While I’m at it: I haven’t had time to put any thoughts on games. Not that I spend my hours on playing games all the time: however, 2 or 3 months ago, I managed to finish ‘Skyrim’ (product page, wikipedia page).
I’ve played but never finished ‘Oblivion’ (review here) or its predecessor, ‘Morrowind’ (never reviewed): Actually the latter I actually played on an XBOX before but I can’t recall I actually finished it or not. Regardless, while I loved Oblivion, like anyone else, I despised the game’s ‘level scaling algorithm’. Good news first then: in Skyrim there appears to be no level scaling happening. I believe I was able to finish the game in 120+ hours and generally, it wasn’t too hard, combat-wise.
Right: Skyrim is an FPS-based open-world RPG. Technically you can do anything what you want to do in this game: while there are main quest lines (and the dozens of sidequests), you could venture out into a town, kill anybody and walk away from the onslaught. I think in one case, I refused to do a specific side-quest for people of a particular town and since I refused it, I decided just to kill all of them. The beauty of the game is that it detects people have died and (in my case) killed storeowners were replaced by unnamed assistant-shop keepers. Not bad, Bethesda.
Combat is still sort of clunky: Switching from magic to swords (and vice versa) is tedious. Bethesda provided keyboard short cuts, however the amount of available short cuts is not enough. If you’ve selected a combat-like character, there’s no point to try to get ‘magical points': you might just as well find or create the very best armour/shielding there is. There are (and I won’t reveal too much) specific quests to find these items.
Technically and graphically, the game is not too far off from ‘Oblivion': the engine is pretty and scales fairly well (I ran this on my 3-year old P7350 laptop). I don’t recall experiencing ‘slowdowns’ during hectic combat. I believe Skyrim auto-detects your graphical display capabilities: I would recommend to ‘notch it down’ a bit.
There’s so much more to tell about Skyrim: in my 120 hours, while I’ve discovered a lot, I can tell for sure that I’ve not seen 100% of the world. It feels humongous and the changing weather patterns (and northern lights!) make Skyrim feel truly a world of its own. Highly recommended.
See below for screenshots.