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Guest article: Unboxing the Skyrim Collectors' Edition
by Linford Butler

When I woke up on the 10th of November, I knew it was going to be a bad day. I think many felt the same way, as it was the eve before Bethesda's latest, the long-awaited Skyrim, was to be released.

A guest article by Cathal Geoghegan.

As I drank my morning coffee, I watched several of the Skyrim videos that had made their way onto the internet. It made the wait worse, but I just couldn't tear myself away from the beautiful landscapes and fantastical people of Skyrim.

Just as the wait was becoming unbearable, I received a phone call from an unknown number. Normally I would have ignored the call, but I somehow felt the call was important. I answered the phone. I was confused when the person on the line asked if I had ordered a package. Initially I didn't think it was Skyrim, because I hadn’t selected the express delivery and I had only just received an email confirming that it had entered shipping. My surprise was almost palpable when the courier arrived twenty minutes later and handed me the behemoth package.

I had expected the Collector’s Edition to be in a huge box, but I was very surprised by its actual size. I would say that the box is at least twice the size of the PlayStation 3's box, and it's also surprisingly heavy, considering the Alduin statue is only made of PVC. As you open the box, the first thing you see is book showcasing the artwork of Skyrim. Surprisingly, this was my favourite part of Skyrim's C.E. I had expected the quality of the artbook to be similar to books that you get in other Collectors' Editions, but I was absolutely wrong. The Skyrim Artbook is A4 in size (roughly the 'letter' paper standard, for American readers) and bound in a faux leather, which is of the highest quality. As a life-long bibliophile, I could tell that this book is definitely worth at least £30, or perhaps even more.

After the artbook, you will find the box containing the game itself, the DVD and the very special burlap map of Skyrim. Like the artbook, the quality of the map is superb and is worlds apart from the cheap paper map that came with copies of Oblivion. The map is also very detailed and will probably be essential for anyone wishing to play Skyrim.

Arguably the best thing about the whole of the Collector's Edition.

I then came to the pièce de résistance of the Skyrim Collectors' Edition, the Alduin statue. The statue itself is contained within a second box. When you open the box, you are greeted by a nice little touch from Bethesda; the polystyrene lining the box is embossed with the Elder Scrolls logo. The statue itself is fantastic, if somewhat light and delicate. As you set the Alduin dragon upon its base, you would think that it was actually made from metal, but its weight and the way that it feels shatter the illusion. Despite this, the quality and detail of the statue is amazing. The IP Factory, which manufactured the statue, went to great lengths to ensure that the statue is as authentic as possible, going so far as to use actual models from the game to create the statue.

Personally, I would consider this to be the best Collectors' Edition in a long time. I would also say that the Skyrim Collectors' Edition is a must have, for all Elder Scrolls fans. Despite the quality and lustre of the Collectors' Edition, you probably won’t have time to admire it once you start playing the leviathan that is Skyrim.

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- Linford Butler

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