You HAVE to Play Skyrim

By Matthew Smith

Welcome to the series “You HAVE to play this,” where I will write and break down a video game you HAVE to play each week. This week, as you can tell by the title, the game you have to play is Skyrim. This game is definitely in my top three of all time. I have been playing Skyrim ever since its release in 2011. Obviously I have taken extensive breaks in between, but I undoubtedly, if I had to guess, have a few good weeks in hours played on this game…outside can be scary. It is the fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls series by Bethesda Game Studios. Skyrim is not just any ordinary game; it offers a sprawling experience set in a richly detailed world that entices adventurers of all sorts. Its immersive gameplay, breathtaking landscapes, and profound lore continue to captivate players even a decade after its release. When you’re finished reading this, hopefully, you’ll understand why I have spent so many hours playing arguably one of the best RPG video games ever. 


Rich Environment 

One of the things that makes Skyrim worth playing is its world. It is vast, with towering mountains, verdant forests, and bustling cities. Each location has its own character and history, making exploration a rewarding experience. The game features a dynamic weather system and a day-night cycle that affects the world in real-time, from the behavior of its inhabitants to the creatures that roam the wilds, creating a vibrant and alive world.


A Game of Freedom

 Skyrim’s best feature is the freedom it offers players. You can follow the epic main quest or stray off the beaten path to explore to your heart’s content. If you want to face the final boss with all the best weapons, equipment and skills you can choose to do so. The choices you make, from the factions you join to the outcomes of quests, have tangible and game-altering impacts on the world and its people. This freedom extends to character selection & customization as well. Skyrim allows players to choose from 10 different races, each with unique abilities and active powers, ranging from Argonian lizard lookalikes who can breathe underwater and heal quicker to Kahjiit’s who look like feline humans who use night vision to their advantage…I promise you this game has human characters in it. This freedom extends to allowing you to play exactly how you want, whether as a stealthy archer, a powerful mage or even a brute warrior; upgrading skills tailored to your character build is the best approach when starting your journey.


Game Narrative

The game’s narrative is deep and multifaceted, with a main storyline that delves into the prophecy of the Dragonborn, who the player plays as; the dragonborn is an individual with a mortal body but has the blood and soul of a dragon. People of Skyrim believe the Dragonborn appears in times of great need, and the main storyline delves into this as dragons have somehow returned to Skyrim, causing mayhem! Other side quests include dealing with the ongoing civil war between the outlawed Stormcloaks and the empire, a.k.a the government, that tears the province apart. Other countless side quests and stories await, each adding layers to the game’s world and history. To put things in perspective, it takes around 40 hours to complete the main quest and about 230 hours to achieve 100% completion. The game is never ending and there will always be things to do and discover in Skyrim. The lore is not just presented through quests; it’s woven into the environment, the books you find, and the people you meet, making exploration and interaction as rewarding as the quests themselves. 


Combat Mechanics

Combat in Skyrim is visceral and engaging, with a wide array of weapons, spells, and abilities to master. The game introduces dragon shouts like the famous Fus Ro Dah or Unrelenting Force, which pushes objects and enemies back a reasonable distance, and powerful spells in the dragon language that can turn the tide of battle. You’ll face various enemies, from bandits and wild animals to dragons and ancient undead. Each enemy requires different strategies, keeping combat fresh and challenging. 


Mods… Why not

Skyrim’s longevity is significantly bolstered by its vibrant modding community. Mods range from graphical enhancements, new items to discover entirely, new quests and lands to explore, and even replacing dragons with bloodthirsty ‘My Little Ponies’ flying through the sky determined to try and take you out. The modding community has kept Skyrim fresh and exciting for over a decade, with new mods still being released regularly. 



Lastly, the most compelling reason to play Skyrim is its escape into another world. In times of stress and uncertainty, Skyrim provides a sanctuary, a place to lose oneself in adventure and exploration. The sense of discovery and wonder that comes with delving into ancient ruins, climbing the highest peaks, and searching for secrets is unparalleled. In conclusion, Skyrim is not just a video game; it’s a portal to a meticulously crafted world teeming with adventure, mystery, and beauty. Whether you’re drawn to its expansive world, engaging gameplay, or the freedom to carve your path, Skyrim offers an experience that few games can match. If you haven’t yet taken the journey into the heart of Tamriel, there’s no better time to start.

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