The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a great game. Not only does it play host to a great story, great characters, and great gameplay, but it also happens to have some of the best and most awe-inspiring scenery in any game ever. There are hundreds of moments that make your jaw hit the floor, but here are a few of my personal favorite moments from Skyrim that made me say, “Wow”.
Heading into Skyrim for the first time was exciting and beautiful. Especially after playing Oblivion and the Fallout games which were beginning to show their age. The introduction to every game begins with you arrested in some way or another and this was no different, but immediately after finishing the other three games before picking Skyrim up, it already looked to be one of the best looking games I’d ever seen. New character models, better graphics and beautiful scenery – the intro was just a taste of the gorgeous world ready to unfold.
Nothing was more jaw-dropping than creating that first character and seeing how well the models looked when compared to previous games by Bethesda. It was an amazing experience. Even now, months after the game’s release, it’s easy to get lost in customizing a character and creating someone alive for this world. Whether it’s by their level of dirtiness, scars across their face, or eye color – the customization gets you ready to explore this vast and beautiful landscape.
That first night in-game when I took a look at the sky made me stop and stare for some time. Something about aurorae make you do that and in a game like this that already feels so real and alive, it can make you feel like you’re really there seeing this amazing sight. I really want to see aurorae myself before I die, so this small, but significant addition to the night skies in-game really showed some depth of design and creativity in making this world. It definitely makes you want to sit back and look at the beauty for hours… if not for raiders and dragons.
When Oblivion came out, people complained that every cave looked too similar and too static. There were too many similarities and not enough uniqueness. In Skyrim, there is no such complaint. Every single cave is different. And not only are they different, but they are stunningly gorgeous and wonderful. Several caves look like diorama forests (see photo above) where light shines through the top and rivers flow around. Other caves have entire cities in them and creatures waiting to attack. Caves with pirate ships crashed inside them, caves inside caves inside caves (Caveception!), caves with ruins, and caves with entire storylines contained within themselves. It’s truly magnificent.
One particular cave became my favorite and I wanted to make it my home, but due to giant, furry monster problems, I was never able to fulfill that dream.
Hidden under Dwemer ruins lies Blackreach, an insanely beautiful and glowing chasm. The first time you step foot into Blackreach, you can’t help but set down the controller to gander at what you’re seeing. Blackreach is a Dwemer-based area covered with baddies and mushrooms – giant, glowing mushrooms, that is. Not only is this place massive, but it’s also a sight to see. Water flows around the caves and forms little lakes around the area, while ruins of old Dwemer homes and buildings litter the expansive cave. A bright orange ball of light can be seen from all over the blue glowing cave and when poked and prodded by certain abilities, a dragon will appear, giving you not only one heck of a fight, but one in the most beautiful place in-game.
Nothing makes a world feel even more alive than a living world itself. Trees rustling, people bustling about, animals wandering the traveled roads. It’s the small things that makes Skyrim’s world feel real. A rabbit running by and being chased by a wolf or a wandering bard singing songs to weary travelers, it all feels real and unique. Seeing people fishing in lakes and rivers, small camps set up by gypsy Khajiit and hunters, or even random duels between Imperials and Stormcloaks. The world feels alive and sucks you in. You know you’re playing a game, but at the same time, you care about what’s going on. The people, the places, and the story.
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of things you can encounter in-game. Fifty hours in, a man ran up to me to ask me to hold an item for him. I complied and took it, before he snuck off into the trees warning me not to snitch on him or else he would kill me. Another man came up moments later exclaiming he had just been robbed. I handed him the item I was given and pointed him in the direction of the thief. He thanked me and ran off. If fifty hours in, I still encounter amazing little treats like that, it shows the depth the world has and how much love was put into creating a vibrant and exciting place to be in.
You can literally be anyone or anything you want in the game. A fisherman that lives alone in the wilderness catching fish to sell to travelers and towns, a blacksmith or miner collecting the necessary items to create beautiful armor, a warrior that kills anyone in his way, a thief looking to make as much money as possible, an assassin just looking to kill, or all of them together. There is no limit to the types of experiences you can have in Skyrim. I am well into 200+ hours between six characters in my copy and I have no intention to stop here. Especially with DLC like Dawnguard being released. Fus ro dah.
Are there moments in Skyrim that really made your jaw drop? Share them in the comments!
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