In November of 2011, Skyrim transformed gamers into Dragonborn. For the fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls series, players could roam the open world of Skyrim fighting wars, completing quests, crafting armor, decorating a house, killing dragons, and so much more. Skyrim allowed each individual player to craft their own story by building a world and a life tailored to their own fantasies.
A little more than a year has passed and many are still wrapped up in the allure of yet another hundred hours with either a new character or even an old one. Skyrim ripped away the class restrictions of Oblivion and allowed players more flexibility when molding the skills of their characters. It was possible to become a master of a small set of skills or proficient at many. Players could focus on developing magic and ignoring the weapon skill trees or they could dabble in any other combination. The skill system made the addition of dual wielding even more exciting. Who wouldn’t want to set a giant on fire while stabbing its knees with a sword?
Despite all the wonderful things that Skyrim has offered gamers, it has also seen its fair share of controversy. To say that Skyrim shipped with a lot of bugs and glitches would be an understatement. Whether it was problems completing quests, graphical inconsistencies, or crashes, players across every system reported issues. The fact that problems still existed after several post-release patches said a lot. The trend of shipping games with problems was even prominent in 2012 with titles such as Assassin’s Creed 3 and Medal of Honor: Warfighter getting significant “day one” patches. Though Skyrim’s issues were many, none were hit as hard as PlayStation 3 owners. A problem with increasingly large save files caused severe lag and crashes on Sony’s platform. It took Bethesda several months to finally fix the issue; even going so far as to admitting they knew the PS3 was going to be a problem before Skyrim’s launch.
When Skyrim’s first DLC was announced with Dawnguard, it was common knowledge the expansion would be a timed exclusive for the Xbox 360. What no one could have predicted, however, was Bethesda’s poor handling of Dawnguard’s release on the PS3. The company claimed they weren’t sure if they could ever get Dawnguard or any future DLC on Sony’s console. Instead of getting any concrete information, fans were told it was being worked on. Meanwhile, the second DLC, Hearthfire, was released for the 360. Dragonborn, the third DLC, was released in December with Bethesda finally announcing that the DLC would also be available for PS3 (and PC) players. Only a vague release date of sometime in 2013 was given. Bethesda’s attitude towards the whole process has not only hurt their reputation with PS3 players but PC players as well. Both feel that their platforms are being treated as an afterthought due to Microsoft’s “paid timed exclusivity.”
Even with these glaring issues, Skyrim’s expansions did prove there was life left in the game. Hearthfire showed promise in allowing players to build their own home from raw materials but was poorly received due to the amount of glitches that affected new content. Dawnguard and Dragonborn have both been highly praised because of the wealth of content added to the Skyrim experience. New weapons, skills, areas, shouts, and even dragon riding have made their way into the game. The mod community has made the PC version of Skyrim come alive even more with HD texture packs, better user interfaces, and updates to many other systems.
Skyrim has managed to keep players engaged in its single player experience for quite some time. That’s a rare feat for most games these days. Many criticized Bethesda for not including some form of co-op or multiplayer into Skyrim. It obviously hasn’t hurt the game’s longevity. In light of the many issues the game has had in the past year, it still does not change the fact that gamers love living in Skyrim. Weaving a unique and personal world is something games don’t often do; and when Skyrim takes you, it never lets go.