Yes, I know I'm roughly SEVEN YEARS late to the party on this one (just like Link was in Ocarina Of Time, funnily enough), but unless you’ve been living under a rock and have literally never even SEEN the Internet before, chances are you’ve heard just about every possible hype-related thing that there is to know about Skyrim. The game is, for lack of a better word, legendary, held as the eternal gold standard for all open-world RPGs to follow after it...and let me just say right now that (flame shield activated) this game is absolutely TERRIBLE. Like, honestly, I actually pretty strongly regret how much I criticized the modern-day Fallout games (3 and 4, to be exact) when compared to this exhaustingly, repulsively, outright demeaningly over-inflated sack of drivel.

I’ll be honest; the game DID start out fairly decent and somewhat interesting (if mostly only story-wise), but once I started to realize just how RIDICULOUSLY shallow and flat-out BROKEN this game was (yes, even MORE so than Oblivion before), I honestly found it difficult to even tolerate playing for more than a few (yes, A FEW) hours at a time. Basically EVERYTHING that was horrendously botched about this game was magnificently fixed by its almost-equally-praised spiritual successors (Witcher 3, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, etc), and therefore, I feel it’s about time I went into every reason why all of the hype surrounding this game is COMPLETELY and utterly wrong in basically every possible way.

(Please note: Most of the game was played using the Smilodon: Combat Of Skyrim mod, the Dragonborn DLC also hasn’t been played yet, and I was playing the heavily gimped PS4 version of the Special Edition console-port remake, meaning both that the modding system was VERY heavily nerfed and that swinging melee weapons and shooting arrows no longer required stamina.)

STORY: Personally, I’d much rather skip all of the extraneous fluff contained in the game’s many, many books (as entertainingly fascinating as it is) and just immediately get straight to the boring, meaningless and ungodly cliched gist of the game’s MAIN plot: You’re the legendary Dovahkiin (Dragonborn) sent on a mission to slay the dragons (most importantly the evil World-Eater one called Alduin) and must learn the Way Of The Voice (does FUS RO DAH ring a bell to you?) in order to complete said task. Seriously, THAT’S IT.

Yes, I’ll admit that some of the character dialogue is indeed pretty well-written and that the races, monsters, and towns present in its setting DO have a quite shockingly impressive amount of lore behind them, but for a game whose storyline was hyped up to be THE most grand, amazing and epic thing in existence...sorry, it just isn’t enough to compensate. The way that the story is specifically tailor-made for you to play as the Nord class (as that’s essentially what all of the Dragonborn’s canonical ancestors were) is also incredibly short-sighted and irritating as well. Honestly, in terms of core plot, this is barely even more of a story than Fallout 3 had, and believe me, the gameplay does NOT make up for it; in fact, it actually rather egregiously takes AWAY from it, if I do say so myself.

GAMEPLAY: Now, I know I really shouldn’t be expecting MUCH from a Bethesda game as far as gameplay is concerned, but sweet CHRIST is this game unbearable at times (actually, no, scratch that, pretty much ALL the time, unless you mod it RIDICULOUSLY heavily with gameplay-enhancing features).

The game is overlong, overblown and overwrought to such an absolutely INSANE extent that I almost cannot even believe my eyes just LOOKING at it. The side quests go on absolutely forever (LITERALLY forever, thanks to the game’s universally infamous “Radiant Questing” feature that later got carried over MUCH more notoriously into Fallout 4) and are almost never entertaining in the process, the looting system gives you all KINDS of pointless, worthless junk that you NEVER actually need if you’re playing the game properly (alchemy ingredients, two-handed melee weapons, etc), the quests themselves (yes, even the MAIN ones) are as tediously redundant and repetitive as Hell itself, the hand-holding often reaches the point where characters literally say the exact same thing TWICE in a row...and most importantly of all, the combat is utterly ATROCIOUS even by Bethesda’s standards.

Normally, I would be able to forgive a game like this for being hilariously unbalanced, but I’ve tried literally EVERY way that there is of playing this game, and I seriously did not find even a single sodding ONE of them enjoyable. Being a Destruction mage requires you to exploit the magic-stat and especially perk-tree systems in a way that COMPLETELY breaks the game into so many pieces that it isn’t even FUNNY (dual-casting stun-lock perk, also known as Impact, anyone?) in order to make it viable, being a stealth archer just makes the enemy AI look even MORE one-dimensional and stupid than it already is, playing the warrior class is basically suicide unless you mod a dodge button into the game (which, even then, is STILL pretty hugely debatable as to whether or not it’s actually worth all of the hassle), trying to effectively use high-level spells as a Mage is pretty much a lost cause, playing the game with AI companions (ESPECIALLY the vampire chick from the Dawnguard DLC) just completely trivializes the vast majority of it altogether regardless OF difficulty setting, the Master and Legendary difficulty settings (for all intensive purposes) are literally impossible in the vanilla game unless you exploit the living BEJEEZUS out of it…

Seriously, what was so fun about this game again, besides exploring the overworld and discovering all of its hidden secrets and locations (along with reading books and SOMETIMES talking to NPCs, depending on what mood I’m in?) Oh, and the fact that I ended up having to save-state so much due to cheaply placed instant deaths from (ABSURDLY gargantuan damage sponges OF) enemies, combined with how miserably easy mostly all of the boss fights (ESPECIALLY the dragons) were, pretty much took away any sort of accomplishment sense I could’ve potentially gotten from the game as well, so there's also that too.

(Oh, and the game just generally being a glitchy mess doesn’t help matters either.)

SOUND: As is tradition with Bethesda games, the voice acting is laughably bad (and features a pretty annoyingly noticeable amount of reused voices between characters as well) and the sound design is just plain WRONG at times (seriously, why do arrows make the exact same clanging sound effect as full-blown SWORDS?)...however, the MUSIC for this game actually IS remarkably grand, cinematic and epic, and beautifully fits the medieval fantasy setting that it takes place in. If nothing else, props to it for that at least.

GRAPHICS: Honestly, for being made by Bethesda during the PS3/XB360 era, this game holds up impressively well visually; while the actual modeling and texturing of the visuals might be pretty mediocre at best, the whimsical and ethereal art style that the game’s world is presented in is simply nothing if not inspired, and although it’s obviously been lessened a bit by the seemingly perpetual winters of this game’s namesake kingdom, the whole “beautifully lush overgrown ruins” aesthetic from Oblivion is still ASTONISHINGLY present here; once again, props to it for that, at least, if basically nothing else.

OVERALL: Now, don’t get me wrong, I certainly DO understand how “revolutionary” everyone THOUGHT that this game was to its genre “at the time” when it came out. Let’s be REAL here for just a second, however: besides accessibility, is there really ANYTHING about this game that Morrowind and Oblivion (and possibly even Daggerfall) haven’t already done CONSIDERABLY better AND with overall less generic and cliched of a storyline? If you really can, then I won’t hold it against you, but ignoring the hype and simply judging it by its actual overall quality as a game, Skyrim is a very, very, VERY generous 5/10.

Let’s just hope that Elder Scrolls VI is at least considerably better...


This is honestly the biggest example of why it should be quality over quantity in gaming, Skyrim may be very large, but the lack of unique and interesting content really brings it down. - kempokid

Now we just need a game with the length/lore of Skyrim AND the overall quality of Breath Of The THAT would be the perfect open-world game - xandermartin98