A Decade Later: Why Is Skyrim Still So Good?

James Warrell

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an open-world action RPG developed by Bethesda Studios. Yet despite being released in 2011, Skyrim continues to be a widely talked about and popular RPG, with fans constantly inquiring about the release of The Elder Scrolls VI. James delves into the video game and how it remains a gaming staple ten years later.

What is Skyrim about?

Skyrim was originally released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on the 11th November 2011. Skyrim was created following the extremely popular Elder Scrolls Oblivion, another titan of the gaming industry. With incredibly deep lore and backstory (which is based on the same continent as previous installations in the Elder Scrolls series), Skyrim’s success is understandable. The developers even created a whole language for Skyrim (that being Dragon).                    

The game is centred around your character, The Dragonborn, that possesses the power to speak the language of dragons easier than any other mortal. The main objective is to kill Alduin, the evil Dragon Lord, wishing to enslave all of Tamriel (the continent where Skyrim is based). 

Questing and Exploration

The plethora of side quests never feels old

Although the main quest is probably the weakest of all the big quests in Skyrim, this is not a critique of Skyrim but a massive compliment to the other quests. For instance, you can end a whole civil war if you want to, or become the greatest assassin in the history of Skyrim, where the staggering quest quality always leaves you to feel satisfied at the end.

The plethora of side quests never feels old, with quests centring around mythical beings known as Daedric Princes, which all have varying and unique personalities. As a result, each quest to receive overpowered equipment feels special. There are many side quests based around NPCs all over the map, who all tell their own story, ever-expanding the mythos of Skyrim. 

Other miscellaneous quests are not quite as fascinating, as they mostly consist of fetching items. But some quests have the potential to lead to bigger quests, e.g. if you hear about them through an inn. There is also an abundance of dungeons, all containing small twists that keep them interesting. However, the rewards for exploring the dungeons (loot, new shouts and potions) always feel rewarding enough to make them enjoyable. Thus, exploration is always rewarded and players who like world building will love the breadcrumbs spread thoroughly in many dungeons, which expand on the secrets of Skyrim and Tamriel. 


The dialogue, even ten years after, remains excellent and befitting of Skyrim’s ‘Game of the Year’ status. With all lines being voice acted, it gives the world more immersion that is most important in a game where you want to feel like you are the one in control. I will caveat this by mentioning that some lines are repeated across NPC’s and feel a bit clunky. But what do you expect from a game that is ten years old?

Combat and Skill Levelling

Combat is always engaging and never an afterthought

One of the most important additions in Skyrim was the simplification of the skill system and progression, making the series more accessible. Skills can be levelled up by using associated items. For example, smithing something to raise the smithing skill, using a one-handed sword to raise one-handedness, using certain magic types to raise skill, and so forth. This system is highly addictive and rewarding. 

The combat is not the main part of the game, but the variety of options to take never feel like an afterthought. From magic, stealth, hack and slash, there are three very distinct styles to experience, not to mention the ability to use legendary skills, allowing you to combine all three. If you ask anyone about the most fun thing to do in Skyrim, throwing enemies off a cliff with unrelenting force will probably be a common answer. As you can tell, combat is always engaging and never an afterthought.

Incredible Expansions

The three expansions of Skyrim, Hearthfire, Dawnguard and Dragonborn are exemplary examples of how DLCs should be made. Two DLCs add completely new areas and mechanics to the base game. Dawnguard and Dragonborn contribute incredible stories to the base game, with some of the most memorable characters appearing in both. Dragonborn is based on an island called Solstheim, modelled after Morrowind (another continent in Tamriel), giving a completely different feel to the base game, while Dawnguard is all about the vampires. Hearthfire (by far) adds the least. 

Skyrim really is a giant in the gaming industry

In conclusion, Skyrim remains a masterpiece due to its countless interesting quests, engaging combat and stunning world-building. Skyrim really is a giant in the gaming industry.

James Warrell

Featured Image courtesy of @erydia via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

In-article video 1 courtesy of Bethesda Softworks via youtube.com. No changes were made to this video.

In-article image 1 courtesy of @ElderScrolls via @twitter.com. No changes were made to this image.

In-article video 2 courtesy of StraightUpIrish via youtube.com. No changes were made to this video.

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