Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dovahkiin, Dovahkiin....

Bring it on, 2011's Game of the Year!

So no sooner had I posted that other post when my Uncle, saint that he is, gifted me the damn game via Steam with only the message "You Owe Me."

That I do.

So I spent the last week or so getting a feel for the game so I could tell you all what I thought.


Generally, I like it.

I start out and I awaken on a carriage with some vaguely Scandinavian guy talking at me about civil war and being prisoners. Okay, it wasn't as boring as I made it out to be since I tend to be a lore hound in video games, especially RPGs, but it was really funny to me because this is obviously trying to look as realistic as possible and it just...doesn't...work. It's a flaw with gaming in general that they're trying to be photorealistic for immersion's sake and that always ends up working against games. Things like WoW prove that stylization and, dare I say, cartoonishness ages much more gracefully.

Anyway, time comes for character creation. I freaking LOVE character creation in video games, and this one had probably the most choices I've seen except possibly The Old Republic. This was marred by the sad fact that the interface was extremely unresponsive and hard to get around. In fact, I tell you what, the controls are an absolute butthurt to get used to on PC in general. I was floundering until about three hours in, at which point I said to myself "You know what this is? This is Star Wars Battlefront controls, obviously made for a controller." However, since SWB II is one of my Top 20 Games, it wasn't difficult to adjust to this mindset even with a keyboard and mouse. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I decided to play an Argonian female (since a Dragonborn should look Draconic, dammit), and name her after the great Gungan Captain Roos Tarples. Yeah, I know I'm cross-naming, but Roos seems gender-neutral to me (but maybe it's not in Gungan culture? Who knows). She ended up looking like a Velociraptor, which makes me laugh because I always imagine NPCs looking at her and saying "Clever Girl..." under their breaths.

So anyway I was going to be randomly executed, something I kind of was spoiled for by Yahtzee's review, when a Dragon attacks and I escape. Which brings me to surprisingly another flaw. I will never understand when I'm reading a review of this game and the reviewer states that any game mechanic forcing you into Third-Person (such as Lycanthropy) is a "disadvantage." I hate...Hate Hate Hate...DOUBLE-Hate...Loathe Entirely the First-Person perspective in video games. It makes me dizzy and I have a hard time seeing where I'm going. THANKFULLY the game is playable in Third-Person, but the flaw is that you can;t zoom out the second you take control of you character. You have to run around the burnt villiage until you choose a civil war side and follow them into the keep, and then the perspective button won't work until whoever you followed unties you. That's too damn long forced into First-Person for my tastes.

That said, once I was able to enjoy the game, I found myself...well...enjoying the game. I decided early on that I wanted to be primarily magic. This began as shooting lightning out of one hand and raising zombies with the other. However, enemies kept getting in my face so I invested in a spell called "Bound Sword" which summons - what else? - a mystic weapon. This turned me into more of a Spellsword, though I amstill magic-based and enrolled in the College of Winterhold. In fact, I'm doing that more than the main quest right now until I level up a bit more. Which brings me to both Skyrim's greatest strength and it's greatest weakness.


On the one hand, there's so much to do and you don't have to complete it in any particular order. So you can pretty much choose your own adventure and make your character whatever you want.

On the other hand, there's so much to do and you don't have to complete it in any particular order. So you're often at a loss of just what it is your supposed to do and when.

When one is so used to a natural quest and leveling progression, true freedom (and with enemies that level with you and you yourself leveling based on how many times you use a particular skill, it really is freedom) can be far from the best option. Of course, if you're like me with Alt-Itis, you might worry about what that means for multiple characters until the simplest answer presents itself: If you don't have to do every quest on a single character, use alts to find different sides. Right now, I've got a Kahjiit Sniper aiming to join the Dark Brotherhood, an Orc who's about to join the Companions and become a Werewolf, and a Dunmer practicing to become a Vampire Lord once I can afford Dawnguard. But that's still a major timesink, and with me paying for WoW on top of a few more MMOs, multiple Skyrim saves will definitely fall to the wayside after a few months.

Still, I'm glad I have it, and I'm glad I've played it and I'll probably continue to play it for a long time. The true sign of a good game is the time you lose playing it, and several hours pass before I even know it, so Skyrim is certainly a good game. In fact, with a little more playtime, it could find itself displacing one of my aforementioned Top-20.

Color me a convert.

P.S. This is one of the most awesome compositions ever:

1 comment:

  1. Update: After 26 hours of gameplay, a guard finally said the "arrow to the knee" line.