It’s odd how the cogs of the game industry turn. After days, weeks and months ticking off the days to pass us over the drought of summer releases, this week sees us treated to two of the biggest, most anticipated releases of the year. With minutes seeming like seconds and hours like mere minutes in Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 thus far this week, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim promises to take whole days away from us completely with its mesmerising blend of high fantasy lore, deep role-playing mechanics and the natural beauty of its expansive world.
Brought to life with a brand-spanking new in-house engine, Skyrim is not only visually leagues ahead of its predecessor – the more real, gritty thematic influences come through in a heady mix of imposing mountain regions, mythical dragons and rugged characters – but is set to be much more accomplished in its hand-to-hand combat, attack options (players can now dual-wield combinations of weapons and magic) and dynamic quest mechanics. Though Bethesda has quelled rumours that the world of Skyrim will be that much larger than Oblivion's, the developer has alluded that the world is as immersive as it has ever been; with even larger townships, more varied landscapes and as quirky a cast of citizens as ever. Added layers of polish (every single item is now fully rendered in 3D, the map is modelled on the land) only serve to sweeten the deal and ensure we're likely to enveloped in an epic quest several hundreds of hours in the making.