Why Skyrim's Most Barren Environment, the Reach, Makes for a Bountiful World

The online edition of EDGE editorializes on one of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's regions, The Reach, and attempts to explain why they find it an example of nuanced worldbuilding. Here's a snip:
The Reach possesses its own geography, its own politics, and its own cultures. Walking down either path, the shift from the rest of the Skyrim into The Reach is stark. The brownish grass gives way to solid stone. The green trees and flowers make way for the skeletal grey juniper trees, their roots clinging to the rock with eerie desperation. As the paths descend down from the grasslands into The Reach proper, a thick fog typically descends on all but the most fair-weather days.

There is a suffocating dankness to The Reach that extends from the sky overhead down to the earth underfoot. The river that carves a path through the region is a murkier colour than the waterways elsewhere in the country, as though the fog has polluted the water itself.

But it is the stone that rises up on either side of the path that most vividly distinguishes The Reach from the rest of Skyrim. These aren't the sweeping mountains of the rest of the country. These are abrupt, jagged walls that fence you in and push you into the region's serpentine belly. As you follow the region's few paths, the open blue sky and its distant vistas are consumed by the towering rock, reduced to a dark grey slither far above you.