Game analysis: Skyrim


I chose skyrim because it’s one of my favorite games.

Game Play Analysis

Formal Elements
The BasicsSkyrim is an RPG based in a ancient Europe type setting.
Name of the gameThe Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
The platformAll 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gen Xbox’s and Play-station’s, and PC’s
Time played (should be at least 30 minutes)Around 6-7 days
If you could work on this game (change it), what would you change and why?Work on the bugs and glitches as they are incredibly frustrating in the game, other than that nothing
How many players are supported?1
Does it need to be an exact number?yes
How does this affect play?It doesn’t
Some types of player frameworks:Single Player – like Solitare.Head-to-head – 1 vs. 1, Chess.PvE – Player vs. Environment, or multiple players vs. the game. Common in MMOs like World of Warcraft.One against Many – Single-player vs. multiple (obvy).Free-for-all – Every man for himself (1 vs. 1 vs. 1 vs. 1..). Most common for multiplayer games, from Monopoly to Modern Warfare.Individuals Against the System – Like Blackjack, where the Dealer is playing against multiple players, but those players have no effect on each other.Team Competition – Multiple vs. multiple, i.e. sports.Predator-prey – Players form a circle and everyone’s goal is to attack the player on their left and defend themselves from the player on their right.Five-pointed Star – Eliminate both players who are not on either side of you.Player v environment
What are the players trying to do?there is no real objective, but I guess finish the main story line
Some common objectives include:Capture/Destroy – Eliminate all your opponents pieces (Chess).Territorial Acquisition – Control as much territory as you can, not necessarily harming other players (RISK).Collection – Collect a certain number of objects throughout the game (Pokemon).Solve – Solve a puzzle or crime (Clue).Chase/race/escape – Anything where you are running towards or away from something (playground game Tag).Spatial Alignment – Anything involving the positioning of elements (Tetris or Tic-Tac-Toe or that game at Cracker Barrel).Build – Advance your characters or build your resources to a certain point (The Sims).Negation of another goal – The game ends if you perform an act that is forbidden by the rules (Jenga or Twister).Capture/destroy
Rules/MechanicsSprinting, jumping, moving, sword swinging actions are the main character mechanics
There are three categories of (what the book Rules of Play calls) operational rules:Setup – the things you do at the beginning of a game.Progression of Play – what happens during the game.Resolution – How an outcome is determined based on the game state.Setup: Character has the main story line set up. The game pushes you through harder and harder missions and dungeons so the player gets a feel for the game ad the fighting system
What controls are used?Basic walking, jumping, sprinting, and fighting mechanics
Was there a clear introductory tutorial?Somewhat, I wouldn’t call it a tutorial but the beginning mission is how you get a beginning idea of the game
Were they easy to understand or did you find yourself spamming the controller?The controls were easy to understand
Resources & Resource ManagementNOTES
What kinds of resources do players control?Swords, magic, power dependent on how the player plays the game
How are they maintained during play?I’m not sure what this exactly means but they aren’t necessarily maintained
What is their role?The things the player uses to defeat monsters and enemies
A resource is everything under the control of a single player. Could be the money in Monopoly or health in WoW. Other examples are:Territory in RISK The number of questions remaining in 20 Questions Objects picked up during videogames (guns, health packs, etc.)Time (game time, real-time, or both)Known information (like suspects in Clue)
Game StateNOTES
How much information in the game state is visible to the player?Not much, depends on how the player plays the game. If the play through the main story line and explore enemies forts and dungeons then all the information is visible
A snapshot of the game at a single point is the game state. The resources you have, the un-owned properties in Monopoly, your opponent’s Archery skill all count towards the game state. Some example information structures are:Total Information – Nothing is hidden, like Chess.Info per player – Your hand of cards is only visible to you.One player has privileged info – Like a Dungeon Master.The game hides info from all players – Like Clue, where no one knows the victory condition.Fog of War – In video games, where certain sections of the map are concealed if you do not have a unit in sight range of that area. You also cannot see other players’ screens, so each player is unaware of the other’s information.
In what order do players take their actions?Real time
How does play flow from one action to another?Real time
Some structures include:Turn-based – Standard board game technique.Turn-based with simultaneous play – where everyone takes their turn at the same time (like writing something down or putting a card down in War).Real-time – Actions happen as fast as players can make them. Action-based video games.Turn-based and time limits – You have this long to take your turn.
Player Interaction
Some examples:Direct Conflict – I attack you.Negotiation – If you support me here, I’ll help you there.Trading – I’ll give you this for that.Information Sharing – If you go there, I’m warning you, a trap will go off.
Theme & NarrativeNOTES
Does it have an actual story structure?Yes
Is it based on a historical event (or similar)?No but it’s based in an ancient European setting
Does the theme or narrative help you know how to play?No
Does it have emotional impacts?Not really
Also, look for en media res (does it start in the middle of the game)?No
The Elements in MotionNOTES
How do the different elements interact?The elements of hte game all work together well
What is the gameplay like?Very smooth and interactive
Is it effective?Yes
Are there any points where the design choices break down?Skyrim is known for having many bugs and it shows during the gameplay. The design choices break down when a bug happens in the middle of a quest and the player must restart the whole thing
Design CritiqueNOTES
Why did the designer make these particular choices?So the game would be played correctly
Why this set of resources?Because it causes the game t be played the correct way
What if they made different decisions?the game would be much worse
Does the design break down at any point?Yes on small glitches
Graphics & SoundNOTES
Does the game art pair well with the mechanics?Yes
Did you find any bugs or glitches?Many
What about sound?Sounds is great and the game music is also very good
Can you spot any technical shortcuts?No
Various Stages of the GameNOTES
To wrap up, some things to keep in mind (as if there aren’t enough already) as you play:Nothing else to keep in mind
What challenges do you face, and how do you overcome them?The player faces strong enemies and has to do many quests and missions to overcome this problem
Is the game fair?At the beginning it feels as if the player has to level up via grinding levels. Without quickly leveling up at the beginning of the game it is much more difficult
Is it replayable? Are there multiple paths to victory or optional rules that can change the experience?Yes
What is the intended audience?Fans of RPG games
What is the core, the one thing you do over and over, and is it fun?Fighting enemies such as dragons

This analysis form was adapted from



Mr. Le Duc’s Game Analysis Resources

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