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The much anticipated fifth addition to the Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim, will be released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on November 11, 2011. Its predecessor, Oblivion, was released five years prior, sold millions of copies, and received much acclaim. Skyrim is set 200 years after Oblivion, and as in previous games, the player begins as a prisoner set to be executed.
The player is, in fact, the last of the Dragonborn, a dragon hunter meant to protect the land from Alduin, the Nordic god of destruction who assumes the form of a dragon. Bethesda has improved the details of the gameplay, scenery, and characters by utilizing what Todd Howard, the game director, calls the “Creation Engine”.
Skyrim is a sprawling, mountainous world, and like the previous Elder Scrolls games, it allows the player character to use “fast travel” to get from one place to another quickly and easily. Some of the new features of Skyrim include the ability to wield two spells simultaneously and use a power called “the voice,” in which the character can speak the language of dragons and magically shout.
When the player slays a dragon, they can also absorb the dragon’s soul and power. There are six different types of dragons, and Howard revealed that the player can earn the allegiance of a dragon and “call” him when in danger and in need of help. The Blades, who played a major role in Oblivion, are now called the Dragonguard and assist and guard the Dragonborn.
The Septim line has ceased to be, and the Dragonguard have nearly been wiped out. Another group that is an asset to the player is the Greybeards, who live at the top of a mountain called the Throat of the World. The Throat of the World is the highest mountain in Skyrim where the Nords believe the first humans came into existence.
The Greybeards are led by a great illusionist and know the power of the dragons. The player must climb 7,000 steps in order to be trained by them. Another nice feature in character relations is how the player can kill quest givers without forfeiting the quest. They are replaced by another quest giver, though they might harbor some resentment towards you for murdering the former one.
The player will no longer have to speak to another character to obtain a quest. If a conversation is overheard, it is automatically added to the log. When the player does speak to a non-player character, it no longer zooms in on them. They will continue to do their tasks while they speak with you, which is must more realistic. The ability to marry was also added into the game.
Howard believes that Skyrim takes after Fallout 3 more than Oblivion in certain ways. For instance, there will no longer be random conversations between non-player characters. They will be more specific and natural.
The enemies will be harder as you level up, but there were still be easy ones to defeat, as opposed to Oblivion where the enemies were all roughly around the same level the player was. In Fallout 3, an environmental type of storytelling was used in which the player would come upon a mysterious, unexplained scene. This type of storytelling will be utilized in Skyrim as well.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is now available for pre-order, and with some sellers, the pre-ordered game comes with a bonus map and discounts on other products.