‘Skyrim’ is the best multiplayer game this year

"The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" – Best Role-Playing. (MCT)

By Zach Walton

The title of this review may seem confusing to most, if not all of you because “Skyrim” is a single-player game. There is no multiplayer component.

That is where you are wrong, my friend, and I will get to it later.

“The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” is the latest game to come from Bethesda Studios, a team much beloved for their fantastic role-playing games and reviled for their horribly buggy games. The joke here is that these games are one in the same.

The good news is that “Skyrim” is relatively bug free with yours truly experiencing only three crashes actually caused by the game, and not my own stupidity, over the course of my 90 hours with it.

For those unfamiliar with the franchise, “The Elder Scrolls” is a first-person RPG. Although one can play it in third-person, but why would you do that?

The games always involve the player being thrown into an open world that they are free to explore at their leisure while raiding dungeons, caves, fortresses and other typical medieval fantasy fare.

“Skyrim” is no different from these past games, while vastly different at the same time. The player will still quest for many factions, including the Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood, Companions (Fighter’s Guild) and others while questing for the main story line, which is leagues above the main quest in “Oblivion” for those who care about such things.

The difference comes from the little things. Every dungeon and cave is now different with its own set of challenges and enemies to conquer instead of being copy and pasted from every other one like in past games. Dual-wielding adds an entirely new element to combat making it much more dynamic and fun compared to past games. The smithing skill actually makes sense now with the player being able to make his or her own weapons and armor. On that same note, spell creation is out, which limits the player’s ability to become a world-destroying god of fire.

There are some major differences as well, which mostly come from the dragons. There is an endless supply of dragons that will show up at the most opportune (and sometimes inopportune times) to do battle with the player. These battles are at first epic and amazing, but soon become somewhat boring and predictable once the player hits level 30.

That’s the main problem with Skyrim. Once the player hits a certain level, everything just ceases to be a challenge. It’s still amazingly fun to explore the massive world packed with secrets galore, but the enemies no longer pose any threat. That’s a shame too because it would be amazing if the enemies scaled with the player all the way up to the higher levels to create epic, drawn out fights.

It’s a small price to pay for everything else being so amazing. I’m 90 hours in and I’m still finding new places to explore and things to do. That’s a true testament of a game’s staying power and Bethesda has proven once again that they are the kings of the open world RPG.

Now onto that multiplayer that I spoke of: “Skyrim” does not have any traditional multiplayer to speak of, it’s a strictly single-player experience.

The key here is having friends who are also playing it. The stories you will share with them of your experiences in the world of Skyrim, comparing notes on the adventures you’ve both had and ways to improve your combat effectiveness here on out.

It’s a meta-game multiplayer that encourages friends to cooperate on the meta-level. I almost feel like one of the bards in the many taverns across Skyrim detailing my exploits as the Dragon-born with my friends who also share their stories with me. It’s truly wonderful.

“Skyrim” will probably win a lot of this year’s “Game of the Year” awards and for good reason.

It’s the first Bethesda game to be mostly technically sound, while their most polished — game design-wise — with many improvements that make the game better for everyone.

While some people may have put off the “Elder Scrolls” series because it looked too complicated, “Skyrim” is a great time to jump in. It is the most streamlined and player friendly game in the series without sacrificing any of its gameplay or dumbing anything down.

We have a winner here folks. It comes highly recommended from me, and the couple of million other people, who bought it in the first week.