on January 25, 2012
I'd say the fundamental trade-off going from Oblivion to Skyrim is that the world looks and feels better, but there's less overt reason for you to be there. Skyrim is packed with "miscellaneous objectives" (read: fetch quests) to the point that almost every NPC needs you to go over to yon dungeon and get ye flask, and it gets old fairly quickly. Dungeons look more varied, but what you do in them is largely the same and often devoid of meaningful context- just barrel through rooms of enemies until you get ye flask, then return to town. The major questlines don't fare much better, as they're exceedingly short-lived and so have little sense of buildup or progression. A few quests into the Companions' (Fighter's Guild) questline and I'm already part of their inner circle- apparently they have no qualms entrusting leadership of the guild to strangers. Now, if the way you play Elder Scrolls games is to wander around on your own and not worry overmuch about quests, this probably won't bother you. For me, though, I like the context-heavy sidequests and gradual guild progression in Oblivion, and I was disappointed to see these things placed on a back burner for Skyrim. To be fair, when I just explored on my own, the game was a great deal more fun, and I feel like whether you enjoy this game will depend on how you play it and on your expectations coming from previous games in the series.
My other major, major bone to pick with Skyrim is the interface- especially inventory management- which is not very customizable and drags out total playtime much more than it needs to. For one thing, there is no "shift" button to assign shortcuts. Want to set Right Bumper + Face Button as a certain spell? Too bad- you're forced to dive into menus as a magic user. Sure, there's a favorites system, but instead of having one list on each direction on the d-pad- for example, a weapons list, a magic list, a potions list- everything's in the same list. How is that supposed to help me make quick decisions, exactly? Now, again, if you appreciate the time this gives you to catch your breath, this likely won't bother you. However, if you're like me and want to spend as little time in the menus as possible, you're probably going to feel awfully limited as to how you play the game, which runs contrary to the flagship buzzword of the Elder Scrolls series: player choice.
If you buy a house, you can't organize the items in chests and drawers AT ALL- the items don't even auto-sort. Moreover, if you have more than one house, the containers are not shared, so why would you want to store your loot in more than one location? It would just mean more loading screens as you travel back and forth.
By the way, the loading screens are LONG, even with a disc-install- I've waited upwards of a full minute for traveling long distances, and even going in and out of shops can take more than ten seconds. What makes this even worse is the encumbrance system- if you carry too much, you pretty much can't move, so after every dungeon looting session you'll have to immediately go back to town to sell the stuff. It got to the point where I exclusively focused on increasing how much I could carry, but even then you have to sit on the stuff for a bit, since merchants have limited gold.
If you loot a dragon the bones tend to weigh in at 75 (!), which means after every dragon battle you'll probably go straight back to town to sell or store them, which means more loading screens. Sometimes dragons rudely interrupt as soon as you fast-travel, so instead of doing what you were going to do, you may feel compelled to play along. Honestly, I didn't find dragon fights to be very exciting, as they played out the same way almost every time (except when they glitched up), and I never felt the shouts you gain by defeating them were all that useful for a stealth character, which is the path I chose.
Speaking of choosing paths, as soon as you start selecting perks, there's no turning back. What if you decide the perks you've chosen are not as useful as you thought they'd be, or maybe you'd like to try a different playstyle for a while? Too bad- perks are permanent. Is that supposed to be player choice?
There are also plenty of balancing issues. For instance, you can become a master of smithing in no time by just forging iron daggers (pretty much the easiest item to forge), but if you want merchants to carry more gold, be prepared to buy and sell A LOT of stuff.
Overall, I think all of these design issues can really mar the experience.
Basically, if you're looking for a quest-oriented game like Oblivion, you're probably not going to find that here; Skyrim is more of a DIY exploration-oriented game, and while in that respect it performs respectably, even admirably, there are a host of design issues that simply shouldn't be there, and the rampant loading times artificially extend total playtime. As this is the sort of game you can spend hundreds of hours on, I caution you, the reader, to look beyond the unconditional praise this game is unsurprisingly getting to decide whether it's something into which it's worth investing your time.
