Rediscovering Skyrim's Greatness

PC Gamer's Andy Kelly has typed a very flattering retrospective on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that remarks just how well, in the writer's view, the game stands up to this day. While Kelly has complaints on the quest design and some of the shallow system design, this is a pretty positive article overall:

The varied geography is what makes it one of the best open worlds on PC. Each region has a distinct atmosphere and personality. The Rift is gold and autumnal, with forests, lakes, and vineyards. An incongruously idyllic setting for the hotbed of crime and corruption that is Riften. Eastmarch is a volcanic, volatile landscape of bubbling hot springs and jagged rock. You can almost smell the sulphur in the air. To the far north, Winterhold is perpetually battered by blizzards and blanketed in thick snow. At night the sky is illuminated by vividly colourful aurora, a sight that never stops impressing. Whiterun is a vast, treeless tundra, freezing, grassy plains surrounding its central city.

At the centre of the map is the Throat of the World, a colossal mountain that you can’t help but feel the urge to climb when you first see it tickling the clouds. Your pilgrimage up it, and the view when you reach the peak, is one of the game’s best experiences. Just watch out for the frost troll lurking near the summit.

As is the case with a lot of RPGs, it’s the side quests where the best stuff lies. Joining the Dark Brotherhood and becoming a master assassin. Rising in the ranks of the Thieves Guild. Investigating a brutal murder in the city of Windhelm like some kind of fantasy gumshoe. Teaming up with a talking dog that’s actually a demon. Becoming a werewolf. Picking sides in a civil war. There are so many quests in Skyrim, from the epic to the absurd, and your journal is always fat with things to do. There isn’t much in the way of choice or branching paths, however, and far too many quests involve trekking through samey dungeons with a meagre reward at the end.