The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC

The latest chapter in The Elder Scrolls saga, re-imagines and revolutionises the open-world fantasy epic.

Review Verdict Read Review
9Out of 10
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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim screenshot
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim screenshot

Talent perks can only be unlocked if the player has reached a requisite proficiency level with in a type of attack or skill. So, for example, if your character fights most battles with a two-handed battleaxe, their two-handed proficiency will rise faster than their defensive or one-handed attack skills. The talents aren't limited to combat, though; skills such as blacksmithing, alchemy, lockpicking, sneaking and bartering are also available for a boost. Once again, the more players use these skills, the more perks become available for unlocking.

The talent-trees themselves are represented by swirling star constellations in the heavens above Skyrim and are both beautiful to look at and easy to navigate. That latter quality is, fortunately, shared by all of the game's menus and while it may sound like a bulletpoint on a factsheet to praise the menu system, Bethesda really do deserve some credit for its work in this respect. Given the volume of abilities, attacks and information players need to have readily available to them in the game, a poor menu system could have easily turned Skyrim into a chore.

That certainly doesn't happen here; players can easily flip between their inventory, magic abilities, talent trees and their map of the world by simply hitting the B button (in the Xbox 360 version tested) and flicking the right stick. They can hotkey any item or magical ability by highlighting it with the Y button, and mapping it to the D-Pad. They can also choose any perspective to play the game from; clicking in the right thumbstick switches the camera from first to third-person view, and by holding in the right stick and panning back with the left, players can shift their perspective to as close or as far away as they like.

If Skyrim has one weak spot, it's the fact that occasionally the odd bug in the gameplay raises its ugly head. Players may find their heroic efforts hit a snag when they become stuck against a piece of scenery, or prompted to talk to a character that remains oblivious to all of their prodding. These aren't deal-breakers, necessarily, and to an extent they're to be expected from a game this size. Most of them can be avoided by loading a previous save, but there were one or two instances in our play-through, which threatened to hold up my progression.

In one mission, where my task was to become wedded to the in-game love of my life, I was informed that I'd failed to get married after being jilted at the altar. When I tried to get hitched a second time, my bride-to-be arrived at the church with no eyes in her head, making her wedding vows seem more than a tad sinister. There were also a couple of instances where the game crashed completely, requiring a console reboot. With all of this in mind, we urge you to remember that this is a Bethesda Game and while auto-saves occur between entering and exiting new environments, players risk being hurled back into early stages of the game if they don't save well and save often.

In the light of the game's impressive strengths, however, all of this criticism feels like unnecessary nitpicking. Skyrim is easily one of the strongest and best examples of the Western RPG, and it further establishes Bethesda's reputation as one of the most talented and creative forces in the gaming industry. Moreover, it offers players a world so vast they could easily become lost in it, and so beautiful they may never wish to return from it.

See you all next spring...

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User Comments

draytone's Avatar


You might not get a job after getting it... strange how the size of the game is putting me off a little.
Posted 09:54 on 15 November 2011
87Sarah's Avatar


Sounds like if I'm going to get this, I should before I get a job.
Posted 09:53 on 15 November 2011
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ draytone

Hours? I have hours. What I need for this game is a whole other life to play it while I work, sleep, eat, drink and enjoy my family with the other ;)

It's certainly worth making sure you have the time to play it before getting too into it. I'm actually playing it and I already feel somewhat overwhelmed by the number of quests I have and the scale and quantity of options I have at my disposal lol
Posted 09:47 on 15 November 2011
draytone's Avatar


Decided to hold off for a few weeks, thinking about maybe picking it up around Christmas. From what I've read, it looks amazing. It's going to be hard to find the hours.
Posted 09:39 on 15 November 2011
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ tvr77

It's as hands on as any RPG you'll ever play. If you've never played Fallout 3 either then this will certainly be a breath of fresh air to you. The only real way you compare this to a Final Fantasy or similar Japanese RPG is that you level your characters up, have some part in the way the story plays out and there are random battle encounters.

Oh yes there are.

I dont know if this is difficulty level specific (i'm playing on Expert from the beginning, which is fricken hard with the build i've chosen! lol) but i've come across enemies wandering around and been killed, then gone back to the same place and there be nothing there or a different enemy in it's place!

