Edit: To all the trolls crying about my hatred for this game, point to where I ever said I was reviewing the game. I will be, but only later once I’ve gotten through it. On PC. I still consider Skyrim an insult and not worth 60 bucks for 360. No game should be this buggy on launch, on hardware six years old. So stop crying about a review, It’s first impressions. Which matter a lot around these parts.

 

So it’s now 11/12/11 and Skyrim has been out for a day, no doubt long enough for some people to have already beaten the game. I got the game for 360 and was hopeful the game would I have cleaned up all of the problems I had with Oblivion, the previous Elder Scrolls game. So let’s have a look at Skyrim and see how it did, shall we?

First and most obvious thing I notice is the load screen hints. Or maybe it was load screen backstory. I can’t tell, because for what ever the hell reason the game is designed only for high-definition television. Which means my TV, which is perfectly serviceable for everything else can’t display any of the text without it becoming this massive blurred pile of crap. Why don’t we have an option to fix this, exactly? It’s the game’s text for god’s sake, it would take, what, 5 minutes to make an option to display in bigger font?

But it looks pretty!

Okay, so the load screen follows the retarded trend of high-def text. It’s annoying but not the worst thing in the world. Tons of other games do it (Looking at you, ME2), so I’m finally passed the horrible blob of backstory-hint-mystery text and load up into a beautiful game world. The light is cascading through the few gaps in a forest, and you pass by a flowing stream as the Emperor Mr. Exposition 2.0 starts talking. After looking around at the scenery and at the other people in the cart with you, I settle in and look at him as he speaks. Only he’s randomly stopping. And talking to himself? What? Then I realized he was holding a conversation with the guy sitting next to me. I’m sorry, but game devs, just stop using audio cues. Make it all the same sound level all the time. In order to hear the guy speak at all, I had to be looking at him. If I looked away at all, his voice would fade into nothing. That’s not how it works in real life, guys. If you’re going to ape that at least do it right. So the annoying “you magically can’t hear as well if you’re looking away, even if you’re right beside them” problem is present and rampant in the first 30 seconds of the game. Am I supposed to just spin my head around over and over to make sure I don’t miss anything?

Wait. Don’t do that. Turns out, you have no character model. We still haven’t hit character creation, and we’re just happily going through a cutscene. Am I supposed to be dead or something? Am I a specter? Oh, wait, no. They just decided to put trivial little things like character design after the into sequence so you get to not-exist and only some how generate a body when an NPC is ready to kill you. Oh, thanks for that, game. I was safer when I didn’t have a body. Not to mention not having anything make is a cheap cop-out for that very intro sequence. Want to play an elf? Good thing you didn’t! Since at least 2 npc’s talk smack about elves, it saves the developers from, you know, letting you actual role-play at that stage or have different, interesting interactions in the opening.

See! It's totally pretty.

Geez, Skyrim. I haven’t even gotten to play that much, and you’re already screwing up kind of bad. At least you were nice enough to let me make my entire character when the NPC guard just asked for my name. Good to see you have priorities set up, Skyrim.

Alright, cutscene again. What sounds like two wookiees mating horrifically is actually a dragon. Cool, that didn’t take long. It lands and starts burning things, giving me time to run. Awesome. Thanks Mr. Dragon! Now we’re running to a safe spot, when I pass up the NPC because he’s still talking. Hey dude, I don’t have to outrun the dragon. I just have to outrun you. Or… not? I run face first into  a scripted scene where the dragon blows a hole in the wall and breathes napalm everywhere… that doesn’t hurt me? I’m immune to fire? Nope, the fire on the ground hurts. So it’s fresh fire I’m immune to. Alright, good to know the distinction.

So, jump out the hole, run across the ground trying to be afraid of the dragon. Only not, because there isn’t an actual sprint function. So I just casually jog under the dragon. It’s cool I guess. Maybe my character doesn’t care? I mean, she was dead earlier. She just got a new body. Must be feeling on top of the world right now. So I guess that’s okay, since the tension is gone. I look up and try to find the dragon, since it can’t scare Miss Immortality now. There he is! I watch him fly around, thinking “nice animations” right up until I trigger a new sequence, causing the dragon to blink away a short distance, then spaz out and fire flame from his butt as it twitches and flying about oddly. Then it starts flying forward… in animation. It’s actually just hovering there. Did a wizard grab the dragon? Or is it like some kind of Draconic Michael Jackson, and just doing a moon walk? I hope so, with as bad as it’s now spazzing out, it might start doing Thriller next. That’d be cool.