Edit: I should mention I haven't played the entire game, but I've completed two guild questlines and over 150 miscellaneous objectives, and have done a lot of traveling on my own, so I feel I've seen enough to write a review.
on January 28, 2012
I am unable to review this game without comparing it to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Game of the Year Edition. Skyrim practically borrows almost everything from Morrowind, from the music to the art direction and so on. It, however, ends up being an experience that tries to mimic such a thing, but through a more, limited scope in all areas.
First and foremost, I'll mention what Skyrim does better than Oblivion. Skyrim has a varied environment. Dungeons actually have level design. Skyrim handles leveled loot and enemies better, while still keeping certain places inhospitable with higher level enemies. You are no longer just "some guy." Skyrim gives the illusion of having lore behind it. While all of this seemed like a deal breaker during first impressions over the game, it's not until you get into the meat that you discover that it just isn't good enough.
Dungeons actually feel like levels, yes, but many of them lack any gravity to make them feel meaningful. There are so many interiors I remember from the original Morrowind. Weird looking caverns with statues and deadra warshippers lurking inside doing god knows what. Travel to a mine, find a slave colony mining inside, with little to no clothes on due to the enclosed humidity. A simple cave reveals a throne for only a giant to fit on. In skyrim, all dungeons usually carry some kind of theme and pattern. Draugr infested ruins, Bandit ridden caverns and mines, forsworn camps and forts, and *spoiler* Dwarven ruins, which turn out to be the most interesting of the bunch. This has to do with the fact that the entire setting is literally lifted right out of morrowind, if not just a little expanded.
The pattern is rather simple. Fight weaker enemies and loot, fight a boss enemy or a series of stronger enemies carrying something nice, word wall and leveled loot chest, followed by exit. Occasionally, some dungeons will provide back story through the use of ghost sightings or other rare oddities, and notes and journals. These can also be broken up by puzzle sequences that involve you matching environmental switches and items according to a book or looking for the symbols on the wall. Also, nice looking views here and there. It all seems like a template for the dungeon design to follow, allowing no alteration (There are some good looking dungeons with good story, here and there, but very rare), and in that way it doesn't feel unique. I do compliment the addition of literature to read containing info about the area, but it has more to do with the looks than anything. That is, compelling art design, which skyrim doesn't go out of it's way to aspire to.
These problems leak out into the overall gameworld that is Skyrim. It follows an extremely archetypical layout and theme, along with the way game is period. Only about one city looks breathtaking, while most of the others feel very generic. The game world looks very pretty but it only mostly consists of arctic iceland and forest, with patches of water/land and giant waterfalls. The land is littered with the usual passive earthly critters and deadly predators, and the occasional band of whoever.
The problem with >>All of this<< is that it feels strictly realistic. It feels nothing like a fictional fantastical land. There isn't anything like the giant mushrooms, silt striders and scribs in morrowind. There are no giant floating shell creatures. You will very rarely see deadra. Instead you get the most typical enemies available, and I don't think I'll have to name them. The game really lacks creativity in these departments.
The overall map complexity of Skyrim isn't exactly what I was hoping for, as it only includes snowland to the forest scene. That's it. Morrowind had that (with in the inclusion with an expansion, which skyrim also borrows a lot off of as well) and more. Whats better, is there was even interesting backstory behind it all. What sounds cooler: an Atlantis style city with a giant floating rock or just some average boring imperial city?
The really serious problem behind Skyrim is the real lack of locations to explore compared to Morrowind. It is so easy to find a new location in that game because they're so close to each other, and this is without a compass mind you. Not only are they close, but they're in mass. Skyrim only has about 350, and not all of them dungeons. I couldn't possibly tell you how many locations I found in morrowind, but I can tell you that I spent more than two years with that game. I bought Skyrim at the beginning of this month. (Level 67, about 200 hours, I'll get back to this later) This would only sound like a quantity over quality thing to people who haven't played it. With skyrim, there are entire patches of land that have nothing to see or do. It just seems like they didn't squeeze as much as they could have out of this.
