One of the heavy hitters of the gaming industry returns for another round, bringing with it a slew of content to celebrate its tenth birthday!
Believe it or not, a full 10 years have passed since the all-time great The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim dropped. The ancient-action RPG title saw release back in 2011 and has since proven itself to be the seminal work of Bethesda, achieving such success to influence other supermassive titles such as The Witcher and The Legend of Zelda series. To celebrate the decade passed and all that has occurred hitherto, Bethesda are set on releasing a 10th Anniversary Edition of Skyrim, and it will release to Xbox and PlayStation on the same day as the original game ten years prior - a momentous occasion in human history – November 11th.
What is Skyrim?
Before we delve into just what the 10th Anniversary Edition brings, let’s first give a little context into the Skyrim world. Averaging a minimum of 35 hours of pure bliss, Skyrim is somewhat non-linear in its plot arc; the decisions we make do dramatically alter the trajectory of the game, but that is the least of Skyrim’s virtues. We are a refugee in Northern Tamriel, captured by the Imperial Army and ordered by General Tullius to have our heads gruesomely removed by an axe. Fate, or luck, intervenes and we are spared our life in a fortuitous escape from Helgen, the holding camp. We begin to realise that it is by no coincidence that we are here alive and ‘well’ in Skyrim; our blood is far from ordinary, and it matters not what race, gender, or appearance we take on – our character is pivotal in the destiny of the land. Our blood guides us through various communities and cities as we begin to discern who our enemy is: Alduin the World-Eater, a dragon said in folk law to bring a swift eradication to the world.
'We are a refugee in Northern Tamriel, captured by the Imperial Army and ordered by General Tullius to have our heads gruesomely removed by an axe. Fate, or luck, intervenes and we are spared our life in a fortuitous escape from Helgen, the holding camp.'
What does the Anniversary Edition entail?
There have been a few murmurs of discontent in response to the 10th Anniversary Edition of Skyrim as it is one of several re-releases sold in previous years, but as we discuss in our article covering re-masters, some of the greatest games deserve to be brought up to speed – and it just so happens that Skyrim is approaching its tenth birthday. Granted, if you have the 2016 published Special Edition of the game, the Anniversary Edition is probably not worth having; the content is similar, fishing rods and the like. Back in my day catching fish meant getting absolutely mauled by Slaughterfish – times are a changing! The Anniversary Edition brings with it several new features: Survival Mode wherein you take increased damage, cannot fast travel, experience stamina-reducing hunger and fatigue, little to not health regeneration bar potions, reduced carry weight and diseases with long-term effects. Savage! But in Survival Mode comes the true trauma of Tamriel and gives a challenging addition to now-nuanced gameplay, which is not something I yearn for…whatever floats your boat, man!
Is there any content outside of the main questline?
The famed Skyrim DLC collection is automatically integrated into Skyrim 10th Anniversary Edition. The Solstheim-oriented Dragonborn, housebuilding Hearthfire and the Volkihar Dawnguard expansions add multiple hours each to the Viking-style gaming experience. That isn’t all though, also taking part is the Saints and Seducers story which is less like a DLC but more a few mini quests separate from the main plotline revolving around Sheogorath’s Shivering Isles. Even without extra content, Skyrim is a massive game and has secrets galore hiding in caves and redoubts, I learned just last week that ‘taking an arrow to the knee’ is a figure of speech not referring to an injury, rather alluding harshly to the gift of marriage – Mara would not be impressed! Not all the NPC responses are as profound, just so you know. ‘Never should have come here!’
What does gameplay involve?
Skyrim is playable both in first and third-person perspectives and places emphasis on the levelling-up of 18 skills ranging from single-handed weaponry to crafting of resources and destruction magicka, all held in a cosmic afterlife-themed tree. Players can also choose 81 of 251 perks to complement their playing style – increased damage and chances of execution animations, the ability to become invisible while sneaking – you know the drill. As you travel the ancient stones and paths you will encounter subterranean dungeons, ancient ruins, castles, war-torn settlements and bandit outposts, Trolls, Giants, Frostbite Spiders, Wolves, Mudcrabs, Draugr and Dwarven Machines are just some enemy types you will survive against, but your most formidable opponent is of course the fabled dragon and their disciples. To fulfil your destiny, you must endure various battles, craft and loot the best weaponry, armour and enhancing them with arcane enchantments and smithery. I personally had a penchant for Daedric Armour and a little dagger called the Mehrunes Dagon. That said, your most important weapon is arguably the Shout, the inner voice of the Dragonborn, the concept that brewed the many Fus Roh Dah that circulated in the early 2010’s. Happy days. Along the way players will gain and become fond of companions such as Shadowmere and Aela the Huntress, who can join you in your mission and give a bit of auxiliary support. More, players will go on to secure loyalties with the sundry factions and communities you meet in your adventures, and you are sure to pick as many locks and execute as many bandits as you will eat/steal sweetrolls.
'To fulfil your destiny, you must endure various battles, craft and loot the best weaponry, armour and enhancing them with arcane enchantments and smithery.'
Was the game well-received before?
If you are yet to play Skyrim in any depth you have a golden chance waiting for you. Of course, the 10th Anniversary Edition of Skyrim won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but many will still enjoy the 74 creation content mods, 26 of them new, and the chance to re-live the Dragonborn story on ninth-gen hardware. If you haven’t wondered from Markarth to Riften, battling a few sabre-tooth tigers and necromancers on the way, and trundled back to Whiterun accompanied by Jeremy Soule’s brilliant OST, only to then fast-travel to the College of Winterhold to deal with Savos Aren and meet up with Septimus Signus in Blackreach – what have you been doing? Where have you been? Skyrim is unequivocally one of the best games of all time, it garnered excellent judgement upon its release, 96/100 from Metacritic and both the RPG and Overall Game of the Year awards from numerous panels, including IGN and GameSpot. It is our opinion that no gaming portfolio is complete without Skyrim.
'Skyrim is unequivocally one of the best games of all time, it garnered excellent judgement upon its release, 96/100 from Metacritic and both the RPG and Overall Game of the Year awards from numerous panels, including IGN and GameSpot.'
Skyrim was a game that many of us turned to in our adolescence or adulthood, and it turned out that it provided us with a world you couldn’t help but escape to. Ten years on, our lives are often unrecognisable from what they once were, but Skyrim remains a constant for many, somewhere they go to for a rest – and that speaks to the calibre of this game. The ten-year anniversary seems like just the right time for me to jump back into Skyrim - see you in Sovngarde!