Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to the very first review on InsideTheBox. I chose to review Skyrim first because I feel it is an essential game to have on your preferred platform. The game is available on the Windows Operating System, the Sony Playstation 3 and the Microsoft Xbox 360. For the purposes of this review, the Xbox 360 version of the game was used.

First, let me start of by saying, thanks for joining us today. I would like to discuss Skyrim’s core gameplay first. In Skyrim, you start of the game by selecting your character. There is a large variety. You can be a Nord, an Orc, Dunmer, Imperial and many other races. The race you choose will later effect your stats and your skills in particular.

As you progress through the starting quests, you begin to pickup weapons and armor. Weapons include the mace, sword, arrows and a variety of blades, axes and other tools you can use to abuse and murder anyone you please. More on that later. Weapons can be either single-handed or dual-handed. Dual hand weapons slow you down and require, as the name suggests, both hands to use. Single handed weapons can be used with a shield or magic.

Magic plays a key part in the game. A variety of spells are available, subdivided into categories. These categories are;

  • Spells of Alteration
  • Spells of Conjuration
  • Spells of Destruction
  • Spells of Illusion and
  • Spells of Restoration

Using these, you can regenerate health at the cost of “magicka” (the magicka bar shows how much magic you can use, after using a spell, it will deplete a certain amount and slowly regenerate). You can also summon slave warriors from corpses and enchant your weaponry at the cost of your magicka.

Each of these categories can be individually leveled-up. As you level up, you can add to your skill in a certain number of these types of magic, and in other skills such as crafting, two-handed weapons, single-handed weapons, smithing, lockpicking, pickpocketing and many others. The level up system is presented in a beautiful and colourful interface, which is very engaging to the user.

Another very popular thing to happen in the world of Skyrim is the appearance of a dragon. Dragons attack cities, guard “relics” (which allow you to learn new spells) and sometimes, just randomly spawn in the map. They can often offer a very interesting reward for the user and require only a few minutes to dispose of. They have excellent animations and each dragon is given it’s own unique appearance.

We shall now move on to the killing I mentioned earlier. You can walk into a village and attack a shopkeeper, stealing their inventory of items, however, if you do this, the residents of the world become aware of your acts. The all are aware of their surroundings and the current events in the world. If you brutally murder someone, they may refuse to speak to you and express insulting comments about you as they walk by. However, sometimes, the may attack you. You can be driven out the town by alpha-Nemale characters, and chased for miles away. You may need to wait a week before you can return to the town without getting attacked and trying to make a frantic dash for the exit.

Have a lot of items in your inventory can slow you down. Your stamina bar (which depletes as you do strenuous activities) will decrease at a faster rate the more items in your possession. As in most Bethesda games, your inventory weight is capped and you cannot exceed a certain weight.

Another thing I would like to talk about is the number of quests available to you in the game. Two hours in, I was presented with no less than 15 quests. Many of these are optional. The value you receive from this game is simply amazing, and will keep many players playing for a possible 100 hours+. You will never run short of things to do. Even if you run out of quests (I take my hat off to you if you can achieve this feat), you can still battle and level up, improving your smithing and magic, allowing you to craft new weapons, armor and shields.

The variety of items available in this game is astonishing. There are more than 100 items which can be used a weapons, over 100 items of clothing, ale, beer, wine, cheese is also a prominent food type, a variety of animal meats, grapes, bread and hundreds of other items of various kinds.

The attention to detail in the game is brilliant. Bethesda have clearly put much effort into the attention to detail. Almost every house which you can enter in the game is uniquely designed and laid-out. Each house is outfitted with it’s own stock of furniture and items and almost every dwelling on the map has had time spent on it individually.

Now, I move onto the graphic quality of the game. The graphics are simply spectacular on this game. The clear and crisp surroundings in the world are extremely well designed. It is difficult to notice a pixel out of place. Even when up close to the buildings, their graphic design does not turn in any way pixelated or low quality. The HD quality graphics remain throughout and I cannot spot any fault in the art design of the game. In this respect, the game gets a 10/10 rating. The graphics are one of the best I have seen in any game and almost match the maximum resolution graphics running on the PC version of the game, which I also tested briefly. The PS3 version of the game also has excellent graphics. I would conclude that all 3 versions; PC, 360 and PS3 are almost equal in terms of graphics. I can truly say, Bethesda have delivered an amazing quality of graphics in their most recent game.

One fault in the game I must bring forward. Bugs. There are quite a few bugs in the game. Several have been addressed, however, many still exist. Naturally, we do have to give grace. The huge map of Skyrim with thousand of sprites and spawned items, characters and enemies are bound to hold many bugs. Bethesda have been swift to address any major game breaking bugs however, and I have not yet experienced any bugs which lower the user’s experience of the game.

The games soundtrack is excellent, voices are brilliant and diverse and sound effects are of premium quality. The range of customization in the game is overwhelming and this game will keep you interested for hours on end. This game truly is a spectacular release from Bethesda and an essential to all PC, PS3 and 360 owners.

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