The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Reviews

The flood of reviews for Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim seems endless so far, and we have rounded up another meaty batch of them for you to read, with scores and opinions not dissimilar from the ones we have already posted about.

GameInformer, 9.50/10.
The biggest problem Skyrim runs into has plagued every Bethesda-developed game I've played: It's buggy. Not to the degree that Oblivion was Bethesda makes headway in delivering a more stable product, but I ran into numerous bugs that forced me to reload previous saves. The auto-save system charts several recent points, which can be a relief, but losing progress is annoying and can erase significant victories and character development. If you play the game for dozens of hours, you'll likely run into setbacks like these a few times. Some of the glitches can be quite funny. For instance, one of my followers floated behind me horizontally like Han Solo trapped in Carbonite. I also killed a dragon in one hit, yet its skeleton remained alive and invincible in the world (I named him Broken, the fearsome).

These problems, as unwanted as they are, don't hold Skyrim back from being Bethesda Game Studios' finest release to date. This is one of those games that I go into with a clear idea of what I want to accomplish, but somehow along the way find myself on the other side of the continent with eight hours of gameplay under my belt and no checkmarks next to my planned tasks. Skyrim ruled my life for two straight weeks, and I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes a fixture in my gaming rotation for the remainder of the year. It's one of the biggest, most content rich games I've had the pleasure of playing.

The Guardian, 5/5.
But the largest cost that Skyrim wishes to exact from players is that which is measured in human hours: time. And given the volume of content Bethesda's game holds, preparations ahead of playing may be necessary.

So, with that in mind, may your boss believe you when you phone in claiming you have the plague, may your significant other be tolerant and understanding, and may your friends know you well enough not to make enquiries with the police if they don't hear from you in over a month.

Skyrim awaits, adventurers. All it asks in return is your life .

. well, a large chunk of it anyway.

GamesRadar, 10/10.
If you enjoy the role-playing aspect of RPGs, the diverse cast of characters to interact with, gain as followers, and follow intrigue plots with is downright staggering. With even better writing and voice acting this time around (with voices provided by no less than Christopher Plummer, Max Von Sydow, and Joan Allen), meeting and talking to people is like its own game.


Skyrim is sprawling, generous, gorgeous and ambitious. It does what few games can: thoroughly follow through on its ambitions. It could be possible to play only this game for the next year and still not discover all of its mysteries.

Official Xbox Magazine, 10/10.
In short, Skyrim is the kind of game you can completely lose yourself in for at least a hundred hours, even if you somehow manage to complete the main quest in fewer than twenty. If you aren't normally drawn to role-playing games, get over it to miss out on this extraordinary gaming experience would be positively criminal.

AusGamers, 10/10.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a game that will keep hardened gamers playing for months, maybe longer if Bethesda's expected DLC is anything to go by, and right now I can't see myself walking away from the game with anything less than 200 hours of gameplay under my belt. For newcomers, it's an amazing entry point because it doesn't force the series' lore down your throat and has a streamlined interface that's easy to manage, but difficult to master (you can also just brush up on said lore through the game's massive library of game-world books). It's easily the best looking and feeling of the developer's lineage and just a thrill to play, really. I can't sell it much more than that.

If you can only buy one game this holiday season and want your absolute money's worth, there's no looking past what is arguable the industry benchmark for sandbox and emergent gameplay with player-choice at its helm, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. A work of sheer genius.

Gamers' Temple, 98%.
So back to the big question at hand: is Skyrim too much like Oblivion to the point where it loses credibility? In a word, no. If Skyrim had the exact same game engine and mechanics of Oblivion it would most likely be a contender for game of the year. But by addressing every issue from the last game and improving everything else, Skyrim leaves little room for error for the next game in the series.

Xbox Addict, 9.7/10.
Before you set out on this grand adventure, please remember to never lose faith and hope in the Dragonborn for it is the sole hope of salvation and peace for the troubled land of Skyrim. Like I said before, I'm sorry to be a bother, but this old man sees something in your eyes that burns bright with the hope of the Dragonborn. Could you be the one that the Elder Scrolls prophesied about, are you him, are you the hope and salvation of Skyrim, are you Dovahkiin, are you the Dragonborn?

Planet Xbox 360, 9.7/10.
All jokes about taking sabbaticals still might need one. The first few hours you'll spend once being introduced into the wild will fade into Oblivion and from there you can expect your time to become greatly consumed. I can admit that I would start playing at the PM and continue on until the early AM without even realizing it. There are also a good amount of surprises that were kept a secret for the release which had me howling in excitement for how carefully well done they were implemented. Having only completed over 60 hours, there is still a great deal for me to explore and quests to finish. For those on the fence, do yourself a favor and don't sleep on this game. Even if this is one of the nerdiest games to ever be released, it is also one of the best.

ActionTrip, 9.6/10.
When it comes down to it, there's a lot you should expect from Skyrim. The best part is that it never lets you down. Its vast and complex world is filled with surprises that lurk around every corner. More importantly, the annoying feeling of going through dreary repetitive levels such as the Oblivion gates in Elder Scrolls IV is, thankfully, gone. Areas in Skyrim feel more unique. In our experience, whatever you do in this game, you are somehow led to a completely new and undiscovered part of a huge and mysterious world.

