The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition

Game review by Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 15+

Violent fantasy RPG makes players think about their actions.

Parents say

age 13+

Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 12+

Based on 57 reviews

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A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Community Reviews

age 11+

You Decide What Happens

Great game, very fun, with most of the action/plot/consequences being brought into the game by you. Alcohol is in the game, but serves the same purpose as a health potion for your “stamina” which is your character’s physical energy. The player character (PC) is not depicted drinking alcohol on screen but you hear them “gulping” the alcohol down. You are not required to drink alcohol except in 1 or 2ish quest(s), none of which are required to beat the main story quest. There is no outright nudity, but there are implied sexual themes. These themes are rarely, outside of some temples and “churches”, in the forefront of the game’s story. Dibella, the “goddess” of “Love” and will be the main cause/reason for sexual themes. She has statues that are suggestive, and her temples usually revolve around fornication along with marriage. You cannot hire a prostitute and there is no depicted/animated sex. When you marry someone you can share a bed with them, but there is no implied intercourse. There are no pregnancies depicted in skyrim, and the PC can only adopt kids. There are also pseudo-brothels in the game, but the PC is not required to go in there. There are multiple Deities/Gods in the game, however this game is set in an alternate universe so I did not see an issue with this. You can commit many crimes, with certain quests and factions being solely about committing crimes (Theives Guild, Dark Brotherhood). These crimes are usually rewarded if the PC does not get caught. There is a lot of violence. The main point of the game is to go talk to people and then kill things for those people. The violence is usually relatively cartoony, but there is blood and detailed execution animations that the player sees and that the player themselves can perform. I dont really have an issue with violence in media for kids 8+, but the depicted violence could be upsetting for some children. Due to the relatively few sexual themes, I would recommend 11+ for most, but a very mature 9yr old could also play this game. Parents should still occasionally check in on the game to make sure their child is not engaging in weird activities. Minor swearing (“D—n You!”), so if you have an issue with that be mindful. As a final note, there are downloadable mods that can be added to the game that are absolutely unsuitable for any child, but there are also mods that remove swearing and blood.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Easy to play/use
age 8+

Greatest open world teaching tool of all time

One of the greatest sandboxes of all time! The world is beautiful, exciting, and ominous, but never scary – most of the game is G-rated yet feels real, and all radiant never-ending quests are tame. I'm a parent and also have two masters in psychology. Note that older or skilled kids may unlock 13+ content. The warrior skill tree can unlock violent skills after 60 or so hours of play, while the magician and rogue skill trees remain at grade-school levels. There are 6 hidden/mature questlines (of 270+) for evil gods, yet neutral endings offer a choice of good or evil. Choice has real-world impacts that are nuanced rather than black-or-white. This makes it an excellent teaching tool with investigation, negotiation, allegiances, and moral conundrums. Younger children can explore towns, learn magic, build homes, adopt children orphaned by war, and hunt in the different biomes. Older children can encounter moral dilemmas and serve people who need help or experiment with the negative consequences of being bad (prison, hostile towns, bounty hunters, etc). Teens will learn the nuance of societal systems and ethics, cooperation and deception. Diversity and cultural exploration robust. The game is set in a nordic-equivalent country on a diverse continent (others games in the series are in other nations). There are 6 variations on this culture, 13 races (2 extinct, 1 unplayable) with unique cultures, 10 religions (one outlawed), and a myriad of worldviews and factions. Questlines deal directly with status, socioeconomic status, basic survival, trauma, religious schism, racism, discrimination, xenophobia, oppression, immigration, and more.

This title has:

Great messages

Game Details

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