back to article The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim is set in the land of the Nords, a craggy treacherous landscape that reminds me of George R R Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire and has the same epic scale. After the King of Skyrim is assassinated the land is plunged into civil war and the region has become severed from the rest of the empire. The game starts by …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you play this game on PC...

    Save. Regularly. About once a minunte should do it. The game currently crashes a lot.

    Also it's not all that great at auto-tuning options for graphics hardware. It decided I've a kick-ass system (it's not bad, a bit dated now, quad core i7, nVidia GTX 295 if I recall), and automatically whacked all the settings to max, which gave me an FPS of about 5 (at 2560x1600). I had to turn right down things like FSAA and anisotropic filtering to get back to something playable.

    Other than that, jolly good game.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Strangely I've heard some people tell that it's offered them surprising performance on low specs. Wonder if there's some specific hardware combos that have a bit of extra oomph in the code.

      Agree on the regular save though. I keep getting CTDs, although generally after quite a bit of play (and more recently, just after slaying a dragon *sob*). Other than that, I've not witnessed any major bugs - after New Vegas this has pleased me!

    2. Chad H.


      It says Bethesda on the box; hence you were warned...

    3. Steve Knox


      But not necessarily for stability reasons. I'm using a low-medium specced laptop and getting good performace and had only one stability issue in over 12 hours of playing.

      You'll want to save regularly because there are lots of ambushes that can really set you back a ways if you didn't save just before opening that door...

      As for first- vs third- person view, I had tried third-person in Oblivion, and had trouble with the combat mechanics. So I play that first-person almost exclusively.

      But I've been playing Skyrim in third-person, and it seems easier. The major difference from WoW is that in WoW, you don't actually need to aim.

  2. ferretgirl

    You'll need this

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was really hoping that was a guide to using eighteen hotkeys ...

      Worth noting that the Y/N keys also work when asked a Yes/No question in crafting / inventory interfaces.

  3. Lupus

    Good Lord.

    An MMO Skyrim-like game?

    Civilisation would end overnight.

    1. Thomas 4


      Civilisation ended because V was buggy PoS with moronic AI.

      An MMO Skyrim - I dunno. The who free roaming world thing? Yeah, definitely want that in an MMO. A bunch of Horde/Alliance running around PVPing, griefing and generally being assholes? Hell no.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I don't want an mmo skyrim, I want a mulitplayer server Skyrim like neverwinter nights but not linear and rubbish.

        1. Thomas 4

          Now that....

 a damn good idea, Mr AC.

  4. Thomas 18
    Thumb Up

    Fantastic game with a couple of bugs

    Loving this game too but had one quest NPC who had no dialogue and had to re-enter a room a couple of times in order to reset some stuck animation/interaction.

    For some reason I also have to equip a dagger in my right hand then remove it again before I can change my right hand spell. I think this might be something to do with my rebinding right and left triggers so right hand spell is right mouse button.

    It's also annoying to have a random event as you walk out a shop, die during it and then reload the auto-save only to have it not there when you walk out again but I guess it's just the price of death.

  5. Ralph B

    I'm with Marvin

    "Life's bad enough as it is without wanting to invent any more of it."

    - Marvin the Paranoid Android.

  6. DrXym

    Same epic scale?

    The Song of Fire & Ice books refer to events on 2 continents each the size of South America. Skyrim occupies about 16 square miles. I'm still looking forward to the game though.

  7. HP Cynic

    25 hours in I fully agree with this review: amazing game with a clunky, jarring interface clearly designed for the consoles and then hastily ported over to the PC.

    Hotkeys are especially annoying for Dual Wielders.

  8. Anon the mouse

    spot on review

    PC interface is clunky and randomly decides wether you need to use mouse or keys......plugging in a 360 pad solved it for me :)

    Still lots of fun to play, and apart from that one bug early on no major problems.