The defining element of Skyrim is the choices that are given to players in every conceivable way. Weapon upgrades, character development, storyline progress, solving quests, exploration, NPC interaction, are all impressively crafted elements that almost feel like separate games molded into one unforgettable adventure.

NZGamer, 9.5/10.
Glitches aside, Skyrim is a big, beautiful game, that will overwhelm with its physical and emotional depths. And after thirty-five hours of playing I feel like I've only experienced a hint of what the Skyrim world has to offer. I love the way it manages to combine sandbox-style gameplay without sacrificing story progression or big political moments that lend credence to the experience of a real culture.

Playing Skyrim is like getting lost in a massive series of fantasy novels, only this time you're writing them yourself.

Strategy Informer, 9.5/10.
We could go on, but then this review would be in danger of being as huge as the game is itself - there's plenty of stuff we haven't talked about (Shouts, Werewolves), hell, probably plenty of stuff we've forgotten to talk about. Just go and play it and you'll see what we mean. Despite how good the game is though, in its own way it's a little niche - not in terms of content but in terms of the core of its design. A lot of people don't like the openness of free-form games, the lack of direction, and if you're one of the those people then you probably won't get on with Skyrim because it's openness personified and in that respects nothing has, or will ever, change.

But, assuming you're fine with that, then Skyrim is, in a word, amazing. Sure, it has its problems, its oddities, and again some of these are just down to how the game is made and others just need some extra patching or work done to it. There is always a danger with games like these that you'll get bored, or you'll lose your drive - Bethesda have done a wonderful job of staving off that feeling in this game. People commented on how much of a cop out the main quest in Oblivion was towards the end, and whilst the main quest is better in Skyrim, it honestly doesn't matter - there's so many other threads, both big and small, to pull you along you'll never want for something to do. We can honestly think of no better game to while away your Christmas vacation.

Ten Ton Hammer, 93/100.
Overall, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim delivers on Bethesda's promise of putting out an incredibly immersive RPG. The experience of Skyrim is that the player can create the type of hero that they want, explore the fantasy world in the manner that they wish and at their leisure, and not be forced to follow a rigid quest chain of A, then B, and then C. You will get sucked into the world of Skyrim and lose track of time. On the back of the game box, it states, (Epic fantasy reborn.) They got that right.

Worthplaying, 9.0/10.
In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the snow-capped peaks of the Nords relentlessly beckon me back to pry loose one more artifact, dungeon or secret. Skyrim's lavish world is tailor-made for adventurers who are eager to satisfy their curiosity of what is beyond the next bend in the road, not those who want to know which attribute scores play into which skill. There's little question that this is a gorgeous epic, but it's also a stark reminder of what it leaves behind.

1UP has two editors give their opinions, A-.
Jeremy: I've dabbled in Elder Scrolls games before, but they always seemed to be the wrong combination of intimidatingly huge and mechanically clunky (not to mention kind of ugly). Skyrim is the chapter that's finally pulled me in, and suddenly I find myself smitten with the series. Not just the games, but the lore, and the insane level of thought that's been invested in the world of Tamriel. I have every intention of seeing this game to its end, even if that demands months of my life. It's not a perfect creation by any means, but I can happily overlook the flaws for a little more time with my wonderful, deadly Lady. Now if you'll excuse me, she and I have about 40 open quest lines to resolve, and there are only so many hours in the day for picking off bandits with well-aimed arrows from the dark.

Voodoo Extreme, 4.5/5.
Skyrim is without a doubt the new "classic" Bethesda RPG. It's got a freshness to it thanks mostly to the constant (and quite epic) dragon threat, plus the very interesting lore surrounding their return, and your role in everything as well. I would have liked to have seen some things cross over from other recent RPG games like Demon's Souls, and The Witcher 2, but in the end Skyrim was really a great experience as-is. Skyrim is bound to keep you entertained for weeks, months, or even years to come, and comes highly recommended by your pals at VE!

Wired, 10/10.
Perhaps this is why Skyrim's world is such a triumphant accomplishment. It gives you a large blank canvas and tells you to do what you'd like with it. You guide your own narrative, control your own fate, choose your own adventure. You are your hero.

Longtime gamers may remember the era in which every game's credits ended with a note saying (SPECIAL THANKS: YOU.) Skyrim doesn't need to say it; it's thanking you every step of the way.

Digital Chumps, 10/10.
I played this game for nearly two weeks, 5-6 hours at a time. I'm not done with it, and I'm not bored of it. You will get 100+ hours out of Skyrim easy, and there's plenty of DLC on the way, too. The shear size of the world, the amount of side quests and the main quest, will equal out to enough game time to warrant this purchase twice over. Getting back to what I said earlier, the side quests that you run into are not meaningless time fillers. It would have been easy for Bethesda to dial it in and just put piddly-sh*t quests in to extend the time, but they didn't. You'll go do quests because you'll be infatuated with the world that they created, that you are immersed in.

