Skyrim soars with open-world gameplay

On Nov. 11 Bethesda Softworks released The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the fifth installment in the Elder Scrolls video game series. The company has given gamers previous blockbuster titles such as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3.

Skyrim follows the story of the Dragonborn, a warrior with the ability to absorb the souls of dragons and gain their powers. The player takes up the mantle of the Dragonborn in a time when the province of Skyrim is facing the return of dragons that had disappeared many hundreds of years ago. 

Since the beginning of the franchise, its developers have taken pride that every Elder Scrolls game exists as an entirely open world, meaning the player can travel anywhere and do anything. There is, of course, a main storyline in every game but there are no rules as to when you have to play it. 

Skyrim shows quite clearly that the developers took the pros and cons of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion into account while designing the game. The third entry in the series lacked a leveling system of any sort, which allowed the player to encounter creatures and items that were really meant for a player on a level far higher than their own. The fourth entry went in the opposite direction and made everything leveled so that the player always encountered creatures and items equivalent to their own level. Skyrim, however, creates a kind of hybrid system of the two.

It is difficult not to get lost in the incredible natural environments with realistic grass, trees and even wind to blow through them. Wild animals like wolves don't sneak up on you. The player can hear them snarling and hitting the ground, even if the marvelously composed battle music isn't enough to warn of an enemy nearby. 

Although gamers today tend to favor online multiplayer games, Skyrim is not one of those. All the same, its immersive environment and lively, well-crafted characters make up for it. 

For any player of the Elder Scrolls series, the idea of losing a day in a new game is nothing new and Skyrim is no different. The game is rocking college campuses around the country and it will likely be the role-playing game discussed for years to come.