@Shingro: Skyrim certainly isn’t lacking in challenge — it’s just not as brutal as Dark Souls. Usually. If you go in ill-prepared to the bigger dungeons, you will get your ass kicked, however. Spiders, though, are a relatively common “cannon fodder” enemy. Magic-using humanoids, on the other hand, are almost as annoying as they were in Baldur’s Gate. If you want difficulty, you could always artificially make it challenging for yourself by playing it as if it were a roguelike. I was tempted to try that. Maybe on a subsequent playthrough of this or Oblivion.

The combat is definitely better than it was in Oblivion. Melee in Oblivion felt very “flaily” and while there’s still a little of that in Skyrim, it feels much more like you’re in control with the whole “two hand” system. My character splits his time between archery and one handed/shield fighting, and combat is enjoyable. There’s a nice mix of enemy “levels” too — you come to recognise the different ranks of various creatures as you play through. Low-level ones can eventually be cut down in one or two hits. But higher-level ones require you to fight more tactically and, dare I say it, in an almost Dark Souls style — carefully blocking, looking for an opening, striking, repeating.

Fighting the aforementioned magic users highlights another interesting thing about the combat in Skyrim (and most Elder Scrolls games in my experience) — enemies are subject to the same restrictions as you, unlike some other RPGs. That means that magic users will eventually run out of Magicka, fighters and archers will eventually run out of Stamina, and you can then take advantage of the situation. Various enchantments you can put on your weapons can assist in this process if you know what you’re doing.

The classless system the game adopts is a little strange. While my friends and I started both Morrowind and Oblivion many, many times to try out different combinations of skills, the fact that all your skills contribute to levelling in Skyrim means sticking with your first character is a more plausible option. On the one hand, it makes levelling easier — or at least a more regularly-occurring experience. I remember spending a considerable amount of time in both Morrowind and Oblivion at level 1 because I was training the wrong skills. Conversely, 32 hours into Skyrim and I’m level 25.

On the other hand, though, the fact that you can level any skill at any time and have it contribute to your overall progress seems to encourage you to be something of a jack of all trades rather than a specialist — though actually in practice, you’ll probably find your favourite playstyle and stick with it. My only hesitation is that it feels like it might remove some of the replay value from the game — if every character can potentially become a badass firebreathing barbarian with a giant axe but nimble enough fingers to pick even the most complex locks… does that mean they will?

I’m not sure. The way I’m playing Skyrim, I have a “character concept” in mind and am handling situations accordingly, sometimes adapting the things I’m doing as the situation demands it. I started with the concept of a thief-type character, skilled with one-handed weapons and bows. Over time, experimentation with Restoration magic and enchantment have given him a rudimentary grounding in the use of magic which is yet to be explored, though he’s still primarily a combat character. His sneaking is falling a bit by the wayside as his combat skills (and confidence) improve, particularly as (mild spoiler, I guess) he can turn into a werewolf once per day.