“Skyrim” Sets the Bar for Open-World Adventure

There may be no greater feeling than slaying a dragon.

The giant beast flies above and around you while you look for a weak point on its body. As its underside is exposed, you quickly fire arrow after arrow, hoping for any of them to hit. The dragon shrieks and falls as the arrows pierce its skin, crashing to the ground in front of you. Your sword will finish it off.

In terms of sheer size and spectacle, “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” may be one of the most impressive video games ever made. An open-world fantasy, “Skyrim” takes many of the familiar tropes of that genre and throws you into the world with complete freedom to do whatever you want. There is a main story, but you can completely forget about it without any consequences (and you probably will, as it’s not that interesting.)

Like previous games in “The Elder Scrolls” series, you begin as a prisoner, and your execution opens the game. Just as your head is about to be chopped off, a dragon flies into the city, causing mass chaos and allowing you to escape. Once you make your way out of the area, you are on your own, able to climb mountains and explore caves and join various groups with wildly different goals from grand quests to getting married.

It may be impossible to fully complete “Skyrim.” There is easily more than 150 hours of content. As your list of quests grows, there is a real possibility of being overwhelmed by everything. Many seemingly menial tasks can end up taking hours to get through, with a payoff that may not have been worth the effort.

The variation in landscapes has been pulled back from the last “Elder Scrolls” game, 2006’s “Oblivion.” While the previous game featured a world made up of a little bit of everything, “Skyrim” showcases a land that feels like a real country. The world is a beautiful one with snow covering much of the landscape. Something as simple as a waterfall has never been portrayed so perfectly as it is here.

But there’s one thing that stands out above all the rest: fighting dragons. It is as exciting and spellbinding as video games can be at least the first few times, and each one gets more difficult to defeat. They are big, powerful and mean, but by staying on their toes, players can get past them.

Unfortunately, the game has many of the same bugs and glitches as its predecessor. The game crashed once within six hours of starting it, and I wasn’t able to finish one quest due to a bug that stopped all forward progress in a cave. The developers have announced a patch will be released soon to fix many of these problems. It’s unlikely any of the bugs will be game breakers, but whenever they crop up, they are very annoying.

If you can look past those glitches, however, “Skyrim” is a magnificent epic that you could play for a year and not finish. It is an exhilarating, exciting ride that lets you be whatever you want to. Just say goodbye to the real world before beginning.

There may be no greater feeling than slaying a dragon.

The giant beast flies above and around you while you look for a weak point on its body. As its underside is exposed, you quickly fire arrow after arrow, hoping for any of them to hit. The dragon shrieks and falls as the arrows pierce its skin, crashing to the ground in front of you. Your sword will finish it off.

In terms of sheer size and spectacle, “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” may be one of the most impressive video games ever made. An open-world fantasy, “Skyrim” takes many of the familiar tropes of that genre and throws you into the world with complete freedom to do whatever you want. There is a main story, but you can completely forget about it without any consequences (and you probably will, as it’s not that interesting.)

Like previous games in “The Elder Scrolls” series, you begin as a prisoner, and your execution opens the game. Just as your head is about to be chopped off, a dragon flies into the city, causing mass chaos and allowing you to escape. Once you make your way out of the area, you are on your own, able to climb mountains and explore caves and join various groups with wildly different goals from grand quests to getting married.

It may be impossible to fully complete “Skyrim.” There is easily more than 150 hours of content. As your list of quests grows, there is a real possibility of being overwhelmed by everything. Many seemingly menial tasks can end up taking hours to get through, with a payoff that may not have been worth the effort.

The variation in landscapes has been pulled back from the last “Elder Scrolls” game, 2006’s “Oblivion.” While the previous game featured a world made up of a little bit of everything, “Skyrim” showcases a land that feels like a real country. The world is a beautiful one with snow covering much of the landscape. Something as simple as a waterfall has never been portrayed so perfectly as it is here.

But there’s one thing that stands out above all the rest: fighting dragons. It is as exciting and spellbinding as video games can be at least the first few times, and each one gets more difficult to defeat. They are big, powerful and mean, but by staying on their toes, players can get past them.

Unfortunately, the game has many of the same bugs and glitches as its predecessor. The game crashed once within six hours of starting it, and I wasn’t able to finish one quest due to a bug that stopped all forward progress in a cave. The developers have announced a patch will be released soon to fix many of these problems. It’s unlikely any of the bugs will be game breakers, but whenever they crop up, they are very annoying.

If you can look past those glitches, however, “Skyrim” is a magnificent epic that you could play for a year and not finish. It is an exhilarating, exciting ride that lets you be whatever you want to. Just say goodbye to the real world before beginning.