    Dragons are fun to kill, and make for the most memorable moments in the game. Nighttime tracking through a forest suddenly the music changes and up ahead an orange glow appears in the distance through the trees..... a dragon is attacking a giant and they are locked in battle......Low level means I run leaving them to fight it out, I haven't saved for a while so don't want to reload into that battle :)

  9. JP19

    Skyrim is definitely one reason to own a PC

    Lol. Now the game has been out a few days most people have spent longer playing it than they spent designing the PC user interface. This is a game you could play for hundreds of hours, the thought of enduring the user interface for hundreds of hours is so depressing.

    The game and its predecessors always felt to me like they were designed by lots of people doing their own thing creating bits of the world. Sadly the PC user interface seems to have been designed the same way.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hoping its good

    Hoping it's good. Might ask Santa nicely for it (aka. massive hints to the other half...).

    Not a traditional RPGer, but got into Oblivion via. Fallout 3/Vegas. Enjoyed it up until I ended up as a vampire, slept to gain energy, increased my level, and then died every time I saw sunlight. The quest to reverse the vampire functionality was to collect 12 objects, with no clue as to where they were, all the while with a severe sunlight allergy. Frustrating.

    I also hope that the lockpick mechanism has been fixed. Was bloody annoying in Oblivion. Preferred the lockpick in Fallout.

    Oblivion looked gorgeous (the colours, though some looked N64ish, and music vs. the sparse post-nuclear Fallout universe, though I did enjoy the Fallout period music for a while)

  11. LarsG


    steam kept insisting that I download the entire game when I had the retail disc. Forums provided a work around for win 7, instead of taking 6 hours it took 11 mins. No crashes yet but there are a few glitches, getting stuck in scenery etc. Feels a bit samey as previous Oblivion but graphic out of this world on PC.

    Tilde tgm still brings god mode!

  12. Spudbynight
    Thumb Down


    Great game - worst interface ever!

    Yet another game dumbed down for consoles.

    1. Steve Knox

      Interface Complaints

      I've seen a lot of these recently, and I've come to the following conclusion. They always come from people when using an interface that is an upgrade to one they've gotten used to (WinXP->Win7, Office 2003 -> 2007, Oblivion -> Skyrim, etc.)

      Usually the complaints come from people who've used the interface for less than 72 hours. They generally don't stop to think that the people developing the interface spent considerably longer than that using and testing it.

      Then once the complainers have used the interface for a week or more (of usage time), they end up in 3 general camps: those who think the interface is good (usually ~65%), those who still think the interface is crap (~5%), and those who have no trouble with the interface anymore but are too stubborn to admit that they were wrong (~30%)

      As I mentioned above, I've been playing for about 12 hours, and I'm already getting used to the interface, and I'm seeing why they did certain things the way they did, and have already figured out (without going to "hints" sites) how to do things like hotkey items/spells/shouts to 1-8.

      But then, as old as I am, I still have a young and flexible mind...

      1. Spudbynight
        Thumb Down

        Interface schmiterface

        Excellent piece here from the team at Rock Paper Shotgun

        They don't like it either.....

      2. Boothy

        Except the user interface in Skyrim isn't a progression forwards, it's a step back to the days of DOS programs. It's just a series of text lists, no context, no colouring, no categories, no means to sort. It's just in alphabetic order of everything in that section.

        For example, you need a Health potion. So bring up the potions list.

        I'm well into the game 40+ hours, so have lots of stuff. So my potions list is about 3 screens long, and due to the random nature of the names of potions, i.e. a potion to Heal, could have 4 different names and so is in four different locations in the list, also if a potion is of a different strength (+25, +50 etc.), it has the same name, but is listed as a separate item. You have to actually highlight the potion to see what it does.

        This really breaks the flow of the fight moments, it's like going from a manic fight, to looking at an Excel Spread sheet, but with no options to filter or sort items.

        Just colour coding would help, or some filter buttons, Health, Magica etc.

        This is an interface designed for a limited console controller.

        1. Steve Knox


          Well, 40+ hours is less that the 72 hours I mentioned, isn't it?

