It’s not a far stretch to say that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, is one of the best games to come out of 2011. But that does not mean it is a game for everyone. Today I will attempt to explain to you why Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls franchise in particular is a series that you either get it or you don’t.
First things first, why is it that people love Elder Scrolls so very much? There are a great number of reasons, such as the immersive open-world of the game or the unprecendented level of exploration available to players. It without a doubt features a formula that fans love. People love to explore the collossal open-world of the game and watch as their actions effect things around them. However it is that open-world freedom that is the factor that can deter people from the series.
With such immense freedom, The Elder Scrolls fits perfectly in on the opposite side of the open-world spectrum. For arguements sake let’s compare the difference between Skyrim and two other types of open-world games; Grand Theft Auto and Assassin’s Creed. Now I am not saying that one is better than the other, I am simply stating that each signify a specific type of the open-world game.
Assassin’s Creed sits on the direct opposite side of Skyrim and features an open-world that is backed by an incredibly strong and deep storyline that encourages the player to follow the plot instead of focusing solely upon open-world mayhem. In the middle of the spectrum sits Grand Theft Auto, a franchise that features open-world carnage along side a storyline. The story however is heavily overshadowed by the open-world mayhem, to the point that most people who play Grand Theft Auto only play it to just go on killing sprees and create absolute anarchy.
So how does Skyrim fit into this equation? Well it’s quite simple, Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls series in general does not focus on a straight forward traditional plotline that signifies the games beginning and end such as that seen in Assassin’s Creed. This lack of storyline emphasis or conclusive ending can deter players from Skyrim. However it can also engage them more than any storyline could.
The thing with Skyrim is that you do not play as a character and follow the events unfolding around them. Instead you play as yourself and explore the world as events unfold around you. This is the exact make or break point for The Elder Scrolls series when it comes down to whether a person purchases this or something else. Some people get this concept and they love it, where as others turn away from it like the plague. What is the reason for this though?
This open-world freedom which is unbound from an emphasis on a storyline is both a detriment and an advantage. It is an advantage as it constructs itself as a game without boundaries, challenging the player to explore and see how far they can bend the game’s world as well as giving near infinite replayability. This however is the exact same thing that is a detriment to the title, that is the very fact that it does not conventionally end.
While some may find this to be a shallow reason to not be able to get into a game, it is most certainly not. Some simply do not have the time to invest in a game that they know will not come to a conclusive end (MMORPG’s and the entire RPG genre fit this bill perfectly). In this day and age, gamers attention spans have grown much shorter than they ever were, to the point that a game can be completed in 5 hours and still recieve popular acclaim. It marks a change in the gaming industry and well as a change in what gamers want from the video-game experience. This is not a slight against Skyrim as it is clearly extremely popular, but this is exactly why it is not for everyone nor should it have to be.
So whether you are exploring the world of Skyrim or following a well told story such as that of Assassin’s Creed Revelations, as long as you are enjoying video-games for all the entertainment they can provide, there is nothing wrong with your choice of game. There is simply no game that is for everyone, to claim that there is would be foolish. If someone likes a game that you don’t, it’s not because your wrong, it’s because the game has managed to connect with someone on a level in which it could not with you. With different people wanting different things out of the video-game experience there is never going to be a game that everyone ‘gets’, and that my fellow gamers is the truth and nothing but the truth.