Escapist EditorialsGame of the Year 2011Escapist Editorials - RSS 2.0
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2011's Game of the Year!
Steve Says: Like a few of this year's other nominees, Skyrim eschews the dialogue-driven morality systems that have been dominating RPGs for the past decade. In Skyrim, the way you choose to play the game is every bit as expressive as the choices you make during conversations. Every person I spoke to has had a completely different experience, not just in the direction they've travelled but in the way they meet the challenges that come up along the way. You set the priorities and you determine how to achieve those goals. Best of all, each of our characters have naturally grown based solely on what we as players find most interesting. It's rare that a game that identifies and then expresses a player's personality so easily, but Skyrim manages to do it better than just about any other game I've ever played.
Susan Says: The reasons Skyrim showed up on this list are pretty obvious - it's a huge, sprawling game that suits many different playstyles while crafting a heroic progression that you're actually likely to care about. And all of that makes it a great game that should be in your library, but what makes it my game of the year are the dragons. Other creatures in the game are far more deadly (stupid jerk bears), but the dragons of Skyrim are noble, elegant, graceful, and terrifying. Alduin, the talking black dragon at the heart of the game, is a marvelous villain, and the noise that erupts from dragon throats as they bellow their rage is positively bone-rattling. I remember every single dragon I encountered in Skyrim - even the ones that just popped up randomly to give me a hard time (or roast a mud crab). When I think of Skyrim, it won't be for the characters (whose names I can't remember anyway), or even most of the questlines. It'll be for the dragons.
Greg Says: There is no wrong way to play Bethesda's fifth Elder Scrolls game. The sheer amount of content available - from the various organizations like the Dark Brotherhood and the Companions to the random quests found through exploration of the frozen countryside - is staggering and every gamer I hear discussing their play in Skyrim is completely different from mine. Everything comes together: the world-building is superb, the voice-acting works great and the art style is consistent. Skyrim is how RPGs - and all games really - will be judged for years to come.
Paul Says: Alright, so we've all heard ad nauseam as to how great Skyrim is (not to mention that meme about knees and arrows), but the reality is that Skyrim deserves just about all of the praise it's getting. It's a fantastic game that brings an insanely detailed and expansive world to the table, but it's also accessible enough that even someone who has a love/hate relationship with RPGs (like yours truly) will find something that'll keep bringing you back for just one more quest. Whether it hacking my way through Draugr-filled caves, slicing up an ice-breathing dragon or just wandering around the highly-detailed environment, I'm fascinated by how many fantasy-world shenanigans I'll run into every time I try to take a simple stroll from one village to the next, and how the setting can change drastically after just a few minutes of walking. After dozens of hours of playing and a handful of quests under my character's belt, chances are I'm going to be happily blazing a trail through the snowy landscape of Skyrim for quite a while.