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No GravatarEvery once in a while, there is an awesome game that comes out, and it revolutionizes the way that a person views gaming.  For me, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of those games.  It has everything that I demand in a game: a cool story, fun game play, an expansive world, and the ability to customize my game experience as I see fit.  I love the game so much that it’s one of the top games that I’ve put the most hours into, and that’s saying something because I’ve spent a lot of time on many different games.  It’s one of my all-time favorites.  Here’s why:

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an open world action role-playing game that was developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks.  It is the fifth game in the Elder Scrolls franchise, following 2006’s Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  Skyrim was released November 2011 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.  A remastered version is coming out for the game for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in October of this year.  The game uses the Creation Engine, which was specifically rebuilt for the game after some of the issues with Fallout 3.  Skyrim got critical acclaim and is consistently rates as one of the best video games of all time.

Set 200 years after its predecessor, Skyrim focuses on Tamriel’s Nordic area (Skyrim, hence the game’s name).  There are two warring factions at odds against each other.  The Stormcloaks consist of Skyrim’s native Nordic folk who wish to rule their own land (and are extremely racist).  The Imperial Legion represents the Empire and wishes to keep the region safe and at peace (but then the native people don’t have control of their own area).  After being almost killed by the Imperials and surviving a dragon attack, the player realizes that Skyrim is in deep trouble if dragons have come back.  Eventually, the player finds out that he or she is Dragonborn, a person born with the soul and power of a dragon.  In the main quest line, the player must find out what is going on with the reemerging dragons; however, there are tons of other side quests that jump into the rich history and politics of the region.  It’s absolutely amazing.

The main story is pretty involved, but it’s the expansive world that really shines with Skyrim.  It’s definitely got one of the best maps that I have seen (I still prefer it over The Witcher 3’s map, which is also quite expansive).  The scenery is gorgeous, especially since I play on PC with the graphics on the highest levels with a few texture mods as well.  Most of the items in the world are extremely interactive.  The people in Skyrim are interesting.  The places are fun to explore.  I’ve gone walking around the map just for fun.  I’ve even read about people who create characters and don’t even play the game; they just make up their own story and go hunting animals, collect things, and just have fun.  It’s so in-depth with lore and back-story that it’s hard not to fall in love with Skyrim.

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However, even though the open world is amazing, my favorite part of the game is actually the game play itself.  I have never quite come across anything quite like it.  For me, even another Bethesda heavy-hitter like Fallout 3 or even Fallout 4 doesn’t compare.  Sure, Skyrim is a first-person, action RPG.  A lot of games are.  The thing that really makes Skyrim stand out is the leveling and experience system.  It’s very simple: you level up what you use.  Whatever angle you want to play with Skyrim, you just have to use it to level it.  In this way, players are not pigeon-holed into a certain class.  Do you want to be a mage who has thief tendencies?  Go for it.  Do you want you want to be a warrior who also can use magic when needed?  Yep!  You can do that.  Do you like being a thief who enjoys two-handed combat?  Why not?

I love the ability to be able to do what I want, when I want.  I love that I can mix and match with the different combat styles and character niches because…why not?  I hate having to decide what class to play because two hours later, I want to change it.  Skyrim lets me do whatever I want.  When I initially played it on Xbox 360, I was a bit limited with the amount of perks that I could get, so some specialization was required.  However, on PC I can do a bit of cheaty, cheat, cheating and add perks when I run out of levels.  It’s perfect for the OCD gamer.  In Skyrim, it’s totally okay to be a warrior/mage/thief all at the same time.

The graphics hold up very well, especially if you are playing on PC and can put on some texture mods.  On the consoles, it is starting to look dated.  Hopefully, it will look great again with the remaster.  However, when the game originally came out, the graphics were hand’s down awesome.  I love the textures of the scenery.  Even though some of the color palate can be very heavy on grays and browns, the game is still beautiful.

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There is something special about Skyrim, and it may have to do with the fact that gamers can easily make fun of it without damaging the integrity of the game.  How many “arrow to the knee” memes have you seen?  How many times have people made fun of the fact that one can eat 99 raw potatoes in the middle of the battle to gain health?  What about trying to kill a chicken?  Or, my personal favorite happens to be: why are all of the lights on in a dungeon that hasn’t been visited by anyone in hundreds if not thousands of years?  It’s fun to make fun of Skyrim because it’s a game that no one has to defend as being good.  Some people might not like it, and that’s fine.  But it’s hard to argue that it’s a bad game.  Therefore, when there are some “silly” elements of the game, it’s enjoyable to point out the shortcomings because even though there definitely are some, no other game even comes close.

There are a lot of games that I have enjoyed over the years, but there are few that I truly love.  The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim is one that I absolutely will love forever, even when newer and better games come out.  I have about an estimated 415 hours on the game right now between console and PC, and I have thoroughly loved every minute of it.  I actually cannot think of another game that I have spent so much time on.  That’s the power of Skyrim.

