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#26: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
Last Year: New

To say that Skyrim is an impressive game is quite the understatement. Skyrim is probably the most impressive game I've ever played. An enormous world (another understatement) to explore... filled to the brim with vibrant cities, mysterious dungeons, snow capped mountains (which are a pain in the butt to cross), and flora and fauna of all shapes and sizes. There's literally enough in-game books to fill an actual library, and the game's multitude of different cultures, mythologies, religions, gods, demons, and languages would even make J.R.R. Tolkien blush. Heck, even with the right DLC purchase you can create your own home and have your own in-game family. Looking back, this game is an incredible accomplishment in gaming. It's no surprise that I've played over 320 hours of this game (and still counting).

And it's because of that fact, the fact that this game is so impressive and such an accomplishment in and of itself... that Skyrim is such a frustrating game for me. It had the potential to be one of my favorite games of all time... yet only ends up as just a great one. Despite accomplishing so much, a closer look will reveal numerous flaws. Innumberable amount of glitches serves to annoy (thank goodness I have the PC version with mods and commands), combat can be somewhat dull (Especially armed combat. Luckily being a sneaking-type increases the fun as I try to stay hidden and perform backstabs), some quests are just glorified time-wasters, dungeons for the most part are paint-by-numbers and uninspired in their quality (as are the "puzzles", if you can call them that), and the game's main story isn't anything to write home about (although with the game's open ended style, I can sort of understand why they didn't spend more focus on it. There's a lot more game than just the main story.)

But my biggest complaint is that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim lacks heart. For all it's grandiose achievements and wonderful accomplishments, there's very little of this game that will stick with me after all is said and done. There's very little in this game that shows me it has a beating heart underneath. Don't get me wrong, there's still a beat once in a while... and when that happens Skyrim has some of the best moments in gaming (Ironically enough, I really appreciated HeartFire for bringing a little soul into the game. Adopting some of the orphans was such a breath of fresh air and very heart-warming, especially when they accepted you as their parent.). Unfortunately, these moments are far and few between. Because the game is so open and so vast, the game's soul has been spread thin. I will, however, say that Jeremy Soule's work in the Skyrim soundtrack was amazing. One of the best gaming OST's I've come across.

Like I said before, Skyrim could have been one of the (if not the) greatest games I've ever played. But for now it's just a vibrant, detailed, and wonderfully impressive suit... worn by a man in his twilight... with shallowed breath and a slowed beat of his heart.