LSD OWNS THE GAME
#1: SKYRIM REVIEW
By MIKEY LEE RAY
Copyright 2015 by MIKEY LEE RAY
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Hi there dear readers and welcome to LSD OWNS THE GAME. If you haven’t noticed already LSD is branching out and franchising into different categories for reviews. The goal is to provide short but insightful and entertaining reviews, commentaries and articles on all the things we know and love such as video games, music, artists and songs, movies, TV shows, plays and things of that nature. We’re also working on an experimental piece called LSD MAKES A SCENE where the LSD editors Richard Batchelor and myself Mikey Lee Ray are extras (along with famous literary and historical figures) in various scenes from well known popular books. This last one is a work in progress.
I’m aiming to write as many pieces as I can in the form of reviews, news, commentaries and articles and as much of this content as possible will be free. LSD issue #1 is free to read and review and the other issues are only 99 cents (a bargain). If you’re reading this then I only ask you the following, namely that if you enjoy it please share it around and write a positive review or at the very least make your criticisms constructive and not destructive. Richard and I put a lot of work into our writing and the last thing any writer needs are trolls who criticize their (usually free) work and have nothing positive to say. Just a disclaimer and something that needed to be said folks. We’re in this for the love not the money and we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it. Thanks – Mikey
Now I know what you’re thinking, why start a new segment with a game that’s been out for years? Why not begin by reviewing something newer like Grand Theft Auto 5 or Fallout 4? Or Star Wars Battlefront? Answer, because Skyrim is freaking awesome.
Throughout my life I’ve put a lot of hours into my gaming, from its beginnings on the Amiga, to the Sega Mega Drive, the Nintendo 64 and then the Playstation 2, 3 and 4… to say nothing of the time spent on classic button mashing arcade games. And while most games have a limited shelf life I can honestly say that Skyrim is a game that I can keep coming back to and enjoying as if for the first time each time anew.
What gives the game its lastability and its replayability (is that a word, it is now) you ask dear readers? I think it’s the freedom of choice that players have when creating characters. That and the awesome opening that thrusts the player right into the heart of the action, a close call in which you are almost beheaded, the appearance of a dragon and the discussion on the way to said almost execution set up the story beautifully while shedding light on the world of Skyrim. What follows is a great tutorial that shows you the ropes and then throws the character into the deep end by leaving them in a huge open world to explore by themselves.
Whether or not you go on to continue the Civil War main questline is up to you or whether you just choose to explore the world and do the many side quests while leveling up your character and taking on a wide range of foes.
Most games these days pride themselves on the choices they offer players and showing them the outcomes of said choices. But in most games like for example Grand Theft Auto the choice is usually kill character A or character B. Whereas in Skyrim the choices are more difficult and more involved.
Will you turn the Redguard woman over to the Alik’r warriors for justice or will you hunt them down and take them out to let her be free to live her own secret life in Whiterun under a false name? Will you help Ulfric and the Stormcloaks take control of Skyrim and lead the rebellion to victory or will you join the Empire and crush it mercilessly? Who is in the right? Also, will you be a hero whose quests are done to help the people of the various towns throughout Skyrim or will you be a mercenary who does it for the coin?
Games like The Witcher owe quite a lot to Skyrim inspiration wise that’s for sure. What gives the game its lastability I think is the many different quest lines that you can pursue simultaneously during your travels. There’s the Thieve’s Guild, The Dark Brotherhood, the Companions and others. Each one upon completion gives the character certain awesome benefits that make the time invested in them totally worth it. But what kind of character will you be is the million dollar question? A magical character? A warrior with two handed weapons? An archer? A sneaky assassin? Or a combination of these, a Master Alchemist who can make kick ass potions and posions then hit your unsuspecting victims with one on an arrow and go in hell for leather with some badass magic as well?
Before Skyrim I was never big on fantasy games, I avoided World of Warcraft (and still do), never played Dungeons and Dragons or any other well known fantasy games but Skyrim converted me to a fan of the genre. Nowadays I favor magical characters because they add something new to combat I think. You can only swing a sword, battleaxe or fire a bow so many times before it gets dull I think. Why do that ad nauseam when you can conjure up fire and frost atronachs, familiars, raise the dead to fight by your side, knock your opponents down with lightning blasts, ice storms and fire and more? To say nothing of invisibility potions which are kick ass as well.
That’s what I mean by the incredible freedom of choice this game offers. As you level up and pick certain perks you’re determining what kind of character you’re going to become, your strengths and your preferred fighting style in combat and your abilities when crafting be it smithing, enchanting or alchemy.
Then there are the different races from Orcs, different kinds of humans to various kinds of Elves to Khajiit (cat people), Argonians (lizard people) and others. All of which have their different strengths, weaknesses and special abilities to help you in combat. As well as this Skyrim creates its own history and its own Mythology, each race has its own history with the other races, their own fears and prejudices against certain ones and their own distrusts which make the other characters very real.
Even if you do decide to have a warrior character it doesn’t hurt to know your smithing so you can craft a decent suit of armor for when you rush headlong into that next big fight. Other things that make Skyrim truly awesome are the ability to switch between first and third person. Doesn’t sound like a big deal but it’s very cool because most games these days are either one or the other. You get used to watching your character in first person moving around with a weapon in front of them or like in Grand Theft Auto you get used to watching them in third person. Switching between the two has its obvious advantages like in the middle of combat you can be in first person while you aim with a bow or switch to third person while you’re sneaking around and trying to remain undetected. Or you can switch to third person to look at the awesome suit of armor you’ve just made and smithed up for yourself. This switching between perspectives is also something that works very well in the Fallout series.
Another thing that gives Skyrim its lastability is the work done by the modding community to improve graphics and add certain things to the game to make it more fun. Being honest the graphics were awesome before but now thanks to PC modders they’re just awe inspiring to look at.
The world of Skyrim is all encompassing, you start out in the mountains and ascend to the heights of snowy peaks, you trudge through frozen, desolate wastelands or run through swamps and enter into hidden caves hidden behind waterfalls, navigate your way through Dwarven ruins, underground labyrinths within which all manner of foes from Draugrs, Falmer, Bandits and others may be hiding.
You can go from collecting ingredients for a potion to doing battle with giants, trolls, wolves and dragons in a heartbeat. The danger is real and random and the action is awesome. Difficulty wise it’s entirely up to you, I started playing on Legendary recently and it is a great challenge. The enemies scale in difficulty so you have to choose your perks carefully as you level up so that you can survive in combat.
I enjoy the add ons as well which definitely added something to the game such as the cool island of Solstheim and new weapons and things to craft and what not. I have to say that alongside Fallout 3 and 4, Skyrim is definitely on my top games of all time list so I think if you haven’t played it and you’ve got a PS3 or Xbox or PC (for the mods) you should definitely check it out. Time will tell if the latest Skyrim will be as awesome graphics wise as the new Fallout but no doubt it is one that current Skyrim fans are eagerly anticipating. I give the game a well earned five stars. What about you, what do you think? This is Mikey Lee Ray signing out for now and I hope you enjoyed LSD’s first in-depth game review. If so please leave a review and comments and share it around. Thanks.
The editors of LSD Magazine launch its spin-off game review series LSD OWNS THE GAME with its first review of the popular classic fantasy game SKYRIM.