The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (preview)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is going to be one of the hottest games of 2011

Bethesda Softworks The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Bethesda Softworks The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Bethesda Softworks The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Expert Rating

    5.00 / 5

Pros

  • Intensely detailed and nuanced environments
  • Excellent character development system

Cons

  • Some gameplay elements (like the economy) are just a facade
  • Mediocre combat system

Bottom Line

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.

Would you buy this?

It's almost exactly five years since The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was released. But fans of the Elder Scrolls series — and it has a lot of fans — have almost eight months still to wait until the next part of the series is released. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be the newest addition to the first-person action RPG franchise, and it's due to be released on November 11.

Check out our collection of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim screenshots.

Keep your Dragon Age IIs, your Dead Space 2s and even L.A. Noire. For many gamers, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is shaping up to be the release of the year (okay, there's also Diablo III).

In a blog entry at Elderscrolls.com/ game director Todd Howard explained that after Bethesda Game Studios finished Oblivion, the team "dove full steam into making Fallout 3. But we did put down a few ideas on paper about what we’d do after Fallout, and that would be Skyrim, featuring the return of dragons to the Elder Scrolls. We usually start with an overall tone of the game. And Skyrim spoke to all of us. The original home of men: rugged, weathered. The ancient power of the Nords would come to life through their shouts. You would battle with dragons, using their language, and become the one thing they fear: Dovahkiin, the Dragonborn. Five years later and we’re excited to finally share some of this vision as it comes to life on the screen."

The events of Skyrim will take place two centuries after those depicted in Oblivion (the events of oblivion consisting mainly of picking flowers and herbs, mercilessly slaughtering innocent villages and accumulating a large number of houses, if we recall correctly; oh, and closing a few Oblivion gates). Skyrim takes place in, er Skyrim — with the game area being about the size of Oblivion's.

Bethesda has revealed that Skyrim will use a new engine — not Gamebryo, which was used for Fallout 3, Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.

Along with improved visuals, Skyrim will offer tweaked combat, improved AI and dragons. We're not sure which of those we're most excited about. Needless to say, it's going to be an agonising wait until November 11.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows.

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