I love video games, I grew up on them. From The Secret of Monkey Island and the original Wolfenstein, to more recently hacking my way through the unforgiving world of Demon’s Souls\Dark Souls and trolling around on the Playstation Network to download the latest releases; my experience is storied. However, I have patience, and as a result I’m not very likely to buy a $60 game when it’s released. I’d love to, don’t get me wrong, but I need a place to live, and I need food in my belly. I’ve had to change this philosophy with the release of Dark Souls and Skyrim. These two hotly anticipated RPGs are from experienced developers with a lot of cred – sure some people are down on Bethesda for releasing glitch filled games with cumbersome menus, but with Skyrim they may have finally released the product they have been envisioning for all of these years.
I’ve always anticipated the release of the next Elder Scrolls game, although I have to be honest, I’ve never completed the main storyline of a single entry in the series up to this day. I find with lengthy video games in general, that it is near impossible to maintain the level of quality and intrigue over the course of a 30-60 hour adventure. I often find myself enthralled with the fictitious world of a game (Oblivion, Fallout 3, Mass Effect) and the sheer possibilities in front of me, but these options quickly become commonplace as many missions and character molds make repeat appearances throughout the course of the journey. One of my biggest problems with the previous Elder Scroll games was my inability to find a monster that was much bigger than my character. Everyone seemed roughly the same size. I need surprise and variety! Without it, I may still enjoy the game, and praise it, but I won’t finish it. I think Skyrim is about to break this pattern.
In a mere three days, I have been witness to a dizzying number of unique events in the wondrous world of Skyrim. After being attacked by emotionally tortured ghosts, acting against their will, I discovered a necromancer’s devious operation in which an empty treasure chest and a trap door led adventurers to fall and break their bones in the depths of his experimental laboratory. I’ve traveled to the cold and barren north, in search of a small prison in order to free a political inmate, only to be turned away – the elven-armour clad guards weren’t so rude after I decided to kill them all single-handedly as comeuppance for their lack of manners. I’ve been challenged to a drinking competition in a small town bar, accepted, blacked out, and then found myself in a Hangover style adventure to figure out what the hell happened. I’ve killed a coven of vampires, contracted the beginnings of the disease myself, and narrowly escaped a fate worse than death. Oh, I also kill dragons with my mace.
I’m kind of a big deal.
My point is that Skyrim has finally broken the open world problem with generic quests, monsters, and environments, no doubt at the expense of painstaking writing, designing, and programming. In Skyrim you can literally do whatever you want, but most importantly, you can do it in one of the most beautiful, detailed, interesting, and dangerous game worlds that has ever been created.
I want to touch briefly on the technical aspects of the game. Some glitches are still present, and I’m beginning to think it’s an inevitability with a gaming environment this vast. It would be nice if corpses didn’t fall from the sky like rag dolls, and if I didn’t get stuck behind a ladder and a barrel that one time, but taken as a whole, Skyrim doesn’t seem to be glitch-ridden. Also, the menu and favourite system is a welcome addition that allows the user to switch through spells, weapons, and armour with ease.
In closing, if you have a child, an important job, or family/relationship problems, DO NOT invest in Skyrim.
You won’t be able to put the controller down.
Anyone one else out there playing Skyrim? How are you finding the game so far? Is this Bethesda’s best Elder Scrolls entry yet?