December 7, 2011
This is my first opportunity to talk about “Skyrim,” so there’s a lot to be said that has been bottled up for a couple weeks.
However, I’ve also had time to take off the rose-colored glasses and review this game with some real perspective. I’ve chosen Skyrim as my last review of the semester for multiple reasons. It’s a game that one can spend countless hours of their Christmas break playing. I haven’t gotten to play “Uncharted 3” due to the fact that I had a date researching The Faerie Queene. Also, it was my prediction for Game of the Year.
Anyone who knows the plot of “Morrowind” and “Oblivion,” knows that dragons are a bit of western fantasy cliché that Bethesda would usually avoid. However, the story is told with some elegance. Everything flows rather well, and the story accommodates all kinds of players. It’s not always a matter of beating everything to death with a one-handed something you found and healing in between fights.
There are actually some quests in the main story that encourage players who don’t like to be seen due to the terrible disfiguring scars on their faces and hide in the darkness. Not only that, but magic is actually simple and not overtly cumbersome because there’s a favorites button.
Why has it taken us this long to get that? In one quest, you actually play the diplomat, meaning everyone who had a high speech stat that never helped anything out side of their fortunes will have something to show off too. However, the story seemed to be over before I even had full understanding of what was going on. I feel that the story could have been longer.
The visuals were fantastic. I opened my eyes to the mountains and northern li- Hang on it’s loading . . . Hang on. –ghts and it was a sight to behold. The skies were painted all flavors of warm colors and the aurora contrasted tha- Hold on. You know what? Just trust me that it’s pretty and stuff. If you have plans of playing this game for more than 4 hours at a time (which is more realistic than it sounds when you start playing a game like this), you should probably be ready for some murderous frame rate issues. There were times when I was running from packs of wolves simply because I could not attack effectively or see what I was doing.
Do keep in mind that my experience is bound to the Playstation 3, and a powerful PC might not have these issues. However, there’s a bitter cold in Skyrim (the province, not the game), and I’ve spent hours doing what feels like wading in jam.
The guilds are back (though some have different names), and Bethesda Softworks seems to have taken a lot of comments from the players to heart. I would still like to see some guild interaction like my leader in the Companions could be threatened by the Dark Brotherhood or something, and maybe that could be altered if I’m the Listener. My leader would be uncomfortable about why the Brotherhood left him alone after seeing me, and there starts another quest. That’s just wishful thinking.
Anyway, the guild storylines are all very short. It’s as if all of these factions decided that they would start enlisting new people for the crisis they have planned, and whoever fixes stuff becomes crowned king. I know that the Mage’s Guild in “Oblivion” was ridiculously tedious, but we can keep some length.
How can I savor an experience if it’s 5 quests long?
The gameplay of “Skyrim” is quite an evolution from its predecessor. Although the basic “swing something at stuff until that stuff stops swinging back” concept is very much intact, the game forces the player to make decisions and then rewards them for that decision. You cannot have a sword, shield, and magic, but whatever you do choose will become exponentially better as you allocate perks to it.
“Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” is a great RPG with a tremendous amount of things to do, but I wish that was reflected in the guild questlines and main plot.
The large nature of the undertaking that Bethesda tackled is also dampened by the hardware limitations. Loading screens and brevity of plot aside, this game may earn a personal recommendation for Game of the Year. For now, it deserves a 9 out of 10.