A lot of places also involve quests to even enter them, and this leads to that subject. I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the main quest, but it brought about some issues that I took with the questing overall. As in every Bethesda game, no main quest is ever straight because in order to continue, you need to seek out some other npc who then wants you to do something else. Many of these NPCs are straight up jerks or really bossy, which Bethesda loves to craft for some reason. In this manner the game is practically forcing you to side with people you don't even like in order to progress. I'm not exaggerating this either, it's either take orders or don't complete the quest, which can be problematic for people who prefer nonviolent means of getting things done. (Which was possible in every way in Bethesda's previous game Fallout 3: Game of The Year Edition (Xbox 360))
Perhaps my next point would be a nitpick but I find the mechanic of invincible npcs (Not children) to be irritating to no end. What this is telling you is that you have to play the game in a very specific way, regardless of your allegiance. Morrowind allowed you to kill anyone, including main quest people and the game gods. (Vivec, for example.) This allowed greater freedom, especially for anyone who just wanted to ignore the entire main quest altogether. If you wanted to make an evil overlord character who harvested souls, you could do that. The most you would get is a message that tells you that you altered your destiny. Here, that isn't as possible. It's also a problem when you run into an aggressive, high level quest character on the street at a low level (Which I did).
Really, when you get down to it, many of the inhabitants of skyrim will just seem petty or hostile for real no reason. The biggest example would be the new brand of the Imperial Legion, who have a strange obsession with execution. When not cutting heads off, they're hunting people they see as criminals with a passion to kill. There's also the everyday citizens and children who will talk all sorts of trash in your face, all the while seeming completely oblivious to your dragonscale armor and deathlord helmet, and 300 damage deadra sword. It gets even more bizarre after you complete the main quest and then you apply to join other guilds and groups who doubt your skills on arrival. Most of the quests involve fetching items or killing people, by the way.
One would think that I find this game completely unenjoyable to play based on all my criticisms, to which I would say not true! For the actual gameplay, that is the very reason to play the game, is solid and varied and fun either way you slice it. It's not flawless, but it's DEFINITELY better than oblivion by a longshot. The game includes VATS like finishers and backstabs which are enjoyable to watch, especially when you get the ability to decapitate your adversaries. Outside of the combat includes the new ability to forge armor and weapons, along with alchemy and enchanting skill returning, allowing you to make a potentially godlike character, as is true to what these games usually involve.
The leveling system is completely different this time around, thanks to a new "perk" system. Most would claim that you level your skills naturally and perks would help your efficiency in said skills, but it's the other way around. It would seem that perks are the only way to boost your skills, and gaining skill levels would just be a prerequisite to earning said perks. This means you could be level one hundred in sneak without any perks and still get spotted easily. This can easily cause worry for a player who may want to choose a different skill to expertise down the road, especially considering how long it takes to level at higher levels. Screwing around with just two points can be something you really regret later on in your development.
So at the end of the day, I would say that I still enjoyed my time playing Skyrim. 200 hours worth, more to follow. Not the ultimate elder scrolls like I thought at first, but it's worth of the title... I guess.
on January 10, 2014
The best way I can describe Skyrim is a diluted version of what a true Elder Scrolls game should be. Although I enjoyed it, it is a slap in the face in many ways to Elder Scrolls fans that have been playing since Morrowind or before. Yes, the graphics and world are beautiful. Yes, there are dragons; but these things do not excuse the developers from straying from the path of their original vision for ES. This game was made to be appease the most people possible, it was not intended for true Elder Scrolls fans. It fails in many areas such as:
1) Skill development is unoriginal and limited, and Bethesda continues to cut out skills for the sake of making the game "friendly" to new players. This new system really limits the uniqueness of my character, and simply eliminates a lot of realism from the game (a guy good with dagger isn't magically an expert with a longsword).
2) Dialogue is lazy, and not very complex at it's core. It seems very uninspired and is lacking the more clever aspects of linguistics.
3) The combat is improved, but not fixed in anyway. The dual wielding was nice, but Bethesda still failed to make a combat system with proper hit-boxes. Another issue lingering ever since Morrowind is how floaty ES combat seems to be, and you can rest assured that they did nothing to address this issue. The combat still feels like I'm using a piece of paper against air when I'm using a war hammer on an armored breast plate.
4) Guilds have completely lost originality, and are a joke in this game. The Brotherhood is still not bad, but the rest of the guilds have lost all value they used to have. Not only can I probably finish all the guild quests in 1 day or less, but I can also be pretty bored while doing it.
