By: Dan Dankert
5 Games every PC gamer should own and need to play
- Ori and the Blind Forest
- Crusader Kings 2
- Dark Souls 1
#1- Skyrim or Skyrim: Special Edition
If you have been following this list, you may have a pretty good idea of what I believe the most iconic and what I feel is the game you need to own, and need to play if you are a PC Gamer. If you guessed Skyrim, you are absolutely right.
If you have no experience with Skyrim or have no idea what it is, this is how I explain Skyrim to people who don’t know anything about it. It’s kind of like Lord of the Rings, but with dragons. This is a rudimentary description and rather obtuse but it gets the point across. Skyrim is set in a Nordic land where combat is done with swords, bow and arrows, or even magic if you so choose.
The game takes place in Skyrim, and the land is currently on the brink of civil war. The Imperials, and the Stormcloaks, hate each other and feel like they are the true rulers of Skyrim. While all of this goes on, you are in the city of Helgen, when a dragon attacks and destroys the city. You manage to escape but now you have to warn people of a nearby town that the dragons have returned. I won’t go into the specific plot points of the game, but you find out that you are the Dragonborn, the only person who can permanently kill a dragon and it’s up to you to stop dragons from terrorizing Skyrim.
I still remember the first time I played Skyrim. I heard people talking about it when I was a senior in high school, it was a topic that most people tried to avoid, because it was seen as nerdy, but a topic that once people opened up to talking about, the conversation could go on for hours.
After hearing people talk about it for months, I decided to give it a shot. At the time Family Video had this promotion where if you brought in your report card you got a free movie rental for every A, if you had so many A’s you could turn that into a free game rental. I ended up renting Skyrim for Xbox 360 using a free 2 day rental and fell in love with it in the first hour or two of gameplay.
It was during these two days, that I was running around in the mountains and came across this statue that is hundreds of feet tall. When I first saw it, I was in the midst of a blizzard, and it wasn’t even after 30 seconds of inspecting the monolith that a dragon started circling overhead. Such amazing scenery and immersive discovery made this a treat to play at the time, and years later I am still finding new things I didn’t know existed in the game.
I bet I have around 200 hours logged on my main character on the Xbox 360. I have also had countless other characters where I spent probably 50+ hours on each of them. I now also own Skyrim: Special Edition for the PC.
The opening scene is mesmerizing, it captivates you, sucks you in, and lets you breathe in the culture and the world that you will undoubtedly end up playing hundreds of hours in. Between the opening scene, and going to get the dragon stone in the first major set of quests, I was truly immersed in the world, its lore, and my role in saving it.
If you have played through once or many times and find the first several hours repetitive, you can download the Choose Alternate Start mod for Skyrim: Special Edition and start as a house owning citizen in one of the major holds, or you can start as a member of one of the major guilds. I just recently decided to start a new character and playthrough some of the DLC that I had never finished. I used the alternate start mod and begun in a little town on the northwest part of the map in a city called Dawnstar from here I began my journey as an imperial who was bent on ridding Skyrim of vampires, the undead and Daedra. This past weekend I spent more time than I should have rediscovering the game through intriguing side quests and DLC. I have more than 20 hours so far on this new playthrough and I have yet to even start the main quest line and I have no plans to start it any time soon.
What truly sets Skyrim apart is its masterful storytelling. Whether you are doing the main quest and dragon hunting, or trying to make the thieves guild great again, you are thrust into a story that puts you in the thick of things time and time again, waiting for the next plot twist, or cliff hanger. It’s very difficult to play Skyrim, and put down the controller when you are in the middle of a major quest line especially on your first play through. Without any form of cooperative gameplay, Skyrim relies on its story mode to deliver and it will deliver quest after quest of interesting and unique situations. What Skyrim lacks in multiplayer it more than makes up with some of the best story design you will ever experience.
Another thing that makes Skyrim amazing is its attention to detail and its ginormous world. Skyrim is an open world game, and that means that unless you are at the far reaches of the map, if you can see something you can go to it. There are mountains in Skyrim you can climb, oceans you can swim in, labyrinths to figure out. There are also a wealth of different biomes for lack of a better word. In the north you have mountains and tundra. This region has specific weather patterns, sometimes it will snow, or blizzard which is an awesome touch to the game, the randomness of the weather makes it feel different every time you go exploring. The southeast is filled with swamp areas and wooded areas where a thunderstorm could break out at any minute. The middle of the map has rolling plains that spark visions of Rohan for you Lord of the Rings fans out there. Finally you have the Western part that has different biomes and has an entire city that is on a cliff side, and is made from ruins of an ancient civilization. Oh and did I mention beautiful mountains?
If you haven’t played Skyrim before here are my recommendations.
- Find the right difficulty setting. You don’t need to, and definitely shouldn’t up the difficulty at all on your first play through. The game is fun because you are immersed in a great story and don’t let your inexperience with the game and its combat system get in the way of that. If you need to drop it down a level or two, do that and just enjoy the quests, and don’t worry so much about the difficulty, you can make it harder later in the game or on your next play through. This isn’t dark souls, you don’t need to master game mechanics to enjoy the game, and you just need to experience the story and immersive discovery that Skyrim has to offer.
- Don’t use a companion on your first playthrough. In the game you can have someone follow you around and help you, on your first play through don’t use one. It’s so much more fun to play by yourself and be the sole person responsible for saving Skyrim. The major reason for having a companion is to help with higher difficulty levels and you shouldn’t have that problem if you follow my first recommendation.
- Do use a companion on your subsequent playthroughs. After you play through once, you will have a better understanding of the combat, and the gameplay. From here you might decide to be a light armor stealth archer or a dual wielding frost mage. Both of these fun play styles have a bit of a drawback, you can’t really take any damage, and in a sustained fight against a Dragon or you know basically any boss ever, you have to be able to last more than 10 seconds. Here is where your followers come in. You can easily find a tanky follower who will be able to absorb the brunt of the offense, and let you deal damage from afar. This will become crucial if you ever try upping the difficulty for a run
- Experiment with combat styles. From the second I first picked up a bow in my first play through I was an archer and I more or less stuck to it. I have a handful of playthroughs that are extensive. 2 of them I use primarily archery, one of them is a great battle axe build where I named my character after the Greek character Ajax from the book the Iliad, and my final one was a standard sword and shield build. If you play around with different play styles you will find something you really like and then stick to that.
- Find the right class that you can identify with. I think in all of my different games I have played as a Wood Elf, besides one where I played as a Kha’jit, and of course my recent imperial playthrough. I don’t worry about starting combat levels or perks I just play what seems fun. Find one you like and enjoy it, don’t necessarily pick it for its stat bonuses and perks.
- Explore! The best part of Skyrim at the start is just running around blind and finding out what’s going on in the world of Skyrim. You will encounter a wealth of side quests that are usually comical and engaging, you will also finds towns randomly strewn across the map, and different monsters to slay.
Skyrim is an instant classic and a long line of great games put out by Bethesda and the fifth game in the Elder Scrolls Series. It’s a must have for any PC gamer, and a game that still can stack up to modern games years after its release. If you are already a Skyrim player and it’s been a while since you slayed Alduin going back to Skyrim and using mods can be a blast in itself.
If you have Skyrim related questions make sure to leave comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org