The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Bludgeons and dragons
Review Skyrim is set in the land of the Nords, a craggy treacherous landscape that reminds me of George R R Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire and has the same epic scale. After the King of Skyrim is assassinated the land is plunged into civil war and the region has become severed from the rest of the empire. The game starts by leading me to my execution, luckily it is cut short by a very fiery intervention.
Statue of lunacy
The first thing I do in Skyrim is choose my race and, of course, I chose to be a pussy (Khajiit), figuring those nine lives would come in useful. But not, as it turns out, quite as useful as making sure I save the game regularly.
The facial customisation was fun but ultimately pointless as I soon found a helmet on a dead guard I stuck it on and it gave me +16 amour. Still, Over the weekend everyone on Steam has been talking about the Orc faces and how convincing they look, so I am almost tempted to re-role!
Where can I find Paul Daniels?
In Skyrim I don't choose a class, I become a class through my actions. I wanted to be an assassin using my stealth and cunning to defeat enemies. In order to use my perk points to get x15 backstab damage I need to spend a lot of time being stealthy, which isn't hard when I was sneaking around dungeons wondering what was around the next corner.
Cutting down from a ridiculous 27 in Morrowind and still over enthusiastic 21 in Oblivion, Skyrim has condensed the skills I can progress in to more comfortable 18. My astrological skills tree is beautiful and a real visual treat: my own personal constellation in HD space - who needs Hubble? In order to access the higher level abilities on the skill trees, I am expected to actually spend time gaining experience in weapons etc rather than allocating it.
Don't balls it up
Every time I went up a level, I got ten points to put either magicka, health or stamina. Unsure of what was to come, I tried to stay balanced but ended up putting slightly more into magicka because I wanted to attend magic school just like Harry Potter.
In Skyrim, the ability to fast travel or steal the odd horse makes exploration less of a grind and as I look around I'm impressed with the pretty pretty, but I suspect it will be less so on your console - or run nearly as smoothly as it does on my PC.
Next page: Wowzers on the scenic front
If you’re playing a sniper like assassin with a bow (and it’s a great deal of fun) you can clock someone in the head with an arrow and they will, understandably, come looking for who did it. However should they not locate you after a while they will mutter that it was “probably just their imagination” and wander back to do whatever they were doing before their near fatal head injury with the arrow still embedded firmly in their face.
This never fails to amuse me, that’s a pretty vivid imagination you’ve got there fella… now stand still again for just a second…
Agreed on Dialogue cringes....
I swear this game should have been titled: Elder Scrolls V - Land of Swartzeneggers based on the accents...
Except the user interface in Skyrim isn't a progression forwards, it's a step back to the days of DOS programs. It's just a series of text lists, no context, no colouring, no categories, no means to sort. It's just in alphabetic order of everything in that section.
For example, you need a Health potion. So bring up the potions list.
I'm well into the game 40+ hours, so have lots of stuff. So my potions list is about 3 screens long, and due to the random nature of the names of potions, i.e. a potion to Heal, could have 4 different names and so is in four different locations in the list, also if a potion is of a different strength (+25, +50 etc.), it has the same name, but is listed as a separate item. You have to actually highlight the potion to see what it does.
This really breaks the flow of the fight moments, it's like going from a manic fight, to looking at an Excel Spread sheet, but with no options to filter or sort items.
Just colour coding would help, or some filter buttons, Health, Magica etc.
This is an interface designed for a limited console controller.
25 hours in I fully agree with this review: amazing game with a clunky, jarring interface clearly designed for the consoles and then hastily ported over to the PC.
Hotkeys are especially annoying for Dual Wielders.
I'm loving it
Playing on the 360 as there is no way my laptop would come close to running it and I am loving it.
I love the world, I love how I feel like just a tiny part in something much bigger. The world doesn't seem to start when I turn my 360 on and stop when I turn it off.
I love the random moments. People running up to me to hand my random objects. Happily bartering in the market one minute and then a dragon attacks the city in the next. It just feels so epic. I'm about 40 hours in and have barely touched the main storyline. I just keep getting distracted by everything going on around me.
I can easily see me clocking up hundreds of hours on it.