5) Immersion breaking things. The guards, and everyone, do not ever acknowledge your status as dragon-born, guild leader, or ANYTHING. It sounds really stupid when you're the guild leader and the others are still asking you if you're the new guy here.
6) They removed spell creation. I don't know why, but I'm guessing to make the game more "friendly".
7) The A.I. is extremely handicapped. Unless you're unused to playing RPGs, or lack any sort of skill at gaming, you'll find this A.I. to be comical. The difficulty of this game is greatly hindered by how stupid the A.I. will be most of the time. I don't know about you, but I get bored when I can mow through everything. This includes the dragons, which for fearsome legendary beasts sure are easy.
There are many more smaller issues that have been passed down from Oblivion, but I'd rather not get into those. Although it seems like I'm being very harsh in this review, I still think it's a great game. I'm a big ES fan, and generally RPGs, so I still enjoyed it. I would love for Bethesda to bring us the true "meat"of an ES to then next ES game. I would highly recommend this to anyone, and I'd imagine anyone new to the series or RPGs will love it. Personally, I'm tired of the new trend of developers treating gamers like they're children and supplying us with games that they think are "friendly" so that they don't hurt our poor little feelings. Try it and see if you like it.
on January 31, 2014
First time playing an Elder Scrolls game, heard a lot about Skyrim so I wanted to try it. Loved the immense world, but leveling up got tedious, and the inventory management left a lot to be desired. Dungeon diving also seemed repetitive.
My biggest problem with the game was caused partly by my TV though. For some reason the game display was shifted down about a half inch, which caused the bottom bar with my health and stamina, weight carried, and compass to get cut off. Couldn't play it like that, and nothing I could do in the TV settings would fix it, and the game settings didn't have a horizontal / vertical positioning that some other games have to fit the screen.
May eventually go back and finish this game whenever I get a new TV, but frankly, I don't miss it,
on November 2, 2013
After waiting two years for this game to get down to $20, what a let down. This is only one step up from Fallout 3. If you're into this genre, try Tomb Raider or Far Cry 3. Those games are not so clunky.
on May 15, 2012
"Skyrim" has all the best aspects of an "Elder Scrolls" game: a vast open game world, a character leveling system based on your style of play and thousands upon thousands of quests. Players who know even a little bit of what to expect won't be disappointed.
The game starts you off as a prisoner being taken to meet your fate. From there, a cut-scene moves you seamlessly into the character creation tool (where you choose their race, build and facial features). Shortly after, a terrific set piece propels you into the main story and a high-level tutorial.
From then on, what you do is up to you. The developers have created a rich and unique world to explore. Every cave, ruin, and town will have something to new discover. As with "Morrowind" and "Oblivion", one doesn't PLAY "Skyrim" so much as LIVE it. The visuals are stunning and the art design borrows heavily from Scandinavian, Middle Eastern and European architecture. But it combines them in a way to create a world both familiar yet surreal.
The graphics are crisp and refined, with detailed textures that truly bring the environment to life. The character models are a huge improvement over the previous games and probably the are best and most attractive they've ever been.
The excellent musical score contributes strongly to the overall mood of "Skyrim", yet varies enough to fade comfortably into the background. Bethesda has also increased the number of voice actors so, unlike "Oblivion", you won't catch a non-player character having a conversation with himself. The acting itself is excellent and even boasts a bona-fide Academy Award Winner in the cast (see if you can guess who...).
In many ways "Skyrim" is the next phase in the evolution of the series, taking some of the best features from both "Morrowind" and "Oblivion" while adding some of its own, chief of which are the elimination of Classes and the addition "perks". Rather than picking a Class, you just play and develop the skills that are used most. So, if you use a lot of Stealth Based skills, you'll progress into a thief-like character. And each time you level up, you have the option of adding a "perk" to a skill. Each perk enhances that skill and some perks are locked by level. While, I still miss the traditional "Class" system, the new approach does seem allow for more organic gameplay. I had "Spellsword" type character which relied heavily on One-Handed melee with some offensive spells. But I quickly became over-powered when going toe-to-toe with more advanced enemies. So I decided to add some perks to my Block skill and that literally changed the game for me...for the better.
