Save Game Plays Skyrim
Several of the Save Game crew have been practically living in Skyrim since Bethesda released the 5th installment of the Elder Scrolls series just a few days ago. We’ve all been experiencing different things and thought we’d share a little about those experiences. After all, there is so much to be explored. SO MUCH. In depth reviews of the game will come much later after we’ve successfully exhausted ourselves in this vast world of awesomesauce.
Jen: One of the first thing I noticed was the vast improvement of voice acting in the game as compared to Oblivion. Thankfully, no one sounds like an aging community theater acting for the back row. I’m very much enjoying the addition of companions in the game, as my magic user tends to get pummelled in fights and it’s good to have someone there to take the brunt of it. Sadly, there is a bug in the game preventing me from marrying the supposedly marriage ready Lydia so until Bethesda comes out with a patch that will validate our love, I can’t speak to the new marriage feature in the game.
The world is beautiful. No one can argue this. It is jawdroppingly gorgeous. Also fun is actually watching yourself at the forge or alchemy table mixing potions as opposed to just making them in a menu like in Oblivion. I’m very excited that the crosshair stays put in third person perspective as first person tends to make me dizzy, so, unlike in Oblivion, I don’t have to switch back and forth for aimed attacks.
Things I didn’t like right off the bat are few. For instance I came across several glitches like the one in the picture above. Some of the combat animation, particularly the kill shots, look a little sloppy, and there were various other things, like doors opening through me. People talk over each other. so unless you have the subtitles on, you may miss something important. And I find the menu and map interface to be a bit clunky. There are a few texture issues that make me sad since the game is so amazingly beautiful, but all of this I can overlook for the moment as I’m truly enjoying the game. Except for that bug about not being able to marry Lydia. That shit needs to be fixed like yesterday.
Miri: Like many of you, I’ve been quite lost since 11/11 in the world of Skyrim. This year has been huge for game releases and innovation in the same, but Skyrim brings something incredibly special to both the RPG genre and the industry as a whole.
I’ve logged about 20 hours on the game so far, and I have yet to even touch the main quest. This is what makes Skyrim so amazing – it’s no longer about dashing through the game to the end, it really is about the journey along the way. Sidequests don’t feel tedious, and wandering through the environments is a delight as opposed to the chore it often became in other games. The environments themselves are so engaging that I’ve found myself wanting to travel on foot or by horse as opposed to transporting instantly to previously discovered destinations. This is what an openworld RPG should be; an emphasis on adventure and discovery rather than on leveling, finishing, and filing the game away as an overall tedious exercise.
This isn’t to say it’s flawless, of course – the mechanics can occasionally be clunky, and my copy tends not to remember my custom control scheme in between sessions.However, the errors and issues that I’ve encountered have done little to distract from my enjoyment of the world Bethesda created. I’m looking forward to completing the main quest as soon as I can tear myself away from my woodland adventures and incessant adventuring.
Griffon: Skyrim is an absolutely gorgeous game that has so far offered plenty of distractions to keep me from the main quest. It is easy to get up in side quests or simply roaming the wilderness and stare at the splendid scenery. The combat is fluid but slightly different from past Elder Scrolls games with the addition of dual wielding and shouts. But it still plays much like Oblivion so the learning curve is mainly relegated to familiarising myself with the nuances and tweaks. Though, the game is much more difficult than expected. Even though enemies do not scale with the player in the manner of Oblivion, there will be many enemies that are stronger than the player at lower levels. Word of advice… run fast from mammoths, giants, trolls and sabre cats… they will rip you apart.
The music so far has been fantastic: the subtle themes being well placed while the more bombastic main theme is sprinkled throughout in wonderful little moments that can randomly occur… nothing like charging a beastie, sword glinting in the sunlight, while that massive chant begins to rise over it all. Though… I was disappointed that there was no sweeping title sequence like Oblivion. I also slightly miss the stat system of previous games. Levelling is still similar enough to Oblivion in that skills must be used to level, but there are no base stats that you can boost. But this is a minor quibble especially with the vastly improved perk system that allows you to take bonuses in the skills of your choice. So far Skyrim has been a treat… though I would be farther along if not for standing on the mountain peak watching the night sky for hours on end!
Joe: When I play a new game for the first time, there is always a moment that I like to call the “tipping point.” It is the moment when I decide whether or not my sixty dollars of hard earned money was well spent. My tipping point for Skyrim, the latest game in the Elder Scrolls series from Bethesda Studios, came about two hours into the game. I had just emerged from a restful night’s sleep, and stepped out into a stunningly beautiful morning. I was so moved by the beauty that surrounded me, that instead of launching into a quest as I had planned the night before, I decided to simply take a walk instead.
We both just sorta stared at each other for a moment, too shocked to say or do anything. If I had the option, I would’ve apologized to the poor thing for being so distracted. But instead, I took an instinctive step backwards, which was enough to send the caribou running. With a groan of disapproval, the mighty beast bounded through the trees, across the babbling brook, and up into the hills on the other side. As I watched it disappear into the blanket of morning fog that still clung to the mountainside, I experienced my tipping point. I realized then that Skyrim is not just a game. It is a living, breathing world where anything can happen at any time. And I decided that this was a world I wanted to spend a lot more time in.
Elizabeth: There are very few games that take my breath away with the scenery alone. I can remember the first time this happened to me – I’d just left the Vault in Fallout 3. There was a blinding light, and then as my character’s eyes adjusted, I set my gaze on the expanse wastelands that extended forever.
And now here I am, images of Skyrim still dancing in my head, visions of such detail and delight that I’m genuinely inspired. From the trickling streams to the glorious northern lights on High Hrothgar (and without spoiling, they aren’t even the best ones,) I actually feel as though I’m in another world. After Avatar was released, there were reports of people feeling suicidal in the hope that if they died, they would wake on Pandora. I partially understand that now. If I should die and pass on to somewhere else, I hope it resembles Skyrim.
Of course, there are flaws to the game that even beauty to this degree can’t hide – a lot of essentials such as hotkeys and even basic commands are left unexplained, the save system is cluttered and unorganized, and Bethesda chose to take the DRM route that won’t allow me to play offline or without Steam – which is highly inconvenient for someone who travels often. But no game is perfect, hell, not even the real world is perfect.
I’ve finished the single player campaign, and I still don’t feel as though I’ve played enough to justify giving a full review. There’s so much to do, and I want to do it all. I’m compelled to.
Bethesda has come so far from Fallout 3, and have truly outdone themselves. I can safely say, even now, that Skyrim is my game of the year.
Now if you’ll excuse me, my husband, Farkas, is waiting for me to take him dragon hunting.
We’ll have lots more coverage of all things Skyrim in the coming weeks because let’s face it, there is a ton of stuff to cover. So keep checking back. And if you haven’t played Skyrim yet, why haven’t you? Is it because you want the dragons to win?