Skyrim originally launched November 11th, 2011. Between it, Assassin’s Creed Revelations, Zelda: Skyward Sword, and the release of SWTOR a month later, I never really got the time on it I wanted. I came to the Elder Scroll series through Fallout, but had only played Oblivion before Skyrim. I’ve never taken the time to play through the previous three titles like I had done for Fallout. Regardless, I did enjoy Oblivion quite a bit so I was pretty excited about Skyrim. After the hype of SWTOR wore off and I allowed myself to get back to other games, Skyrim always seems to be at the top of the list to get done. I’ve picked it back up and stopped again half a dozen times since it’s release. In that time, three different DLC’s have been released for the game adding even more hours to the game. However, after one year and three months, I finally “finished” the game. As anybody who has played Bethesda games before can tell you, you could spend a lifetime completing every quest in a given title, but I completed enough of it that I feel ok to finally move on to other things.
The game plays identical to Oblivion and the newest Fallout games, and as always, I spend much of my time exploring dungeons and caves, constantly fighting to keep my inventory from becoming too full to move. In Oblivion I had played a standard Fighter character with a sword and shield. I started the same way in Skyrim, but as the only way to level up in the game is to gain skill in different weapon types, each time I maxed one out I would have to switch to a different type to keep leveling. By the end of the game I had everything but a few different magic types maxed out. What I found was that of all the different play styles, I found the most joy in sneaking around and shooting people with arrows. This was especially fun when the targets were mages, and I could hit them before I was seen with a magic draining arrow which rendered them relatively harmless. I usually had them dead long before they were able to locate me and run up with their dagger as their magic was depleted.
In all my previous Bethesda games, I spent all my time working through sidequests, and then only moving on to main story when everything else was done. If you read my achievement list on Fallout 3, you would notice the achievement for completing the main quest was the last achievement I got. Skyrim was completely different though. I was so rushed for time that I plowed through the main story first. Having seen games from both angles, I prefer my old method more. By the time I completed all the original content and three DLC packs, I had amazing armor, awesome houses, the best weapons in the game, Shadowmere, everything. But there wasn’t anything to do with it. I was already the hero, and all these cool things were to stop a threat I had already stopped. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was disappointed, but it has reaffirmed my play-style for these types of games.
I really hope that Dragonborn isn’t the last DLC for the game, but with Bethesda going full steam on their upcoming Elder Scrolls Online, I doubt they will be making any further content for Skyrim. Truth be told I’d rather they were working on their next Fallout title, but I will reserve judgment of their MMO until I’ve seen it first hand. It was somewhat sad placing Skyrim back on the shelf having it now completed. I had a lot of fun running all over Skyrim slaying dragons, giants, dark mages, and bandits. I don’t know how long it will be before I make it back.