By Jessica Brister On 13 Jul, 2016 At 01:31 AM | Categorized As Featured, Reviews, Toys and Merchandise | With 0 Comments

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Did you know that someone put all of those Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim books into a set of physical, hard-bound books? No? Well, neither did I, until I shockingly received one for my birthday. And then I totally fell in love with the novelty of it all.
23308496The Skyrim Library Volume 1: The Histories was (obviously) written by the talented people at Bethesda. However, it was published in a physical edition in 2015 by Titan Books. What you get is a fairly nice hard-bound book with the Skyrim logo indented on the front and back covers, plus the name of the book done the same way on the front.
The contents includes all of the history books from the game, some Skyrim books, as well as Morrowind and dragon books. It’s a pretty nice collection for those who love everything Elder Scrolls, especially Skyrim. There is nothing new here, however. It’s just a reprint of the virtual books in the game.
The real treasure in this book are the illustrations, which are gorgeously done. They are not on every page. Some are done half pages. Others are complete pages. But they are beautiful. From Skyrim landscapes to characters to weapons, this is a beautiful edition to any collector. All of the pages are tinted to a beige huge with a “worn” look on them, so this is not an average printing.
A word of caution: This is a novelty book. Plain and simple. If you love Skyrim so much that you would want this on your bookshelf, then guarantee that you will love this book. If you casually love Skyrim, then it’s probably not going to spark your interest. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just move along.
By Jessica Brister On 17 Aug, 2015 At 02:28 PM | Categorized As Featured, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Reviews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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If you’ve read reviews of the Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, you might have already decided to give the game a pass. In fact, if you look on Metacritic, it scores just a 73 (out of 100) for critics and an 8.0 for the user score. It sounds like a fairly mediocre game and one that just could be skipped. However, that is far from the truth. The game is excellent. Apparently, there are just a very vocal bunch of people on the Internet who hate fun. Here is what the game is really like:

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The Elder Scrolls Online is an MMO (massively multiplayer online) action role-playing game. Though it has been out for Windows and Mac since April 2014, it has just come out for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in June of this year. Initially, the game had a subscription fee, but that was dropped March of this year, and the game was re-branded to The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited for the PS4 and Xbox One release. The game was developed by ZeniMax Online Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks.

The events in Tamriel Unlimited happen a thousand years before The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Though ESO happens in the Elder Scrolls universe, don’t expect it to be like Skyrim or Oblivion. ESO is its own deal that just happens to be in the Elder Scrolls universe. Yes, you get the fun and in-depth lore of the Elder Scrolls and the cool races and settings, but it’s completely different in feel. The plot still is similar to Skyrim with an all-powerful being trying to take over the world with a bunch of groups fighting for power in the meantime. If you were looking for a super-deep story, then this game probably isn’t for you. If you were looking for a “social Skyrim,” then this a game isn’t for you. If you were looking for a World of Warcraft clone, then this game is definitely not for you.

However, if you like fun, this game is for you. If you want a great social game, this game is for you. If you want a lot of content, then this game is for you. In reality, if you don’t try to make this game something its not, then you will have an absolutely blast. ESO shines on its game play, expansive setting, and extensive content.

Though there is a main quest line, the quests—like other Elder Scrolls games—go in whatever order you want at whatever time you want. This allows the player massive amounts of freedom to do whatever he or she wants to, and this is crucial for an MMO. For those who want to play solo, there are tons and tons of quests. In fact, there are so many solo quests that I haven’t even scratched the surface yet, and I have been playing for weeks. For those who really want to get the most of out an MMO, there are group dungeons, public events, flourishing guilds, and a lot of PVP action. Not only that, but the place is thriving. An MMO is as only as good as the people in it, and at least for now, ESO has a mass following with die-hard followers.

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Besides a thriving community, a lot of quests, a cool PVP area, and a lot of cooperative play, the Elder Scrolls Online also contains:

  • An amazing crafting system for weapons, armor, enchantments, potions, and food.
  • Three factions that players can choose to be in which compete against each other in different aspects.
  • Easily trade items between your other characters or with other people or guilds.
  • Customize gear with racial motifs or dye stations.
  • Utilize different mounts, vanity pets, lore books, and racial motifs to customize your experience.
  • Demonstrate tons of emotes to make your character dance, wave, or do the most absolute silly things (take THAT Destiny).
  • Run dungeons with either a group of friends or random people.
  • Contribute to public battles.
  • Participate in guilds for social aspects and trading.
  • A huge map area with tons of places to explore.
  • Switch between first and third person perspective.
  • Four play-style classes to choose from.

It really is a complete blast to play. Though the graphics are not the most beautiful of this generation, they look good enough, especially for an MMO that is so expansive. I think most players would take better game play over the latest, greatest slick graphics.

So, overall, if you are looking for a social game that is just plain fun, the Elder Scrolls Online is for you. Yes, there are some in-game purchases that you can make, but you get more than a full game with just the base game. Although, you will probably get addicted to it like me and upgrade a few things.