Skyrim also finds a happy medium to the dreaded "leveling problem" from "Oblivion", where enemies leveled up with the characters. While this was done as an effort to keep the game challenging, many players (myself included) felt it ruined the immersion. As you increase in level, your character should feel Epic and encountering bandits who were almost as powerful as me seemed silly. "Morrowind", on the other hand, kept the enemy levels static per location. But this meant that some areas of the game were off limits until the character had sufficient experience. Skyrim solves this by creating a leveled range...where some enemies will get tougher as your character improves, but will cap after certain levels. This keeps things challenging but still gives a high level character a feeling of power.
There are hundreds (if not thousands) of quests, but an overwhelming majority of them are of the "Go here...kill this...fetch that" variety. And while the dungeons (or ruins or caves or fortresses) may look different, they all play pretty much the same: you slog through several "zones" filled with increasingly difficult enemies until reaching a Main Chamber containing a leveled boss flanked by a couple of leveled associates. After a while, I began to dread the dungeon crawls, not out of fear for my character's safety, but because of the sheer tedium.
Even the much anticipated dragon battles quickly devolve into standard monster fights after awhile. Early in the game, thought, the dragons will be a challenge. I found myself frequently luring them near towns so I could enlist the aid of guards. But the first time I brought down one of the giant flying reptiles myself, it was exhilarating! I truly felt that I had accomplished something. However, as I developed a strategy for these battles, they too became repetitive. And much like the Oblivion Gates in "Oblivion", there is no real sense of threat. No one would die and no town would burn as a result of a dragon attack.
Still, the developers have tried to make the game dynamic. In addition to the random comments NPCs make about your exploits, there are some interesting innovations around the faction quests. In one instance, joining one faction prohibits you from joining another (and sets up open antagonism with members of that group). There's also an opportunity to completely wipe out a couple of the factions, thus completely ending this quest line. And many quests are not at all what they first appear. For example, and here's a minor spoiler here, what began as a simple drinking contest became something quite different...
Unfortunately, the majority of the faction quests are amazingly short and lacking in depth. After completing four of five missions, you're suddenly promoted to the leader of that faction. The individual quest lines also seemed to be recycled plots from similar quests in "Oblivion".
So after logging in close to 150 hours and finishing the main quest (along with several faction quests), I can honestly say that (with the exception of some widely documented bugs) I've enjoyed "Skyrim". However,in many ways it seems like they took a step back from the groundbreaking immersion that made "The Elder Scrolls" games the hallmark of Computer RPGs. If only Bethesda had poured more resources into the FEEL of the game instead of the look, "Skyrim" would have been a truly worth successor. "Skyrim" is a beautiful and breathtaking place to visit, but after awhile, there's just not much to keep you there.
on July 31, 2012
In my opinion, Bethesda didn't really succeed in making this game as awesome as its predecessors, namely Oblivion and Morrowind.
Initially, the scenery is astounding. There are so many things to see and visit in Skyrim, which, regretfully, easily can turn out to be quite overwhelming.
This is also what I found to be the issue with the game's quest system, which has been said to be capable of generating an "infinite number of quests."
Great, you think, and start playing. Quest after quest.
The only thing is that these "infinite" quests consists of an endless array of mundane "go kill that," "deliver this to that guy" or "find this item and get gold," which stops being rewarding after a short while.
I also found so many glitches and stupid NPC behavior that I eventually decided to quit this game (at about level 38 or so).
The inhabitants of Skyrim lack character and charm. Whatever endeavors Bethesda made to make this game realistic, they failed at one too many points.
Moreover, the voice-acting is terrible (especially the 'real' but rather blightful scandinavian accents ( - no offense intended, since I'm swedish myself -)
Despite all of this, I found Skyrim had many positive aspects as well. Using combinations of weapons and magic kept me going for a while, and after seeing the aurora at night I was simply spellbound by the game for many hours on. The cities and landscapes are beautifully made, and the graphics are considerably better and smoother than its predecessors.
So there you have it - Skyrim is a vast beautiful world. Although what it seemed to be able to offer on the surface in the end (for me) ended up in complete monotony as the realization that the game does not have much charm or depth as it might seem.
