The fifth installment in Bethesda's long-running Elder Scrolls franchise took the industry by storm last Friday, scoring an impressive 95/100 overall.
According to initial estimates, Skyrim has shipped seven million copies worldwide on all platforms, including digital stores like Steam. During a peak hour last Monday, Valve's platform alone recorded around 287,000 Skyrim players – more than the combined peak activity of MW3, Counter-Strike, Football Manger 2012 and Team Fortress 2.
We don't usually open our performance reviews with sales figures, but we felt compelled to illustrate the scale of Skyrim's adoption, as role-playing games rarely get that kind of attention. While its popularity is undoubtedly aided by the cult status of the Elder Scrolls franchise, Skyrim isn't just a clone of its predecessors (we're seeing you MW3). Bethesda has made many improvements to the gameplay, especially the graphics and animations – our area of interest.
In its day, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion had incredible graphics and used advanced lighting and shader techniques such as HDR and specular mapping. Before Crysis launched in 2007, Oblivion was arguably the toughest PC game available. You'd have been lucky enough to see 50 fps while exploring the sprawling realm in high quality with a pair of ATI Radeon X1900 XTs ($ 1,200 on offer at the time). We don't expect Skyrim to be this stressful, but we have high hopes for its graphical fidelity.
While it may not bring your PC to its knees, Skyrim promises to be the best looking Elder Scrolls title yet with its newly developed game engine, the "Creation Engine". With the framework, Skyrim can, among other things, display larger drawing distances and create a more realistic world overall. Shadows can be created by any object or structure, branches and water flow can be affected by wind, and other weather effects have been introduced, such as: B. dynamic snowfall.
As fun as it is to chat about Skyrim's graphics, we really want to have a little more "eyes" …