          Color coding didn't exist in Oblivion, either (Black-and white was a stylistic choice -- Oblivion was brown-and-tan) . Nor did categorization. This interface is a progression from the Oblivion interface.

          More to the point, you've been playing for over 40 hours and STILL haven't learned to add stuff you use during battle to your favorites and bring it up with the Q key or assign it 1 - 8? I learned that in the first 2 hours!

    2. Chad H.

      Round Peg, Square hole.

      Whilst I don't agree with the "Dumbed Down" conclusion Skyrm does seem to be suffering from a case of bad-console-port-itis. The Interface for Spells/Inventory/etc has been designed on the assumption you have a D-Pad with the Mouse as an afterthought at best - it doesnt seem to like me clicking on things that havent been already selected with the Dpad.

      A great shame as the mouse is okay in Fallout 3/New Vegas.

      All of this said, I can see that if I were playing on a console for the most part I'd be happy with it. Just a shame that you cant seem to control the inventory sort (by armour body part and class).

  13. Sooty

    Does it fix the main issue with eldar scrolls... that of the entire world levelling up with you?

    At the end it was getting silly, random groups of ruffians, trying to mug you for a few coins, when they are wearing a full set of Deadric plate mail...

    1. veti Silver badge

      That was only ever a problem in Oblivion - none of its predecessors did the same.

      And I haven't played Skyrim yet, but from what I hear, it's gone back to the Morrowind/earlier system whereby the level of enemies depends mostly on where you are, rather than who you are.

    2. Boothy

      Level is set as you enter a location. If they turn out to be too hard, just leave and come back later after you've levelled up.

      They will still be at the level you left them, but you'd have increased by then.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Loving the game but loathing the 'Hollywood-Blockbuster' type of narrative. If only they would get a Scandinavian crew to do the dialogues and plots it would be a lot less cringeworthy. I swear I saw Tony Curtis at one point.......

    1. Chad H.

      Agreed on Dialogue cringes....

      I swear this game should have been titled: Elder Scrolls V - Land of Swartzeneggers based on the accents...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this notch's new game?

    Is this notch's new game?

    1. Thomas 4

      No, this is Scrolls

      Notch is working on The Elder Scrolls, I think.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Wait, there are two games that use the word scrolls in their title? How ever will we tell the two apart?

  16. Wombling_Free
    Thumb Up

    Having a lot of fun

    I'm loving Skyrim, and for a brand new release it is remarkably good on my now-aging hardware.

    How old? Q6600, Nvidia 8800 GTS old! Still playing at Very High settings with reasonable frame rates - nothing slow enough to make me turn anything down yet, even the graphically mind-blowing dragon-death cutscenes. Best weather effects I have ever seen in a game - rain falling down cavern shafts glittering in the torchlight - it's just gorgeous!

  17. Truffle

    Poor review, graet game

    First off, i don't know how old the reviewer is but they write like they're still in school. No flow, no progression, it seems like each paragraph has been written by a different person!

    Anyways, the game. It's brilliant. I'm not sure why so many people are having problems with it crashing, i have just let it auto choose my graphics settings (high apparently) and jumped in to the game. It has not crashed once in about 48 hours of game-play. The only thing it doesnt like is if you alt-tab out of the game then it wont reload when you alt-tab back.

    As for the comments of making it MMO? I pray that they NEVER make a MMO Elder Scrolls game. It fantastic as it is, and being able to take your time and do what you like is what makes these games special. Having groups of kids running round killing you and nicking your stuff all the time when all you wanted to do was walk across from one village to the next would remove any enjoyment for the average gamer.

    There are so many "wow" moments in Skyrim that you just dont get anywhere else. In how many other games can you come over a hillside and see a giant herding woolly mammoths like sheep?!

    Keep doing what you're doing, just make the games bigger and more beautiful, and let me get lost in them for weeks.

  18. Debe
    Thumb Up

    Face Arrow

    If you’re playing a sniper like assassin with a bow (and it’s a great deal of fun) you can clock someone in the head with an arrow and they will, understandably, come looking for who did it. However should they not locate you after a while they will mutter that it was “probably just their imagination” and wander back to do whatever they were doing before their near fatal head injury with the arrow still embedded firmly in their face.