I recommend you borrow this game from a friend and decide if it's really worth your time before doing so.
on November 12, 2011
In most respects, Skyrim is a big step-up from Oblivion. NPCs now behave like real people; instead of standing around and waiting to spill their life story to some random stranger, they argue and bicker with one another while you're strolling around the town. If the conversation catches your interest, you can approach any members of the party and ask what's going on. It's more realistic then the old system, not to mention it makes the quests as a whole far more compelling.
The leveling system has also been improved and ridden of extra clutter. Instead of choosing a class, a sign, main skill points, etc, you simply choose a race at the beginning of the game. From there, you're free to improve whatever skills you want with no class restraint. After leveling up a certain number of skills (not sure how many as of yet), your character raises a level. From there, you can either improve Stamina, Health, or Magic, and you are also given an extra perk. Perks are used to advance through a sort of "leveling tree" for each skill, slowly becoming more powerful the farther along you go. Some of the perks include blocking more efficiently, certain spells taking less magicka, dual-wielding strikes becoming faster, etc. It's with these perks that you can choose what to specialize in throughout the game. It's a breath of fresh air from the previous Elder Scrolls' rigid, chosen up front class system. No longer do you have to Sneak everyway at the beginning of the game or zap everything with magic for fear of getting to the point where it's no longer possible to work on new skills.
As for the graphics...they're gorgeous, to say the least. I installed my game right away after getting fed up with the long load times, and it still looks stellar (in case you haven't heard, there's a glitch where installing the game actually makes it look worse, rather than better. Bethesda says they're going to fix this in the first patch). The textures are realistic and detailed, the pop-up rate is virtually non-existent, and the landscapes are varied. Third person also looks, dare I say it, excellent. I would always cringe whenever I switched to third person in the previous games, despite normally preferring that view. In Skyrim, however, it no longer looks like a last minute thought. Actually, quite the opposite: you can tell the game was created to be in third person as well from the beginning. That being said, it's still much easier to fight in first person due to the floaty battle system (some things never change), but despite this, third person is now quite enjoyable to play in.
The dragons and the Shouts are also a great new addition. Dragon attacks are intense and varied, reminding me of Monster Hunter, for those who play those games. The Shouts themselves are like a cross between race powers and normal magicka. As of now, I can't comment on these features in too much depth (while I've played the game for fifteen hours, I've strayed from the main storyline), but both add variety to the game, along with even more reasons to explore the vast world. I'll update this section once I've gotten farther into the main storyline.
First, I will say that Skyrim is very buggy. Laggy menus, the game freezing, random polygons turning invisible, and sliding off the edge of whatever you try to jump on (for some reason, it's difficult to actually jump on top of whatever you're aiming for. It almost has a floaty feel to it, much like the old battle system we're used to). Of course, I'm sure Bethesda will fix these glitches in upcoming patches, so I'll give it some slack there. It's just something to keep in mind if you do decide to purchase the game.
Load times are...long. Even installed, it takes quite a while to load anything. This even includes simply entering a house or building. Considering I go in and out of houses constantly in any Elder Scrolls game, this quickly becomes a nuisance right off the bat. I've found myself avoiding buildings just so I won't have to deal with the load times more than necessary.
Now for the biggest issue: the interface. I admit that I absolutely loved Oblivion's interface. Yes, it had a bit of a learning curve, but once you had it, it was intuitive. Assigning weapons to the d-pad, switching on the fly, and occasionally bringing up the wheel whenever needed was simple and added a frenzied feel to the game. Unfortunately, Bethesda decided to completely due away with this system. Instead of the Oblivion-esque d-pad assignments and wheel, we're given a "favorites" menu that can be pulled up at any time by clicking the top button on the d-pad. In it, anything that has been assigned a favorite on the normal menu shows up for quick access. Now, here are the problems:
-The game freezes upon opening the favorites menu. I know some of you are probably thinking this is an improvement, but far from it. You'll be accessing the menu so often that the pacing of the battles is completely butchered; read the other points to see where I'm coming from.
-It's ordered alphabetically. There is no way to organize it by spells, weapons, Shouts, potions, etc, meaning everything is jumbled together in one big mess. This makes searching through the menu a pain and the pause time between battles even more apparent when you can't find what you're looking for.
