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Why The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim May Be One of the Greatest Games Ever Created (Outdated)

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    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition

    Rating: 4.5 – Outstanding

    Why The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim May Be One of the Greatest Games Ever Created (Outdated)

    In response to the criticism I have received regarding this contribution, I have written an all-new review to properly reflect my thoughts on the game. It addresses many of the faults levied against the original review (this one).

    Video games have undoubtedly become an ever-growing pillar of modern society. Their influence on culture, customs, economics, politics and the realm of entertainment can not be overstated. Though failure of games is often tantamount to the internal financial collapse of their developers, success can be just as potent. Bethesda Game Studios, a division of Bethesda Softworks and sister company to Zenimax Media, are one such master. A quick glance over their vast collection of noteworthy franchises should be more than enough to prove their creative muster. Let’s begin with one particular series: The Elder Scrolls.

    The Elder Scrolls can trace its roots all the way back to the very early 1990’s when Bethesda Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks had yet to diverge into two autonomous entities. The studio was known mostly for its catalog of mediocre sports games, as well as a diverse assortment of movie-licensed bombs. The concept for The Elder Scrolls began as a gladiatorial, arena-based fighting game, wherein a band of followers could be attracted to compete alongside the protagonist in the Imperial City in order to win the title of “Grand Champion”, but the idea was scrapped in favor of what would later become the far more ambitious saga that we know and love, replete with succinct-yet-enthralling narratives, a breadth of wonderfully frivolous details, and rich, densely-packed worlds to explore at the player’s discretion.

    Hot off the heels of their latest game, 1996’s The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, the then-fledgling company had grand hopes for the third installment, but several infamous missteps initially crippled its development. A duo of spin-offs, An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire and The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard, respectively, would be released chronologically over the next two years. These new entries into the typically sandbox-esque franchise thrusted the player into controlled scenarios, while also focusing more heavily on much smaller locations. A plethora of technical squabbles plagued their respective releases, and many critics condemned the restrictive, corridor-like nature of the spin-offs, citing the previous games’ willingness to embrace open and unique world designs, a feature that would eventually become a defining characteristic of the series. All of these issues cohorting in tandem led to deepening financial woes for Bethesda Game Studios.

    The “impending” release of the coveted third installment would be pushed from 1999 to 2002 due to budgetary restrictions. All the while, the company was thrashing to survive among its failing tide of software. Come 2002, the first successful 3-D game in the franchise would be birthed: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Immediately and unabashedly lauded by critics and gamers alike, it would eventually find itself atop several Greatest Games of All Time lists, while effectively reviving its developer in the process. The main series would see nothing but critical acclaim throughout the rest of its years, with both The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim scoring highly among the greatest gaming hits of the last two decades.

    Skyrim in particular has become a cultural phenomenon, as well as an icon in the RPG genre, cementing its position in gaming history, with many lesser titles vying for its place. The game improved on its predecessors in nearly every conceivable way and prompted numerous innovations within the genre and the industry as a whole. Other game-makers, in the hopes of selling a nigh-infinite amount of copies, often boast of their game’s likeness to Skyrim, most commonly in terms of relative “world size”, but the bursting seams of Skyrim’s universe are not what make it so distinct; It’s what lies within them that make it all worth remembering. Skyrim is, without a glimpse of doubt, a game for the ages.

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