Look, I know that there is a PC review out there, and there have been many complaints about the UI and awkward controls on the PC. I am offering a perspective on the console version and my own personal opinion.
Skyrim is the kind of game that I have always loved to see from Bethesda, complete with all of the little quirks that come with every sandbox game they make, complete with a whole new batch. That said, it's the kind of game that sucks you in from minute seven(when you can actually start murdering things)and a huge improvement on the genre.
Skyrim's gameplay certainly isn't quite as tight as some other games. God of War has better combat, Dragon Age Origins has more balanced classes(except for Arcane Warrior)and so on. The beauty of it is the ability to switch between a sword, bow and arrow, dual daggers, fireball, invisibility, and calling in a thunderstorm. And the greatest achievement is that they are all useful, all worth it, and in my eyes, all fun. There is visceral glee as you smack twenty draugr across the chops, or incinerating a Dwarven centurion, and there are some choice Thieves guild missions where I experienced the same pulse pounding stealth that you might have in Tenchu Z.
There is, however, a severely broken crafting system. It is entirely possible to make armor and weapons better than any Daedric Artifact by investing a couple hours into the crafting trees. It also has the same problem as Oblivion and Fallout 3 where there are virtually no threats past a certain level(except for deathclaws). Skyrim does make the effort to have dungeons that are significantly harder, such as dwenmer ruins and dungeons with dragon priests, but if you wander into them at a low level, it's nearly impossible to make it out alive. This is made tolerable by mid combat saving, so when you die and go back to the beginning, you only have yourself to blame.
As for how it controls on the console, it's very intuitive and responsive. Not on the level that Halo or Call of Duty fans experience, where you instantly know how to react to any threat presented, but it's better than many other games. The D-pad list quickly gets dogpiled if you put all of your potions there, but it's still quicker than going into your inventory, or the circular selection of Oblivion. The controls are very responsive and all that, but there are some things that I feel aren't making use of all of the buttons. Take Dual wielding, for example. If you just have one weapon, you block with the left trigger. But if you have a spell in the other, you can't block, which is a massive problem when playing as a fragile mage. Nothing happens if you hold down both triggers, so why can't you block by doing that?
Skyrim's graphics are stellar in the sense that the entire world map can be rendered at once and still look incredible. It's a kind of Monet view, because as long as you stand back and look at the big picture, you can see a beautiful world in front of you. It only falls apart when you stick your nose directly into a stone wall at point blank range. There are very few world breaks, virtually no lag, and the animations are far improved for virtually everything. Best of all are the weather effects in the snowier parts of Skyrim that literally made my jaw drop. The only thing that bothers me is the niggling feeling that it took about a week for modders to release a graphics mod that has a noticeable effect for the better, and I can't download it. The art design, however, could not be more spectacular, borrowing heavily from Nordic culture but at the same time melding it with Elder Scrolls lore. The Ancient Nord Barrows, the Dwenmer ruins, the bandit occupied forts, all of these have their distinguishing features, and there is practically no reusing of dungeons, save for that key hunting puzzle with the dragon claws that pops up now and again. It has a far better atmosphere than any lesser RPG could even hope to have.
The music in Skyrim is a subtle creature, unlike the music in Fallout 3. The subtle background music isn't noticeable until it's gone, as it works to tip your mindset into the part of Skyrim you might be in. It's only when the Dragons come out that the Barbarian Choir starts singing, and it's an awesome moment when that happens. There is a quote from Yahtzee that fits this rather well"It's like you're riding a bike through a peaceful countryside, and every hundred yards the bike turns into a bear". It really is like that. The change in tone goes immediately from traveling to dragon slaying.
The story of Skyrim is incredible, because it isn't a main story. It's a vast narrative that goes far beyond the Main Questline, just waiting to be uncovered. The four guilds alone each have a questline that might have been the entirety of a game with less ambition, and any quest besides the generated ones have interesting characters, betrayals, boss fights, and a massive amount of loot. However, while the sense of urgency to do the main quest is palpable, fire breathing reptiles with wings are trying to murder you, the civil war questlines are laughably easy, disappointingly short, and have very little consequence. It makes me wonder why there was a civil war in the first place. The choice between them is nice because it's not clear cut good/evil in the least, but I would like it if either leader had at least one redeeming quality instead of being unlikable pricks. Ulfric might let slip that he regrets killing his brother, General Tulius might offer quarter to the remaining Stormcloak troops that give themselves up peacefully.
Dragons, as a whole, are a nice addition to the game. They get harder as you level up, appear more frequently the longer you do the main quest, and generally remain a fun enemy to kill. They can be killed efficiently by any attacks you can throw at it, so long as you know what you're doing, and at no point in the game are they unbeatable. The first boss fight with Alduin is a perfect example of what dragon fights can be when developers set their mind to it, because it's the exact same image that everybody going into this game imagined: fighting a dragon on the top of a mountain with another dragon helping you, while you desperately try to shout it to death. It was intense, fun, and rewarding. The only problem I have with dragon fights is the fact that no matter what I try, I can't get dragons to plough into the ground like they did in the demo.
I know that I can rag on this game with the various bugs, glitches, and absurdly long dungeons, but the fact remains that after playing it for 80 hours, I don't care. I live with them, because the sooner I do, the sooner I can enjoy the most immersive, fun, and well polished RPG I have played this year.