from a few minor bugs, even after the release of two separate patches but, aside from a few shards of shattered pottery suspended in mid-air, we’ve not encountered anything so far on our Xbox play-through to spoil our sense of immersion.
Fantasy role-playing games might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Skyrim is an astonishing achievement with an appeal that goes way beyond the limitations of the genre, whether you’re playing at your desktop or on your living-room TV.