Let this particular writer preface this by saying that Fantasy isn’t really my genre and that I haven’t played more than a few hours of the other Elder Scrolls games, but Skyrim will change all that. After spending time with the demo at PAX, I know I’m going to spend way too much time exploring its world. Back at E3, Todd Howard gave us a look at what Skyrim was all about, but the brilliance of the game cannot be conveyed properly without actually playing it. The main selling point is that the world is “living” and is constantly changing depending on what the player is doing.

At the start of the demo, the player must trek through mountains while taking numerous, different paths to get to the village below. I found myself climbing the mountainside, and the open exploration on display was a foreign concept to me. I finally made my way to the town and once there, I took a look around at the city. I cut some logs using the working sawmill, killed chickens scattered around town, and attempted to steal from the blacksmith… which, it turns out, isn’t the best idea. After respawning from my death at the smith’s hand, I decided to take a different approach. Instead of entering the town through the front gate, I snuck down the mountainside, equipped a magical flame ability to both hands, and started to burn the straw roofs on top of the buildings. This produced a completely different result and made me really think about how my actions would play out. 

The time I’ve just described is only a small section of the huge land of Skyrim. My time with it went by all too quickly, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it when it releases on November 11th.