You swing every blow of your weapon, if you want to block you have to raise your shield yourself. But if your shield isnt strong enough or your blocking skill isnt high enough you'll still take a bit of damage and be staggered back.

Arrows and magic aren't based on background dice rolls, if you fire an arrow you have to make sure you draw your bow enough to reach the target and that you offset your targeting to take into account the distance and arc of the arrow. projectiles move in real time and you can physically dodge them if you see it coming.

Enemies will hear you move around if you're wearing heavy armour, spells make a helluva noise. If you miss with an arrow or anything then enemies will investigate the sound. This even means you can intentionally fire away from them to distract a target. Sneaking/stealth is heavily influenced by this, you're more concealed in the dark, the faster you move the more likely you are to make noise and the more likely you are to be seen.

Hands on? There's very little you DON'T do yourself in this game.

This is easily the best WRPG i've played, and I didn't like Oblivion at all really, couldn't get in to it. But luckily I've already found a book in Skyrim that tells me the whole Oblivion story anyway ;) No loss! lol.

I'm playing an Arcane Archer build btw, which is not easy, someone gets the jump on you and you really struggle to get al your defensive and utility spells up in time. Couple of bruisers with greatswords can easily take me down in 3 or 4 swings >.> Conversely my dual-wielded Bound Swords can kill one of them in a single hit....if they dont have shields. Shields are what i'm struggling with atm :|

EDIT: I'm actually playing on Expert..
Posted 21:59 on 12 November 2011
tvr77's Avatar

tvr77@ Wido

i get that, only there not completely different there both rpg's, :) i ment is skyrim as hands on as mass effect is, im not really into games like final fantasy, where you pick a certain attack etc and it does it all for you, i really enjoyed deus ex also because its an rpg but still has lots of action and fps style gameplay, i just really like the look of skyrim, so i think i am just grab a copy, pronto style, thanks for your help peeps
Posted 20:29 on 12 November 2011
dudester's Avatar


I'm tempted by skyrim and I didn't get on with oblivion at all.
Posted 14:36 on 12 November 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido@ tvr77

Completely different to Mass Effect. In no such way does it even have something similiar to Mass Effect. You should really try Oblivion, but with what I have played so far of Skyrim. You might as well skip Oblivion and dive straight into Skyrim, as it is, 10x better than Oblivion already... Bold claim indeed and I will stand by it!
Posted 10:31 on 12 November 2011
reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio@ tvr77

Definitely more Mass Effect than FF I'd say. I think that if you're interested you should give it a go - everyone I know who has it already is in love with it!
Posted 09:55 on 12 November 2011
tvr77's Avatar


im looking for a bit of advice, im not a big rpg fan but i loved mass effect 2 and didnt like final fantasy much, i think its because mass effect is more hands on with the action etc, so iv been looking at skyrim and i think it looks great but with all the games out right now i dont want to make a mistake, with regards to rpg is skyrim more mass effect or final fantasy, if you get what i mean, cheers
Posted 15:58 on 11 November 2011
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ draytone

Ha Ha! - 5 Hours a day and it should only take 60 days - hope there aren't too many people waiting for it after me :0/

It's more to try it out for a week or so to see if I want to buy it! I found Oblivion a bit hit and miss and never finished it so as much as I'm looking forward to this one I'm a bit cautious about actually buying it.
Posted 11:51 on 11 November 2011
TomPearson's Avatar


Watch the extended play for the invisible horse!
Posted 11:07 on 11 November 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar


Come ON, Postie!!

The anticipation is tangible up here!
Posted 10:27 on 11 November 2011
draytone's Avatar


300 hour game as a rental? Good luck!
Posted 09:21 on 11 November 2011
guyderman's Avatar


\0/ Should arrive today from Lovefilm as it was dispatched yesterday - can't wait to get started on it - just got the last little bit of MW3's SP campaign to finish first otherwise I know I won't return to it once I start this!
Posted 08:02 on 11 November 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Out of 10
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Huge amount of quests and activities
  • Well-written and compelling narrative
  • Vast deep and detailed world
  • Occasionally buggy
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 11/11/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: RPG
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 601 1
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