Seriously. I am thoroughly hooked on ESO, and I don’t say that about a lot of games.

By Jessica Brister On 16 Jun, 2015 At 05:13 PM | Categorized As PC Games, Portable/Mobile Gaming, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarE3: Bethesda Softworks announced the first-ever Elder Scrolls-inspired card game: The Elder Scrolls Legends.  It is a free-to-play game that will be coming out later in the year for PC and iPad.

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According to Pete Hines, VP of PR and Marketing for Bethesda Softworks, The Elder Scrolls Legends is “…a strategy card game that builds on the rich legacy of Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls Online and brings the world of Elder Scrolls to a completely new genre.”

There are not many details about the game at this time, but I will be posting more when it is available.

By Amy McGarey On 27 Jan, 2014 At 09:37 PM | Categorized As PC Games, Previews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarHave you ever wanted to go back and play Morrowind, only to think, “I can’t play this after beating Skyrim. The graphics are too outdated.” Well, now there’s a team of Elder Scrolls fans who want to give you that old Morrowind experience back, but this time with current generation graphics. This new Morrowind mod for Skyrim is called Skywind.

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Currently, there is no known date for when the game will be finished. You can download an early version of Skywind, but so far it’s only landscape and some static meshes. Still in development are quests, monsters, weapons, armor, NPCs, and everything else to truly bring Morrowind alive. The mod requires a retail PC version of Morrowind with the expansions and Skyrim. Pirated copies will not work. This isn’t just importing Morrowind meshes into the Skyrim engine. Morrowind is practically being made from scratch.

Because the Skyrim engine is still being used, expect to see the Skyrim UI, skill tree, fast travel, and quest markers. If you want a more traditional Morrowind experience, there will be mods that will turn those features off. If you want to revisit a whole new Morrowind sooner, you can actually volunteer to work on this project. Just visit http://morroblivion.com/ for more details. There are a range of different tasks that need completed for all different skill levels. I can’t wait for Skywind to be finished that I might just volunteer myself!

By Charles On 3 May, 2012 At 06:59 PM | Categorized As Editorials, PC Games | With 0 Comments

No GravatarBy now the Elder Scrolls series has been often labeled as a true offline MMORPG. And for good reason- it manages to blend the style of freeform exploration, crafting and personal customization that the MMO genre is famous for, with a lack of monthly fees, trolling players (occasionally trolls) and incessant grinding for better gear. Well, today it was announced in USA Today that Bethesda will finally be taking the plunge into the MMORPG market with an online version of the Elder Scrolls, set to be released in 2013.

“So how does this impact me?” said Tathyr, a local Bosmer archer and Thane of Solitude/Whiterun/Morthal/Windhelm. “Does this mean I need to start rolling for new gear, because if that’s the case, expect a lot more arrows to various knees.”

Speaking from inside her palatial mansion in Solitude, the dovakin scowled when the news was presented to her earlier today through a random courier. “I liked the fact that I was free to accomplish things alone. I’m not exactly people-friendly, ya know?” Taking a moment to thumb the bowstring of her recently crafted Daedric longbow, she shook her head and muttered a few words under her breath in her native tongue. “Now I can’t hold this over [her friend, a Blood Elf Paladin currently residing in Orgrimmar, Azeroth] Aestryth’s head anymore. She’s going to be merciless about it.”

Her sentiments are likely to become a talking point in the coming weeks leading to the formal unveiling in Game Informer Magazine. According to current information, game development will be lead by Matt Firor, formerly of the cult classic Dark Age of Camelot MMORPG, and will be set a millennium before the events presented in Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. When mentioned to Tathyr, however, she scoffs. “Like that’s going to matter. I know for a fact that [my player] loves me, and he will undoubtedly find some black magic to skirt me into the past. Not like I haven’t done that already, but that was to defeat Alduin, not fulfill some delusion of grandeur.”

Tathyr (left) and Ysolda at Proudspire Manor after hearing the news of an Elder Scrolls MMORPG release in 2013

Tathyr’s wife, Ysolda of Whiterun, echoed her spouse’s concerns. “This will just put more strain on the people currently living in Tamriel. Families will be split up, cities will become overcrowded and for what? Some mistaken notion of glory?” She clutches Tathyr’s arm tightly, her eyes sparkling with tears. “I’m proud to be the wife of the last dovakin, I don’t want to lose her to a horde of braggarts and glory-mongers.”

While information is still limited, expect questions to arise on how this will impact the progressive nature of the Elder Scrolls game engine that was debuted in Skyrim after years of tweaking and refinement. How will the MMORPG market embrace a game that does not rely on raids, min/maxing and levels? How will class structure be implemented after having been done away with in the past two installments? How will zones be set up, and will this inherently limit the sandbox nature the series has become so well known for?

Only time will tell, but for one dovakin and her wife, there is little to celebrate. “I guess I’m going to have to get used to things changing,” Tathyr said with a sigh and a longing glance at Ysolda. “Or find another one of those scrolls and take my wife into the future. I haven’t really decided yet.”