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February 7th, 2012, 10:58
Skyrim is not "fundamentally" different than Oblivion, it's just executed with far more care.

Oblivion FELT like a randomly generated world, where as Skyrim feels a lot more handcrafted.

Character development is infinitely more interesting with perks, and natural in terms of how you level up. You don't have to "game" the system to optimise.

The presentation is much better, especially when interacting with NPCs. They don't "feel" like strange robotic clones - and the world doesn't "pause" when you interact. They tend to deliver a performance that corresponds to what's going on - rather than the strange "recording room" stuff in Oblivion/Fallout 3.

Animations are much better as well, which was always a weak part of Bethesda games. Third person mode is fully playable and pleasant now.

The amount of unique content is staggering.

Stealth/archery is better than any other RPG out there.

I prefer the new approach to magic (unique spells) - but I don't think anyone can argue that it doesn't look much better. Morrowind and Oblivion had some really boring/dreary visual effects for magic. Skyrim is fantastic in comparison.

Voice acting is better and much more varied.

The dragon shouts are cool toys - and the dragons themselves are definitely the best implementation of that creature in any computer game. Not perfect (too easy in vanilla) - but pretty damn impressive.

Writing is more consistent and (in my opinion) much better. They've toned down the "insane" humor and silly stuff a lot - which I think was a very good decision. I wouldn't call it "great" - but it's certainly good writing considering the norm.

They introduced crafting, which is a big deal in huge open world RPGs like this. I don't think they did it particularly well - but it's much better than nothing.

It might seem minor, but I think the combat music is truly fantastic - and really helps to set the mood and get the adrenaline going. Some of the exploration music is also really well done.

The most visually immersive RPG I know of. The game is just beautiful. The Witcher 2 was somewhat better looking, but it didn't feel "big" and I couldn't quite immerse myself - given the lack of a first person perspective.

The level scaling is less blatant and pervasive. It's still there (and I will always hate it) - but you do get to experience the progression in power to a greater extent.

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I could go on.

Skyrim is just better in every important way. It's the game I wanted Oblivion and Morrowind to be.

It's the best game I've ever played.
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