I feel like there are some games that come along and just blow the roof off of our expectations in games and that in 2011 Skyrim did exactly that. If you would have asked me if I felt that way a year ago when it first came out, I’m not so sure that I would have agreed that Skyrim was all-that revolutionary. In fact, I probably would have said that as good of a game as it is, it probably won’t live on through the years because it didn’t have online gameplay and at its core it didn’t do a lot that would be considered new for this type of game.
A year and a few expansions later and I think that it is safe to say that Skyrim was a very special game and a very unique case where a game was released that did just about everything right and while it didn’t revolutionize the world of gaming, it did show gamers what a developer that understands what their game should be and what their gamers want and how when these things come together, everyone benefits. It is a year later and honestly, the sheer amount of characters that I’ve played as, the amount of hours that I’ve put into them and the amount of time that I know some of my good friends have put into is just staggering.
In fact, there has even been an interesting debate going on of late where a writer from Machinima had said that Far Cry 3 was “Like Skyrim with Guns” and Ubisoft went on to use that very line on marketing materials. He has gone on to talk about how he was simply excited and it slipped out, but the truth is, Skyrim was used as a measuring stick for quality and it was one that everyone understood immediately. Is Far Cry 3 as good as Skyrim and is it just “Skyrim with Guns?” No, probably not, but it is a good game and one of the better games of 2012.
Skyrim might not be the most beautiful game, the main storyline might not be the most engaging and deep, emotional, Hollywood experience like other games, but it can draw in even the most prudent of gamer and cause them to lose many, many hours of their lives in the quest to level up or build up more money while doing an endless stream of side quests. The game is very easy to pick-up-and-play and does a great job of endearing the player to the surroundings. There is the impression that the world around you is very dangerous, but also that it is not too dangerous to scare players off from exploration.
Even those who are looking to just follow the main quest will find themselves veering off into new caverns that they find and exploring everything that they come across. That is the kind of magic that Skyrim brings to the table and the kind of magic that I thought would wear off after a while, but after owning it across multiple platforms and playing with at least half a dozen characters, I can honestly say that no, it does not wear off. It is proof that you can create a game without the industry standard of online multiplayer and if you just do the single player correctly it can keep players happier than they ever thought imaginable.