This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.
Skyrim has been out for a while now, and I think that we have all had plenty of time to play it. Some of us might have had too much time. I have some friends that have already dropped over 100 hours into the game. In all of the years that I have been gaming, I have never had a game that so many of my friends are playing. If I log onto Steam, there will probably be at least one other person playing Skyrim. At one point, I had seven people all online playing Skyrim. There was almost 300,000 people playing it on Steam just after it released. It is a very popular game, and there is good reason for it to be so.
Skyrim is by far the best at giving you freedom. A lot of games limit where you can go, and in which order you meet characters. They guide you through a story that they have created, and you experience it the way that they want you to. Skyrim creates a story around you, based on where you go and who you talk to. You can pretty much meet everyone, go anywhere, and there is always things to do everywhere that you travel. There is never a moment where you’ll feel bored. Your quest log will always be full, and it will always be filling up faster than you can empty it. Even if you are sick of everything that you are currently doing, you can just wander off into any direction and find something completely new to entertain you.
Just about every NPC has a daily routine, and they are all part of some sort of quest. The only NPCs that are nameless faces are the guards that patrol every city. Everyone else is up to something, If you walk up and talk to them, they’ll have some juicy gossip for you, something political that they want to complain about, or they might have something that they need help with. Even if they don’t seem like they have much to say at first, they will probably be a part of a quest later.
Every city feels like a unique location. Some have dirt roads and houses with thatched roofs, other have cobblestone streets and brick houses. There is a story to be told in every city. Citizens will run up to you and tell you their problems. Every tavern keeper is filled with juicy gossip that they will tell you, and if you investigate these rumors you’ll find some very interesting quests.
The way you level up is organic, and you can customize in many different ways without creating a weak, or broken, character. In Oblivion, it was possible to level up and make it impossible to play the game. Skyrim let’s you play as a mace-wielding mage, a poison-dealing archer, a dual-wielding thief, a fire mage with an affinity for heavy armor, an ice mage, or any combination that you can think up. I never felt penalized for choosing the “wrong” way to level up. I’ve even dabbled with a few different things, just to check them out, and it hasn’t hurt my progression at all. My stealthy thief has been able to put some points in magicka and learn a few spells, without sacrificing my progression of stealth and combat.
Skyrim has a huge open world, and it’s a blast to run around in. You can do whatever the hell you want, and the game responds ridiculously well. It’s the perfect example of how to create a sandbox game. It’s more than just a random quest generator, and a bunch of repetitious side-quests. Other popular sandbox games, like Assassin’s Creed, bloat their game length by giving you unlocks to buy that don’t have a huge impact on gameplay, they create a handful of quest types that they expect you do over and over again. Skyrim has an insane amount of hand-crafted missions, that are filled with great voice acting, writing, and level design. It’s a freakin’ huge game.
It’s incredibly well made, and it has received a terrific response from reviewers. Critics love this game. It has some of the best design, sound, graphics, and gameplay in any RPG ever released. More important than the acclaim of critics, Skyrim is selling well and fans love it. Even gamers who aren’t fans of the Elder Scrolls series like Skyrim. It is the most popular one in the series, and at the rate that it is selling it will have more people playing it than the Fallout series.
It’s no an accident that Skyrim is a good game. Bethesda is one of the few developers out there that is dedicated to creating a good product. While other studious are rushing to get out games every year, and they spend more time cramming multiplayer into everything than they do crafting a good story, Bethesda is only interested in making the best experience for the player. That’s all it really takes to make an amazing game, and everyone else should start doing it. Thanks Bethesda, you did a fantastic job, and we’ll all be playing Skyrim for hundreds of hours.