-The biggest problem? It's almost impossible to switch between weapons and spells on the fly. There are only two quick-key options, the left and right d-pad (corresponding to the left and right hand). However, neither work as they should. To give an example: say you currently have a shield in one hand and a sword in another (the sword has been assigned to the right quick key for easy access). While fighting, you want to switch out your shield for a Healing spell, which has been assigned to the left quick-key. You click it, and you have your spell. Once you're done, obviously you most likely want to go back to your shield. So you click the left-pad again, and guess what happens? Suddenly you sheathe your sword and have a Healing spell in two hands. Click the right quick key for your sword, and you'll draw it once more...while still wielding a Healing spell in your left hand. The point? If you want to go back to your shield, you have to open up the menu and manually select it once more from your favorites. It completely defeats the purpose of having quick keys in the first place.
I honestly hope Bethesda goes back to the old Oblivion interface, or at the very least fixes these quick keys so it's possible to actually switch methods of attack. As it stands now, it's nearly impossible to use. I've given up on it at this point and simply open up the favorites menu every time I need to switch anything (which I keep to a minimum, since it's tedious, to say the least). Perhaps it seems overly harsh of me to detract two stars mainly for this, but I'm sure the majority of people enjoy wielding different weapons and spells in the middle of battle; that's where most of the strategy lies in the Elder Scrolls games. Considering the rest of the Elder Scrolls' fighting mechanics are notoriously bare, this one tweak saps the fighting of most enjoyment to be had. Why Bethesda couldn't have left the old mechanics in place is beyond me.
Overall: Skyrim is a clear step up from Oblivion and should easily be a five star game. The unpolished feel, however, detracts from the overall score. If the interface had remained the same as Oblivion I would have given this a 4.5 (bugs will most likely be fixed, after all), but the new system is just so jarring that I find the game hard to truly enjoy. If you are set on this game, then by all means buy it; you'll most likely be able to overlook its flaws and have a good time. If you're still on the fence, then I'd recommend just playing Oblivion until the interface is fixed. There's no point marring your experience of a potentially great game.
on January 8, 2013
Since most people have either bought this game or not I guess this review is more for anyone left and the developers. Overall the game is addicting for the first bit, going through quest after quest, leveling up, dungeon diving. The setting is amazing, it makes for some amazing visuals of nature, different awesome biomes from swamp to forests, as you walk up a mountain it gradually gets snowier and the wind blows harder, though I would like to see in the next game a little more fantasy setting like in Morrowind. The physics are huge plus in this game, like sitting in a river and having it push you downstream w/ it, never seen that before in a game, or shooting a fireball at an enemy and watching him fly back.
Gameplay is fun, though I find when using spells the reticule is too small so it's hard to hit enemies when they're moving, the only way really to hit every time is when they're standing still or running towards you, I haven't played as an archer but it'd be the same problem. Something that I find annoying is that you're magicka doesn't regen as fast when there are enemies around as when there aren't enemies around, playing a mage this slows the gameplay down and makes it annoying, when you have multiple enemies you have to run a bit back and wait 20secs until your magicka regens. This completely makes perks like faster magicka regen and cost less spells less useful because isn't that WHY I picked that perk, to have more magicka? It also makes you be cheap in boss battles where it's just a cat and mouse game, closing the door and hiding while you regen, or circling a column with him on the other side while you regen.
I along with the many others who have said that going through dungeons over and over does get repetitive and boring, there are about 2-3 areas that you go through until you reach a door that loads the next area, and then finally a boss, grab quest item, repeat, and partly I guess because I'm one-hitting everyone (more on this later) during quests and the boss is either annoying or boring. Continuing on dungeons, the puzzles, I don't really mind the easy ones but the more difficult ones are annoying, you have to get up and look at your computer to figure out how to solve it taking you out of the game, sometimes finding out the clue is in a totally different room or something, the worst ones though are the ones where if you don't know what you're doing and mess it up you have to restart the checkpoint to reset the puzzle. My final but big complaint about dungeons is that, "hey, I wanna level up my character by killing baddies", but wait, the baddies are 20 levels higher than you, this kills any sense of progression you felt in your character. There are side quests though that do offer a new gameplay, like House of Horrors was a really memorable one, though they don't always offer much in the way of combat so you can level up your character. The enemies tend to be the same too, Draugr's in every damn dungeon, pretty rarely you come across a new enemy.
