Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
What I liked:
- Visually, top-notch. Amazing and diverse scenery across a large, open world.
- The complete and utter freedom of it all in terms of who you are and what you do.
- (PC only) the incredible modding potential. At one point I had over 40 mods working at once; from major graphical improvements to additional weapons and items, much as with Oblivion, the experience can last ten times as long when you mod it. Bethesda are notably mod-friendly.
- Finishing moves are pretty brutal; the first ES game with decapitations!
- Archery and Magic have drastically improved; bows have much more impact to them, and perks help keep them as more than viable weapons. Magic is much more fun to use now, and your spells get more powerful on-the-go; as well as there being a greater availability of spells.
- New perk system improves upon pretty much every area of skill, and provides more options.
- Dual-wielding system is quite fun to tinker around with; a simple mechanic, yet with great gameplay potential.
- Some really amazing questlines - most notably that of the Thieves guild. In Oblivion, the Thieves' guild quests were repetitive and rather dull. This time around, they're actually some of the better moments of the game.
What I didn't like:
- Lockpicking tree feels mandatory for all characters as there is no other alternative (magic unlock spells have been removed, and there is no ability to break locks). More so, completing the tree is unnecessary, and even in the event that you decide to do so, the final perks (such as 'skeleton key') render the entire tree (and every perk spent therein) completely redundant.
- Removal/merging of certain skills is a bit disappointing. For example, the unarmed skill tree no longer exists, and all weapon trees have been sorted into either 1-hand or 2-hand. (meaning that weapons like daggers are no longer a specialty, as skill with 1-handed weapons covers all.)
- The speech tree is largely uninteresting, which is disappointing considering how effective (and fun) the skill was in Bethesda's Fallout 3. As it stands in Skyrim, there are very few scenarios where speech comes in handy. The skill itself and all related perks serve only to help with bartering.
- Dual-wielding swords can feel a bit like taking several steps backwards considering the complete loss of a block ability, and that you can only really use the two weapons at the same time for a repeated attack animation. It's alright, but I think it could have been executed better.
- There's a distinct inability to jump whilst sprinting, and control of your character can feel immensely clunky in the attempt.
- Horses are awkward and otherwise poorly implemented this time around.
- The vampire system still feels backwards (and thus rather pointless). Also, vampires are still ungodly hideous in appearance.
- All manner of elf facial-structure looks like something an 8-year-old moulded out of a chunk of play-dough.
Game Traits applied to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PC) by Fruitlewp