For those who aren't familiar, The Elder Scrolls is a fantasy RPG set on the fictional planet, Nirn and mostly revolving around the exploits of adventurers, vampires, royalty, undead, assassins and guilds living on the continent of Tamriel. Skyrim is the fifth major installment set on the frozen region, Skyrim. It sounds confusing I know, but it isn't. The Elder Scrolls has such a deep background that there are hundreds of routes the games could go for their stories, not to mention fan-fiction. To make it easier, I'll break down its world like this:
Skyrim is at the most northern part of Tamriel, a vast plain of arctic tundra, towering mountains thrown up on the edges of the world, swamps and marshlands, dense forests and dangerous caves. Why is Skyrim my favourite ever setting? Well, for starters it's amazing to look at. All one needs to do is scale one of many mountains and take a look at the landscape. It's utterly fantasy, something only the Elder Scrolls can do to such a degree of detail and that doesn't stop when you venture indoors. Every single cave looks different, some more so than others and what I've found, the more different it looks, the worse the creatures are inside. Skyrim is full of fantasy characters and monsters who want nothing more than to pull your head off. Dragons swoop down at a moment's notice to lay waste to the villages and your face, Sabre Cats ambush lonely travelers on the back roads and Mudcrabs guard the streams and coastlines. However, no enemy in Skyrim is as fearsome, disgusting and terrifying as the Frostbite Spider. Standing as tall as a human, they spit poison at you from a distance and close in to attack with their mandibles. For me, these abominations are the only things wrong with the game and I dread encountering them. Mind you, you can't really avoid them since they make their homes in many of Skyrim's caves (mainly only keeping to one room as a nest) and if one wants to finish the main quest, you'll have to wade through a lot of Spidey grottoes. There is one part of the enormous map I try my best to avoid because of Frostbite Spiders, the Rift. The Rift is a dense, colourful autumnal forest where one could easily stand and admire the landscape, but I can't do that. The place crawls with the bastards and I just try my best to sprint through without having to fight one. I hate them, but they add up to Skyrim's character: a beautiful place holding horrible secrets.
Every location is worth exploring and every city has a story to tell. The city of stone, Markarth is known for the Forsworn Uprising and it's Dwarven heritage. Windhelm was the first city built when Man settled on Skyrim and Winterhold boasts the majestic College of Winterhold where mages come to learn magic. However, most of the town collapsed into the Sea of Ghosts and many of the townspeople blame the College for the cataclysm. If you're like me, you'll want to explore all of it and you'll get distracted by the abundance of new locations to discover, explore and raid. Everybody also has something to say as well and many of the games quests can go undiscovered if one doesn't talk to people.
If you were to search up Skyrim's Wikia page, you'd find pages upon pages of lore and none is more interesting than how Man sailed from Atmora, (another continent) conquered Skyrim from the Snow Elves and drove them underground where the Snow Elves sought refuge from the Dwemer (Dwarves) in their underground cities. The Snow Elves were forced to eat toxic plants to survive in their new subterranean homes where they lost their eyesight. This trait got passed down to their children and that's when the Dwemer forced the Snow Elves into slavery. The Snow Elves turned into the twisted race known as the Falmer, blind and merciless, they dwell beneath Skyrim's deepest reaches waiting to attack anybody dumb enough to venture therein. With that history lesson over, there happens to be another great Skyrim mystery that I want to know about: what happened to the Dwemer. All at once they disappeared leaving their underground metropolises unguarded and nobody knows why. Some have their theories and I'll guess we'll have to see if The Elder Scrolls ever answers those questions.
In fact, talking about Skyrim makes me want to play it and it's not as if I've got nothing to do in it anymore. I've played for over 300 hours (no regrets, I can assure you) and I've still got probably another 300 to go. It's weird, I'm not that into fantasy. I couldn't watch the 'Lord of the Rings' films because I kept falling asleep, I haven't yet watched 'Game of Thrones', but the Elder Scrolls is just so rich with knowledge, story and character, I wish that I came up with the story. The tale about the dragon, Alduin and his prophesied return to destroy the world is awesome enough that it makes up Skyrim's main story quest. Skyrim is incredible, the setting, the lore and the game itself. No world in any medium of entertainment has interested me as much as Skyrim. Sure, Airstrip One in '1984' is a fascinating place and so is Culver Creek High School in 'Looking for Alaska', but nothing beats the frozen world of Skyrim.
If you like fantasy, you've probably already played it, but if not, pick up Skyrim and lose yourself.
Songs of the Week:
- 'Read My Mind' by The Killers
- 'Smile Like You Mean It' by The Killers
- 'Retro City' by Adventure Club
- 'A Slow Parade' by A.A Bondy
- 'Blackwater Park' by Opeth
- 'Sleepwalking' by The Chain Gang of 1974