Dragon MJ would be the only thing saving this game.

Or it would, until we run into a building. No more dragon! yay? I mean, I was kind of immortal. To fresh fire. The fire on the ground still hurt. I guess it’s for the best then, since Dragon MJ would probably figure it out eventually. And hey, the NPC finally cut my ropes, we’re free! Alright, time to collect the armor and sword that are sitting nice and cozy in the obligatory chest. Once equipped, we head off to fight some dudes that are chilling in our new base. Can’t have that, can I? Weapon animations are smooth and pleasant to see, but at least at this level, combat is extremely boring. And feels the exact same as Oblivion. Since I listened to someone hyping the combat of this game up so much, I’m now extremely disappointed. I guess Dark Souls and Monster Hunter will have to hold my combat lust in check.

Okay, at this point I’m not happy. I’m not having fun. Everything has been a cascade of bugs, poor game design, or just blatant A.I. stupidity. At least it looks pretty. That’s what really important, right? Oh. Hey, a lock picking mini-game. I know they just decided to steal their work from Fallout, so this should finally be fun. I loved the lock picking minigame in Fallout 3. It was intuitive and noninvasive, and actually made sense. Skyrim found some way to bugger the entire thing up. It’s no longer intuitive and precision control is almost impossible. The thing turns so slowly, you spend about 10 seconds on an attempt just to see if it worked. Which it usually didn’t, because the lock system will freak out if it isn’t in an exact place. Compounding this is the fact I just noticed my HUD is sliced in half on my TV and there are no options to fix that either. Come on Bethesda, I could fix my HUD issues in freaking Modern Warfare, and you won’t let me do it here?

Okay, well, maybe the next…
No. Screw it. I’m done with this game. It’s been one failure after another and I’m not sticking around anymore.  Skyrim lost me in the first hour of gameplay. God, that’s horrible. I hated Dragon Age: Origins and still managed to put about 12 hours in before it’s problems became unbearable. This game is an embarrassment to Bethesda and an insult to console gamers. I’d understand if I was playing PC. Maybe my computer systems are messing something up, or my drivers are causing issues. But this is unacceptable on an Xbox 360, that’s had the exact same hardware for six bloody years, and they still managed to make a buggy unplayable mess. I thought you had QA Bethesda. Was that just for PC for once, or did you just ignore everything they say and whatever anyways?

Run Dragon MJ! Find another, better game!

And before anyone complains, I gave the game to my friend. She played for an hour beyond me and found even worse problems. Houses that didn’t load properly, creating bottomless pits that would drop you over and over for all eternity, or until you reload the game. NPCs that you can wail on from the front and they will never fight back, but suddenly flip out and attack if you hit them once from behind. She’d kill enemies that would instantly glitch through the level geometry, losing any loot and watching bodies fly off. There was one case where a hired hitman came looking for her. Who hired the hitman? The guy she killed 10 minutes ago. So I guess he signed the contract from beyond the grave? Sucks for the hitman, ghost-dollars don’t convert well. Unless that guy got a new body like us. But that’d be too interesting a mechanic, to have something like reincarnation. I even offered to give her the game for free and my friend refused. Neither of us feel the game is worth much of anything.

Bottom line: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the worst game I have played on console. Do not buy this game. Dark Souls handles character creation better, has better combat, and better environments. Go buy Cthulhu Saves the World on PC for better role-playing. And writing. Oh, Dark Souls has better voice acting as well. Or even better, Fallout: New Vegas, which is basically a better, more solid game. Just pretend it’s Skyrim after a bunch of magitech nukes went off. Skyrim is an insult and embarrassment on Bethesda’s part, and not worth anything on Console. If you have to buy this game, get it on PC. At least with computers, fans can hammer out patches to fix this stuff in no time flat. Also as a fair warning, don’t install the game to your console. It will make the game look worse. At least Bethesda is fixing that, right?

I’m going back to my Dark Souls and Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer. Both are way more bang for sixty bucks.

Oh, forgot to mention. Children are immortal. Again. Hope you weren’t trying to roleplay anything evil. Bethesda says no. Now come along to a little place I know, called “Little Lamplight…”