The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a sequel to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The story takes place 200 years after the conclusion of Oblivion, set in the titular land of Skyrim, a northern province of Tamriel (the continent on which all the games in the series have taken place). With the absence of an heir to the Emperor's throne, the Empire began ceding territory out to the elven nations it once ruled. With The Blades having no one to defend, they all died off, murdered, or went into hiding. The King of Skyrim has recently died, provoking a civil war amongst the native Nord race. This war is last in a sequence of prophetic events foretold by the Elder Scrolls. In the mist of this event the Nordic god Alduin, a massive dragon, arises to destroy the world. The player will assume the role of the last Dovahkiin (Dragonborn), a dragon-hunter annointed by the gods to help fend off this threat to Tamriel and Skyrim. Aiding the player will be Esbern (voiced by Max von Sydow), one of the last of The Blades.
Skyrim retains the traditional open world gameplay found in the Elder Scrolls series. The player is free to roam the land of Skyrim at will. Within Skyrim lie five cities, comparatively larger to those in Oblivion's Cyrodiil setting, and expanses of wilderness and mountainous ranges. When visiting cities, the player can complete activities such as farming and mining, and is able to smith weapons from a forge. Aside from the main story quest, the player can complete side-quests, which are dynamically created based on the player's actions within the game. The in-game head-up display can be hidden, and the menu is presented in a compass-style overlay.
The player levels up by raising skills, and doing so allows for better items to be bought or looted from dungeons, as well as increasing the strength and variety of wilderness monsters. There are eighteen skills present in Skyrim, reduced from the twenty-one present in Oblivion, and the class system has been removed.The player can select additional skill specific abilities ('perks') for their character each time they level up, and can raise their level past fifty, but at a much slower rate. The player assigns items to each hand individually, allowing for dual-wielding of spells and weapons.A menu has been introduced that will allow the player to swap between different weapon/armor loadouts when in combat.
A new feature introduced in Skyrim is the use of Dragon Shouts — powerful skills gained by slaying dragons, which include teleportation, slowing down time and summoning a dragon to aid the player. There are roughly twenty different Dragon Shouts to be gained throughout the game, and they become more effective as the player slays more dragons. A minority of non-player characters also have the ability to use Dragon Shouts.
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