    This never fails to amuse me, that’s a pretty vivid imagination you’ve got there fella… now stand still again for just a second…

  19. lucidonlinenet

    I'm playing on an old 3.2GHz dual core with 4GB of RAM and an ageing 8800GTS 512MB. I have been slowly moving the graphics settings up and I've been surprised by the performance I've gotten playing it @ 1920x1080 120Hz with most things on high. Ultra is definitely a no go.

    The game is great, much more engaging then fallout or the other elder scrolls games. The AI though is not the best. I shot a mammoth by accident while hunting elk and he chased me up a rock. He then just stood there while I shot him with arrows and electrocuted him. My skill in archery went up 2 levels (I was only level 5 at the time).

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Runs Great on Old Machine etc

    Its is reported as running great on some people's older machine, but not so good on some "newer" machines, etc.

    Although I have no insight into this particular game engine's code, one possible reason for this is that internally different decisions are made when setting up your graphics pipeline *independant of your settings/choices*, based on the capabilities of your graphics card.

    What often happens is that internally an engine will query the hardware (gfx card) and select settings that are the closest match. What you may be seeing in the older vs newer PCs is the newer machines report to the engine that they are capable of fancier abilities (eg sRGB textures etc), these settings will be selected, and they are indeed slower, and on older machines they are bypassed.

    The result is that the game can sometimes run smoother on an older PC than on a newer PC which just makes it into the higher quality bracket, even with the same gfx options selected in-game.

    Also, it should be obvious that screen resolution and visual fidelity are factors when comparing framerates, but its often overlooked. "It runs great on my old machine!", but the user neglects to mention they are running in 800 x 600 and all the textures are blurry...

    1. Iain 15

      I think the suprise comes from the fluidity rather than the detail. Compare: GTA IV's dreadful port to PC. It is a lesson that most other developers should learn. I am quite happy to have slightly poorer textures so long as I can play the game on my 4 year old PC. And that is the point I think, a good game should not have to rely on kick-ass HD graphics to make it enjoyable.

  21. Gareth 18

    I'm loving it

    Playing on the 360 as there is no way my laptop would come close to running it and I am loving it.

    I love the world, I love how I feel like just a tiny part in something much bigger. The world doesn't seem to start when I turn my 360 on and stop when I turn it off.

    I love the random moments. People running up to me to hand my random objects. Happily bartering in the market one minute and then a dragon attacks the city in the next. It just feels so epic. I'm about 40 hours in and have barely touched the main storyline. I just keep getting distracted by everything going on around me.

    I can easily see me clocking up hundreds of hours on it.

  22. Dcope
    Thumb Up

    Im about lvl 15 and just starting to get to grips with everything, just wandering about makes for a good few hours entertainment on an evening.

  23. Jean-Luc
    Thumb Up

    Totally sweet (on a PS3)

    This game is just brilliant. Had a few freezes, or rather got stuck behind some walls a few times. Except for that, pretty stable. Inventory management is better than Oblivion/Fallout (on a PS3).

    A sheer joy to play. I have, roughly, a magic-using Rogue rather than a tank. Once you settle in and understand that you can't power through encounters, you settle for sniping with a bow while hiding. Killing tons of enemies that can outfight you one-on-one in hand-to-hand or in ranged combat, without losing any HPs is just very motivational. Yes, the "I must have been imagining that arrow stuck in my forehead" is funny, but it makes sense not to grant the player a single shot kill capability too easily.

    I also like the racism and chauvinism on display. Like GRRM's Fire & Ice, morality is pretty subjective and right and wrong a question of perspective. You start out almost getting your head chopped of by the Imperials, but the Nords I've seen in their cities are bigots. And the Imperials would definitely argue that Stormcloaks are terrorists.

    Since it is not too too gory, I've also let my kids start Skyrim.

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