The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
A vast, varied, unique and complex role-playing game
- Intensely detailed and nuanced environments
- Excellent character development system
- Some gameplay elements (like the economy) are just a facade
- Mediocre combat system
Skyrim represents the culmination of a long balancing act, of all Bethesda's learned and mastered about epic nonlinear play. It's a triumph of freeform design, less a roleplaying game like so many popular D&D-haunted others than a glimpse of what it might be like to inhabit another world, its rules and interface folding seamlessly into the gameplay instead of snapping you out of the moment with Byzantine menus and soul-numbing math. If someone asks you where games are headed, you can point to this.
Price$ 89.95 (AUD)
A confession: I haven't finished Skyrim yet, so I don't know how it ends, except that I do, because it doesn't end, and there's no such thing as "finished" here, unless you count achievements, which you shouldn't — they account for a fraction of Skyrim's sights and sounds. I've clocked over 50 hours so far and I'm nowhere close. I've squatted in dozens of one-of-a-kind barrows deciphering puzzles, paddled through streams and over waterfalls, altered ledgers in shops to sabotage record-keeping, burned bee hives for profit, forged then refined hide helms using component parts, gone spelunking for strange gems, broken out of prison, broken into prison to do dark deeds, gone hunting for the truth about legends stumbled upon in books shelved in out-of-the-way dungeons, bought and outfitted a home, cooked food using scavenged and bought ingredients over that home's fire pit, planted filched goods to incriminate others, betrayed confidants, visited vast mystical trees the size of redwoods deep beneath the ground, taken a literal tour of a museum of curiosities, and stared in wonder — honest-to-goodness wonder — at the shimmering auroras that on rare occasion fill Skyrim's cold, arctic skies.
"When wind blows up and stormy weather makes clouds scud and the skies weep..."
Of course the closer you look, the more you're liable to find small discontinuities, a natural consequence of giving gamers more than they've ever had before and implying the world's deeper still. It's a world that sports a tentative albeit cosmetic economy. Woodsmen chop wood, and you can too. Blacksmiths craft weaponry and armour composed from realistic components, as can you. Log cutters even hook logs and roll them onto platforms that send them rolling over whirring saw-blades to fall in piles of timber. Alas, the economic import of these activities is only so deep. The log piles never deplete, and no one picks up the cut pieces, which endlessly reset to prevent spatial overflow. There's no economic interplay between towns, no trade routes to violate or caravans to plunder (though there are other things above and beyond Oblivion's knight-on-horseback patrols). While there's a patina of David Braben's Elite here, it's to set the mood — enjoy the Hollywood facade, in other words, just don't look past its doors and windows.
But that's as it should be, given Skyrim's scale and scope. Sometimes objects exist just to further your sense of place: a meadery housing oak barrels of ale, harvestable potato plants and leeks in a garden outside a family farm, a grain mill with a functional millstone, a chance meeting with revellers in a twilight glade who'll offer to share a bottle of ale, and so on. Half the time you'll spend just exploring for the sake of exploring, bumping into local flavour, admiring the world's variety and versatility, deeper than anything you've encountered before, from Liberty City to Bethesda's own post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. Bethesda wasn't kidding when it said Skyrim would come brimming with unique content — make that more by several orders of magnitude, then.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
- 2 Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review
- 3 Portable power: Venom Blackbook 13 Zero review
- 4 Alcatel Idol 4S review: King of the mid-range?
- 5 Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Review
Latest News Articles
- This week in games: Blizzard ditches Battle.net, Gears of War 4 adds PC split-screen
- Forza Horizon 3 (PC) review impressions: Get ready to make your graphics card sweat
- How Xbox Project Scorpio and the PS4 Pro can play 4K games: Visual compromises
- Games yanked from Steam after developer sues users for nasty negative reviews
- BioShock Remastered's brand new PC port is just as bad as the old one
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCBusiness Analyst with change management experienceACT
- FTCertification and Accreditation Security ConsultantACT
- CCTest Manager (HP Quality Centre / Kronos)NSW
- CCSecurity Cleared IT Professionals - Expression of InterestSA
- CCInformatica Developer (MDM)NSW
- FTCarrier/ Industrial Network ConsultantsWA
- CCIT Security ArchitectACT
- CCVideo Conference Support Officer- VoIP, LAN, WAN, RemedyNSW
- CCSolution ArchitectQLD
- FTOutbound TelesalesVIC
- CCNetwork Design Specialist - TelecommunicationsNSW
- FTBackup ConsultantWA
- FTTest SpecialistSA
- CCE-Commerce - Senior Web DeveloperNSW
- CCPMO AnalystNSW
- CCWAN Architect and ConsultantWA
- CCTechnical Architect/DesignerACT
- CCBI Reporting AnalystACT
- FTNetwork and Security Design EngineerNSW
- FTJava DeveloperNSW
- FTLinux Systems AdministratorNZ
- CCJava / J2ee ProgrammersACT
- CCContract Systems Analyst (IT Security) 160928/JP/653Asia
- CCSenior .NET DeveloperVIC
- CCDesktop Infrastructure SpecialistACT