I definitely think it is the best game in the series (UI aside).
They learned from their past mistakes. They learned how to balance a "you can do anything type sandbox" with "Immersing the player in the world with some story". While there are stupid little generic quests like "bounties"... A majority of the quests are actually well done. They even took a page from Bioware's formula, by sending an NPC with you on several of the quests, that talks and helps immerse you in the objective. They even have a war to participate in (Imperials vs. Stormcloaks), and you will be taking over forts and raiding them with multiple NPC soldiers... again, another page taken from Bioware... and it works well.
Honestly... I really don't like the UI... but I can live with it. If you are refusing to play the game because of the UI, I pity you... you are really missing out. I can think of much worse designs... like Fable III's inventory system, or Gothic's combat system. With hope, there will be a good UI mod in the near future, but I'm not going to let the UI stop me from enjoying this game.
As for the people that are saying it's not hard core RPG enough... not enough skills, or not enough stuff to micro-manage on your character... well... that's your opinion and I understand where you are coming from... however, for me it's more about immersion than micro-managing, and I really don't care if they had to cut some of the old things out... there's still plenty to choose and manage / strategize on to consider it an RPG, IMO.This comment was edited on Nov 17, 2011, 09:44.
Get your games from GOG DAMMIT!