What do you suppose the Ulster-Scots for dragon would be? At the risk of my ancestors haunting me, I’m going venture, Quare Beece Burd. I’m confident the word quare would be a part of it.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was first released in 2011 by Bethesda Softworks, and was huge at the time of its announcement in 2010. In 2016 a remastered version was released for the then next-gen consoles. This game series was always popular, and Skyrim advanced the series into greater graphics and more sophisticated gameplay features – though with a Viking-esque theme and dragons across a huge open-world environment, it was always going to be popular.

Of course there is more to it than Viking cosplay and flying lizards. A sophisticated fantasy narrative functions as the bones of the game, surrounded by a huge world teaming with character and complex stories – and lots of bows and arrows.

Skyrim is one of those great games which allows the player to take on whatever role they want, to explore the world however they want. This means a full-on archer role, with numerous skill-trees for the player to advance through, maximising their options for the creation a preferred, almost personalised, adventure. Players can sculk about, all stealth and gruella style warfare, or go to the other end of the spectrum and hit the enemy head on – or find something in between.

Bows and arrows for the player are many, with unique aesthetics for each. Though the game has the frustrating flaw, whereby bow and arrow types become increasingly more powerful, as the player progresses to unlock their use. Unfortunately this places the player in a conundrum, where a more powerful bow or arrows might have to be chosen over the bow and arrows which they like the aesthetics of most.

A more positive aspect to the archery within the game, is the ability to add magical enchantments to the bows. Whilst most of these are generic, such as fire damage, there are a few more creative options too. This dynamic enhances the gameplay exponentially, adding another spectrum of sorts to the style of archery present. One the one end, there is something closer to the medieval archer, and on the other, something medieval draped in complete fantasy. Of course it’s still a fantasy world, with dragons and other creatures of myth, not to mentions, elves, and orks.

The player can hunt game, overthrow occupation or put down insurgency, persecute bandits, explore ruins, and battle dragons, all with a bow. If anything choosing a bow over a sword is an advantage! Skyrim works hard to ensure the world can become an archer’s fantasy playground, with there being very little the archery enthusiast can not do.

‘Shooting’ the interpretation of the bow is simple; place the crosshair on what you want to hit and pull the handset’s tigger – sounds like how you might describe compound unlimited.

But enough of that.

A gripe in the gameplay is, that for reasons I don’t know, the longbow appears to be the shortest ranged bow present. This does lead to the player utilising gap-shooting or field craft withing a simulated environment for a change of pace. But for the real-world archer this is felt more as a lack of knowledge and research on behalf of the design team, leading to serious inaccuracy within the game.

Of course it’s a vast world, and like many of these particular games can be very difficult at the start, taking far too long to accomplish anything and get anywhere. But, with the diversity of archery equipment early on, the player is in good company to get them over this opening hump and into a world, which is a serious virtual playground to excite the inner-fantasist of any archer.