All of this equals out to high replay value. You'll want to go back and redo the entire game with a different race, or maybe treat people differently along the way to see different results of your actions. I have been a good guy through out my adventure, but I plan on being a bandit the next go around. You'll find new ways to play and new things you might not have discovered the first time around. There's so many different ways to play, the fun will just keep flowing well after you're done with the main quest. Bethesda did a bang up job with Oblivion, and they have repeated and improved the job with Skyrim.

RPGSite, 95%.
With Skyrim Bethesda have truly succeeded in crafting not a sandbox, but a world. It's a world that's more exciting to live and play in than any other they've created. It's a game where the world is the greatest character of all, reigning supreme over all others. Skyrim's world is beautiful.

That, combined with exciting gameplay, open-ended character development and engaging story threads is all it takes to be truly great - but it all starts with the world. From that, through that, the game itself is beautiful too.

Armchair Empire, 9.0/10.
No doubt Bethesda will be supporting Skyrim long after its initial release and with such a huge canvas to work with, I'm already looking forward to the characters and stories that will come along. Everything else is in place -- the combat, the magic, the environments, the dragons -- just give me more stories, of which there are, admittedly, many of already. That's what I love about these open-world role-playing games -- a feeling of place, excitement, and beauty that has as many stories to explore as you want.

Skyrim's pretty damn awesome.

Gaming Nexus, A-.
For all the negative things I had said in this review, are any of them deal breakers? No, but they are bits of polish that would really have helped push this game over the top. But as it stands Skyrim is a fantastic game, and probably one of the best of this generation. It's got an intriguing story, and you feel like you have more weight in the world of Skyrim than you ever did in Oblivion. At times it is a strikingly beautiful game, that first time I saw the aurora borealis in the sky it just clicked for me that this game was something special, and indeed it is. What Bethesda has created is not quite the revolution of the franchise that I was hoping for, but they have created a game that is immensely enjoyable. And now if you'll excuse me, my controller is vibrating and I see a dragon off in the distance.

Metro, 9/10.
Oblivion was a success with far more serious drawbacks though and Skyrim is even more deserving of the hundreds of hours fans will undoubtedly be pouring into it. It's certainly a game that rewards the passion of its players but it's also one that is surprisingly accessible and fast-moving for the uninitiated.

With a game this ambitious you'd still be satisfied if it only hit half the marks it aimed at, but what's most impressive about Skyrim is how it manages to make so much look so easy.

IncGamers, 9/10.
That might sound petty (hell, it probably is) but I wasn't kidding when I said that Skyrim is elevated beyond the sum of its parts by the world. Taken by themselves, none of the game's elements quests, story, combat, dungeon delving are hugely impressive; it's the cohesiveness lent by the jaw-dropping world that ties them together and transforms them from something that's merely good into something that's amazing. Anything that hampers that process is a big, big problem.

But, thankfully, this doesn't crop up all that often, and I imagine most players will be able to ignore it anyway. The bottom line is that, most of the time, Skyrim is a genuinely amazing game. It still has flaws aplenty, and a fair few mechanics that could do with a bit more polish, but when I can honestly say that I've spent over 70 hours with one character alone, that I still have a quest log full of stuff to do, that I have a second character I need to get back to, and more importantly - that I don't regret a single damn hour of it, it's hard to say that Skyrim is anything but a triumph.

Now if only there was a mod to turn off the bloody giant spiders. Brr.

Cheat Code Central, 4.5/5.
In the end, Skyrim will be hailed as both the best and worst title of the year depending on whom you ask. RPG gamers who look for subtle storytelling and endless replay value are going to love every minute. But gamers that have even a slight problem with impatience will quickly become frustrated. However, even the most devoted naysayer has to admit that Skyrim is at the top of its genre, and that's no small feat.

Also, killing dragons will never get old.

Videogamer, 9/10.
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...

RPGamer, 4.5/5.
Skyrim is one of the finest embodiments of an open world RPG, as there is never a dearth of places to go or quests to complete. What Skyrim lacks in tough role-playing choices, it more than compensates for with interesting things to do. While the main quest can be wrapped up in less than thirty hours, expect to spend way more time than that in attempting to complete everything. This is one of the few games where the side quests are compelling enough that you'll actually want to do them. Skyrim has content in spades, so if you enjoy exploring and helping out the less fortunate, or sometimes those just looking for you to do their bidding, then this is the game for you.

RPGFan has the lowest score with "only" an 88%.
Oblivion is in my top five most overrated RPGs of all time, while Fallout 3 is one of my favorite current-gen RPGs. The Elder Scrolls V sits somewhere between the two. Indeed, Skyrim strongly resembles its predecessors at times, and the catalogue of small changes and minor additions makes it more of the same. Skyrim takes few risks. Perhaps the only risk it takes is failing to match up to its competition in individual areas. Other RPGs released this year have better stories, sharper graphics, and more visceral combat. Skyrim doesn't really care. The latest Elder Scrolls has such confidence in the allure of its open-world structure that it shirks the need to compete. And, it largely succeeds in being better than the sum of its parts. So grab a tankard of mead, wrap yourself in a tundra beast's hide, and stoke the meadhall's fire. There is a long winter ahead.

Finally, GameTrailers has a video review, 9.3/10.