First thing I would like to note is that I have never played any previous games from the "Elder Scrolls" series, so I have no idea what the prequel looked like (apart from what I heard about Oblivion). Therefore, I will review this game as someone new, who has played it for a few days.
The graphics of Elder Scrolls V (or just Skyrim, as it's often called) are really nice. Even though I expected a little bit more (for example uber-sampling), the game still looks amazing. The very random weather effects pull the player into the game, creating a feeling as if the game is actually real. From the snowy mountains with strong winds (which make moving around difficult) to the vast rainy fields - everything is filled with even the smallest details of the environment. The grass moves as the player moves, most objects fall to the ground when you accidentally bump into them, every NPC has at least something to say. I really loved how the speech of NPCs changed according to the progress, and they actually continued speaking even after I stopped being part of the conversation. Some of the NPCs have quests to offer, either from the main quest-line or the side-quests. Overall there are hundreds of quests to complete, resulting in several hours of addicting gameplay. Another aspect I liked about the environment, was the light. After looking at something really bright, your character's view becomes dark upon looking away. That's a really nice effect that makes the game fell more real. What actually amazed me, was how the developers managed to turn this huge detail-filled map into just around 6 GB of data. Even the system requirements aren't that high for such a game!
The world of Skyrim offers a really fun and mysterious adventure. There are possibly hundreds of books to read, ad hundreds of different objects to use for specific actions. All of those can be found from once again very many different locations - dungeons, buildings, caves, or even simple plains. The outcome of an environmental action can be really random. For example if you fast-travel to a certain location and see some animals around human corpses, then load a previous save and travel again, you might see a completely different scenery - either the animals are dead, there is noone at all (even in a quite large range), or just one side of the battle is there. If you steal something from an empty house, you might be ignored one time, and get arrested another time. This really made it fell as if there was no script written at all for this game.
Another part I liked about the game were the dragons. Even though at the time of writing this review I had killed only two of them (1 for a quest, another that I accidentally discovered), the battle is surely amazing! The ancient beast breathes a specific magic (not just fire - it might be a freezing power too) and keeps flying around, occasionally landing on house roofs, causing earthquakes and making loud screeches. Even though the fight is long, it might be quite rewarding, since apart from valuable materials, you also gain the dragon's soul, allowing the player to learn special magical spells. Also, when hitting an opponent with a sword, you can see lots of blood! The melee weapon gets covered with the red liquid, and that seems amazingly realistic.
At first I was of the opinion that such a game could only be played in 3rd person view, but that changed really fast - the view angle of the 3rd person perspective is really strange and uncomfortable for fighting (at least for me). Therefore since the first day of playing, I only look through the eyes of my Nordic mage-melee hybrid hero - Terminaato :)
Aside from the good points, there's always at least something to note as a 'not so good' aspect of the game. Here' this aspect is the bugs. That may be because the game is still very new, and not much has been fixed yet. Nevertheless - what I hated was the jumping. If a surface is at a certain angle, or there's a relatively big rock on the ground, and you try to jump over it, you will land half-way and the character will start to slowly slide down. On rare occasions it's possible to jump again, but mostly not. Even if the angle is ridiculously small. What I would also like to be in the game (just my personal opinion, though) is some way to quickly switch between magical spells and weapons.
Overall I will say that this game is really amazing despite the minor bugs - I would definitely recommend it to anyone. It does not matter if you have played Oblivion or not, Skyrim will most likely captivate you for several hours with its various possibilities. The graphics and environmental effects are very real and all of that comes at a relatively small hardware price. If you still haven't got the game, go and get it as soon as you can, and don't miss a chance to play one of the RPG world's masterpieces!