Skyrim is out, and I’ve been playing it to get a review up. Do I like it? In a word, yes. It’s even better then Oblivion and looks like a Game of the Year award candidate. Let’s get a preliminary look.
My main character is a level 17 Imperial, specializing in… well, nothing. He casts destruction spells, conjures minions and weapons and wields one-handed weapons, but I also use a shield once in a while and wear heavy armor around. He’s a jack of all (or at least, many) trades and not really great at any. I’ve put perk points in many of the skill trees that you can specialize in and never really gotten anywhere beyond two points or so in any tree.
My other character is a level 6 dark elf destruction mage, so he actually has a focus. So what do I prefer, weapons or magic? It’s hard to say. Weapons have a feeling of heft to them this time around and it’s fun to stagger and bash your foes, getting 3rd person kill animations for overkills. Magic on the other hand is a world of fun. Wielding two spells at once allows for some fun combinations. I like to summon a familiar with one hand while laying a fire rune on the floor with the other. The runes are fun in that they’re effectively land mines, exploding whenever someone walks over one.
The dragons – you know, the big ‘ta-da!’ feature that Bethesda’s been touting since the game was announced – are a good manic element but a pain to fight. When one shows up, that’s it – everything else goes on hold. This can be fun when you want some action and killing one rewards you with a dragon soul but if you’re just trying to get from point A to point B, they’re a pain. I encountered one while walking from Whiterun to Winterhold at level 6 and got my ass kicked good. I later encountered one while in Winterhold, circling above the city as guards readied their arrows for an attack that never did come. That dragon eventually just flew away, which was disappointing at the time because I wanted to fight that one.
I’ll have the review up soon enough, so be patient. This is a big game and I (of course) did not get an early review copy so it could take a while.