Bethesda’s ‘Skyrim’ offers robust, fun experience

Granted, “Skyrim” came out several weeks ago, but this is not the type of game you play for five hours and then render judgment. We at The Oracle are busy folks, so I wanted to refrain from talking about “Skyrim” until I played enough to give the game a fair critique. After 40 hours of game play, I think I’m ready.

Developer Bethesda Game Studios offers a robust world centered on the story of the main character and his or her quest to prevent the apocalypse. Dragons, which most characters considered only legend, have begun attacking settlements in the area and you must find the reason for their return from the dead.

You are a ‘Dragonborn,’ a seemingly dead lineage that shares a common heritage with dragons, which grants you special powers. Amid your quest, you must deal with warring factions fighting a civil war.

The main storyline is very enticing, offering enough intrigue to keep you pushing to see the conclusion. Along the way, the player has endless options for side quests and well over 150 landmarks to explore for loot. If you skip over the dungeons spread across the map, you’re going to be missing a great part of the game.

I really dug the leveling system, which does not force you to pick a traditional RPG class, but allows you to mix-and-match as you choose. Want to be a wizard wearing heavy armor? Feel free to join my club.

The visuals are fantastic and aside from the usual massively open world, game bugs (clipping issues and some wonky physics), I did not notice any major problems. As a note, I have been playing on the PC and have read reports of lag and bug problems on the console versions.

Although the combat can be repetitive after awhile, I didn’t really get that feeling until near the end of the game. In addition, fighting dragons is something that never gets old. Every time I hear the music shift in the background, denoting a dragon’s presence, I’m filled with the same excitement as the first dragon battle.

“Skyrim” is a heck of a game. I’ve spent an excessive amount of time playing already and I anticipate the trend to continue, much to the detriment of my study habits for finals week. With so much available content, you’ll definitely get enough bang for your buck.

Final Grade: A

Rating: M