My favorite video game of all time right now is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the PC, Xbox360, and Playstation 3. Skyrim is an open-world role-playing fantasy game, which hits many of my favorite things about video games.
- Open-World: I love when games are open-world because there’s more freedom to them. You can go where you want and do what you like. You’re not constricted to platform jumping or limited to levels. The whole world is open for you to explore. This makes the world, itself, a character for you to explore, discover, and get to know. Open-world games have much more replay value and are much easier for me to get lost in and spend hours with. They are my absolute favorite.
- Role-Playing: Now role-playing is like an open-world, but for your character. Role-playing allows you to customize your character how you want and often allows you to level up and progress through the game how you want. You can make decisions, choose options, and sometimes even change the gameplay or your character’s fate. Role-playing adds that bit of customization and also allows for more re-playability.
- Fantasy: One of my favorite genres is fantasy because I love mythical beasts, medieval times, and a little bit of magic. My favorite part of fantasy is the bestiary, and Skyrim has the best fantastical creatures: dragons. Not only does Skyrim have dragons, but it also has mammoths, sabre-toothed tigers, werewolves, horkers (fantasy walruses,) and other strange creatures. Skyrim is set in the right style for me.
Now, as I mentioned, the open-world aspect of Skyrim is probably my absolute favorite thing about the game. I can spend hours just exploring the landscape and viewing the wildlife. What makes Skyrim so special is the land, itself. Skyrim, the home of the nords, is a masterpiece and is a joy to roam.
All of the pictures within the post are in-game footage of the world you can explore, meaning that none of these photos are artwork or were touched-up in any way. These photos are straight out of the game, what you could see by simply venturing Skyrim.
Not only does Skyrim offer a beautiful landscape, it also offers a variety of landscapes. There are many natural features in Skyrim making it interesting to explore as the land changes from hold to hold.
Of course, the most common features in Skyrim are the mountains. Skyrim is the northern province of Tamriel, home to the rugged and hardy nords. Nords are strong people who are used to cold, rugged, snowy climates, so it makes sense that most of Skyrim is frigid, rocky, and white. Skyrim is incredibly mountainous, offering thousands of stunning views. At just about any moment, one can climb upon a hill or cliff and look out upon the beauty that is Skyrim.
Not as mighty as majestic as mountains, cliffs are still incredibly common in Skyrim. These steep angles can create a challenge when battling animals, creatures, and monsters, or when trying to traverse the land. They can create quite the beautiful view, though.
Wherever there are mountains and cliffs, there are bound to be valleys. Most of the valleys within Skyrim have rivers and streams flowing through them, adding even more to the beauty of the landscape. Surrounded by the tall, towering mountains, one feels even smaller in the already vast land of Skyrim and can even spot dragons flying overhead at times.
Skyrim is incredibly well-known for being a cold climate filled with snow and ice. These lands can be rugged and challenging to travel through as snowstorms rage on continuously. These storms can blind travelers as they struggle to follow the few paths.
As valleys open up, you’ll come across the wide, open plains of Central Skyrim. Home to herds of mammoths and elk, the plains stretch for as far as one can see, a blanket of wavering yellow foliage. In the center of the plains is the magnificent city of Whiterun, a neutral area during the time of Skyrim’s civil war and home to the great castle, Dragonsreach. While I don’t enjoy the plains as much as some of the other areas, they’re still a sight to see.
Forests are scattered all throughout Skyrim, but there are different forests to see. Along the Southern border of Skyrim around the shady city of Riften, the land glows with an Autumn feeling as warm colors invade the eyes. Birch trees with canopies of gold and copper fill the land and shed their leaves upon the forest floor. This area is home to lots of deer and bear, giving them plenty of shade, food, and shelter.
Along the Northern reaches of Skyrim reign the pine forests filled with ancient, looming pine trees. These forests can be found all across Skyrim, sometimes dry, sometimes snowy, and sometimes completely snow-covered. I would say that the pine forest is the second most common feature in Skyrim, after the mountains. They are pretty standard and home to a wide variety of wildlife.
Spread all throughout Skyrim are rivers. I love following the rivers to see where they lead. There are often paths alongside rivers, but occasionally there are smaller, more hidden rivers within the forest. One of my favorite rivers flows through the Hold of Whiterun and is the main staple of the town of Riverwood. Nestled on this river, Riverwood relies on its waters to run its watermill to help with their wood-cutting business.
One of the most majestic sights in Skyrim are the many waterfalls. These waters can be quaint, like the tiny waterfall just outside of Riverwood, or can be massive such as the large collection of waterfalls to the east of the Throat of the World. I enjoy listening to their soothing sounds and taking in the view from atop these impressive sights. It can also be enjoyable to chill at the bottom of the falls.
Also hidden throughout Skyrim, usually in forests, are many lakes and ponds. Water is not uncommon in Skyrim as there are several lakes, streams, and rivers. There are two very large lakes in Skyrim, one centrally located, and another in the Southeast. The lakes in Skyrim are home to a wide variety of fish including salmon, histcarp, and even slaughterfish, a kind of carnivorous fish that resembles an alligator and feeds upon human flesh like a piranha.
As you draw closer to the Northern coasts of Skyrim, you begin to enter swamp territory filled with marshy ponds and puddles. Often filled with fog and dimly-lit, the swamps are probably my least-favorite natural feature in Skyrim. The swamps surround the city of Morthal and stop right up on the edge of the capitol of Solitude. Many creepy things can be found in Skyrim’s swamps, so I usually like to travel elsewhere.
One of my favorite cities in Skyrim is Solitude, a large city sitting on a cliff overlooking a large cove. This cove is home to a trading business that relies on ships to carry goods from hold to hold. Sunsets are particularly beautiful when setting over this body of water.
Because Skyrim has other regions surrounding its Eastern, Western, and Southern borders, you can only find the ocean on the Northern shores of Skyrim. Filled with glacial masses of land and icebergs, I imagine the waters are extremely frigid. Stretching out until the water meets with the sky, the oceans contain mystery and wonder beneath their deep, blue depths. They’re usually very still, not splashing or creating waves. There was at one time, however, when a massive storm of waves overcame the coastal city of Winterhold and dragged most of it to the ocean floor. Once the most powerful city in Skyrim, Winterhold is now the smallest and most fragile within the region, all because of the powerful ocean.