I guess it is a foregone conclusion that a playthrough of Skyrim during the ass end of winter has become something of an inevitability in my life. Every time the end of January and the beginning of February roll around, I have pulled out one of my all time favorite games to give it yet another playthrough. I just feels… Right I suppose you can say. Considering Skyrim itself is a desolate and cold wasteland, it is comforting to know that other people have a similar fate. It has been a fun tradition and one that I plan to uphold now that I have become self-aware.
But one of the major topics ever since Skyrim has hit shelves was which of the cities is the truly superior hold in Skyrim. We all have our favorites, but which ones give us the most fun, are the most pleasant to look at, and are our favorite venues when we boot the game back up for another playthrough. It is not an easy question and one that I do not take lightly. So today we are looking at the holds of Skyrim and ranking the Top 5 to decide which truly is the best of all the Skyrim cities.
Keep in mind that this is my own list based on my own opinions and conclusion I have gathered from the game. If you disagree with this list, that is fine. Please leave it in the comments section. I love a good debate. I base this list on a number of things. First off the over all appeal of the city, its purpose in the game, the quests and locations within the city itself, as well as the ambiance that the city provides. With that in mind, let’s get started with number 5.
We start off this list with the town from the Dragonborn expansion on the island of Solstheim. The ash covered former imperial city is one of the most unique towns with some of the most interesting quests within it as it is the first town that you sail into when you arrive in the tiny Morrowind town. The denizens of the town are all unique and the heavy dark elf population is a refreshing change of pace from the endless amounts of Nords.
The debate raged in my head on whether or not to go with Raven’s Rock or Falkreath for number 5 and ultimately Raven’s Rock was chosen due to the fact that the ashy lands add a new type of setting not seen before in the game while Falkreath remained a simple forest town with an asshole snobbish Jarl.
Out of all of the smaller holds in Skyrim, Winterhold is by far the town with the richest history. While Dawnstar is a port city with some interesting tidbits like the Mythic Dawn quest and the new Dark Brotherhood Stronghold, Morthol is a decent little town, and Falkreath is a set of woodlands, Winterhold used to be a massive city on par with Solitude. This all changed of course when a massive earthquake caused the majority of the city to fall into ruins. Now the town of Winterhold itself is limited to only a few houses and a couple of stubborn inhabitants.
Not only does Winterhold house the College of Winterhold but it is the town with the most character. You can see the devastation and the hardships of winter unfold before your eyes. The town feels the coldest out of all of Skyrim and that is saying something! Winterhold is just an interesting experience and brings a feel that the other smaller towns simply cannot.
We come to my favorite city in all of Skyrim. I absolutely love Riften. Not only do I find it cool to have a city on stilts adjacent to a lake, but it is a refreshing change of pace to the harsh winter landscape that dominates most of Skyrim. Riften is home to the Thieves Guild and offers some of the most exciting and morally ambiguous quests in the game. It truly is a den of thieves and a place where anyone who enjoys that play style can thrive.
Some people will question my decision to put Riften as high on this list as I do, but I do feel it justified. It is my favorite city in the game and has one of the most different looks to it. It remains a high point for me and brings it in firmly at number 3.
Probably one of the largest cities in all of Skyrim, Solitude has the distinct pleasure of being the defacto capital of Skyrim, the seat of the high king before the Stormcloak Rebellion Solitude is quite an experience for any player. Having the Bard College, the seat of power for the imperials, Sheogoraths quest line, and others are just a few of the things that you can encounter in Solitude.
Out of most of the cities in Skyrim, Solitude feels the most like… A city. It feels large and expansive. You get the feeling that there are substantially more denizens living within the walls besides the 30+ people that you can interact with. One of the most influential of the game, Solitude is only one upped by one other Skyrim city.
The first city in Skyrim that you come across is by far the most memorable. Whiterun is the epicenter of all of Skryim, it has a city atmosphere, a large community, and some of the best quests in the game can be found in this town situated in the plains of the compact Tamriel state.
It is the home of one of the most epic battles in the Imperial v. Nord War, is the home of the Companions, is a constant presence in the main story line, and has some of the most beautiful imagery in the entire game. It may not be number one on everyone’s list, but you will be hard pressed to find anyone who puts it lower than the Top 3 and for this critic is easily number 1.
Thank you for reading and as always if you enjoyed this review then please like and subscribe for more.