Now the biggest problem I have with this game, the broken leveling system. So yes, of course, it's better than Oblivion, that just sucked, but it's still broken. As I said before right now I'm going through dungeons one-hitting enemies and my level is only in the teens but meanwhile I have a destruction skill level of 60+... Completely unbalanced. Still meanwhile, I go into a random non-quest dungeon and I'll probably get my butt kicked. Like gaining money, the leveling system is SLOOOOWW, 40+hrs and I'm still ONLY in the teens?!? C'mon! This game lacks so much of a what makes a true rpg great, a True sense of character progression and power, the big parts what makes rpg's great and true rpg's. Why do we play rpg's? To feel a sense of progression, the addiction of watching our character grow, level, and get stronger, but it's just so hard to see that in this game. To get to a new character level in this game you have to gain enough skill levels, and within a skill you have perks, you can choose 1 perk per level up, since it's so damn slow to level up you're forced to put perks into your main skills only, but what if I wanted to level up my speak skill because found item price is different from what it is actually sold as, nope, you're better of putting into your main skill. You'd be lucky to be able to perk up a non-main skill, and extremely lucky to put it into a non-main skill two times in a row (like what if I wanted to rank up my lockpicking skill too because lockpicking is the most horrendously horribly annoying thing in this game? Not if you want to sacrifice a perk...). Main skill perks are a whole another part, even if you put 2 points into getting 50% damage, it still feels almost meaningless, even without gear that's giving you plus damage it just still feels meaningless and not enough. Finally, my last gripe about the level system being broken is that you have 1-2 main skills like say 1 handed if you use a sword plus blocking if you use a shield, or destruction and restoration if you're a mage, I briefly mentioned earlier that my level is only in the teens but my destruction level is 60+, so what happens if I keep playing and max out my destruction skill level sometime when I'm a level 20, the max level is 81 so I'm barely beyond a 1/4 of the way to that, it's going to take forever to level up especially through the higher levels with your secondary skills. It might be because of the way dungeons scale to your level though, but that means later on I'm fighting harder enemies, so again, what kind of character progression is that to go from one-hitting enemies to struggling through dungeons?
I can complain all I want, so suggestions for the next game, make skill levels more meaningful, example, give +2 destruction damage if I level up in that, or give us 2 skill points to level up more than 1 skill at a time. Make it easier to level up and get money, it's ssooo much more fun to kick butt in higher levels. Level scaling needs to be more linear, no more 20-30 dungeons, etc, have enemies around your level that provide enough of a challenge so it's a typical rpg leveling arc of easy to level at first then gets longer and longer to level up. It does also get tiring of guards and random npc's telling you that they're not impressed and have no idea of your progression. Do you know what I just did, I just crushed a boss and saved Skyrim, I've also killed several dragons that could've destroyed towns, and oh yea.. I'm Freaking Drgaonborn! I consume dragon souls, I am above and beyond you in every single way. Fable does this perfectly, if you play evil or good people cheer or are terrified of you and they speak of your deeds like it actually was passed down by word of mouth. A reputation system would be great.
Finally overall, I'd say play Skyrim, it's addictive and fun for a bit, even if you don't enjoy it after a while like I did I still feel like I got my moneys worth even though I bought it at $60, but if you do enjoy it you'll enjoy it for quite a while.
on January 20, 2013
Skyrim had so many positive reviews from gaming websites online. I figured this would be a good gift for my brother. Plus, the trailer looks amazing. Unfortunately, this game is really slow on XBox 360 4GB version. If you are going to play the game with its advanced graphics, I may suggest buying a more powerful CPU. My brother and I had to constantly reload the game. It took a bit of the fun out of it.
The graphics of the game itself were amazing. It looked like high quality anime. If we had a faster computer, I think we could have probably played this game successfully. Other people we know seem to have enjoyed the game. There is a thing to note: this is a single player RPG. If you are looking for a team activity, this really isn't it. You would be watching an individual play by themselves. For me, I felt this was a bit lonely. I will probably end up selling the game back online.