Tag Archive: Bethesda

A Real Look Into Skyrim

So, just to get this out-of-the-way, this is not a review. Trolls will be aggressively purged with napalm for neglecting that line. I’ve played about 9 hours into Skyrim and have absolutely no desire to continue playing. If you’d like to know why, and what I think Skyrim does well (yes, there is praise), then read on. If you want a pat on the back for buying Skyrim, you’ll have to look else where. Now, ready to get into it? Cool, so for starters, lets see what Skyrim does well. There are a couple of things I really enjoy and wish more devs do, but being nice isn’t as fun as being caustic, so let’s get that out-of-the-way.

First off, the world in Skyrim is incredible. This is what Open World design should be. The world feels vibrant and has multiple biomes with actual transitions. None of this stupid crap where you walk over a designated line and suddenly the entire world changes appearance, down to the point you can follow the texture changes on the ground. If you’ve ever played or seen someone play Burning Crusade, you know how stupid this can look and how jarring it can be. Skyrim’s world looks like a complete world without any obvious breaks, and has plenty of rivers, mountains, swamps, and forests to break up the landscape and make a living, breathing world. Graveyards and cavern/dungeon areas further add to the exploration aspects and give the player a desire to stay off the beaten path and explore for various rewards and loot. For Skyrim’s world design, I’ve got nothing but praise.

Seriously, this world is gorgeous.

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A Look Into Skyrim

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?
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Side Job: Horror

I’ve been thinking about the new Elder Scrolls game coming out, and thinking back to another couple of Bethesda’s games I’ve realized what might be a trend. While I know it’s too late for Skyrim, I can still hope for the best for that and future games. What exactly am I referring to? Why, the horror section of course! Oh don’t play coy. You know there is one in virtually every rpg ever designed. That one level or area created to evoke a sense of fear or terror. Most of them fall flat on their ass, for a multitude of reasons. My example for today is going to be the one and only Vault 22 of Fallout: New Vegas fame. It was a Vault I personally loved, for a little while at least. Needless to say, there will be spoilers. You’ve been warned.

Ambiance: This is probably the single hardest part of any little horror based section to get right. Go too far one way and the play might swing right out of fear and into amusement. Not far enough and the player won’t even notice. It has to be subtle, but noticeable. The music in Vault 22 played a large roll in what made it feel alien. There wasn’t anything truly noticeable. The sound wasn’t trying to fight for attention. Every few seconds it would be slightly over taken  by the sound of something moving, usually behind you. I’d argue that particular sound effect was used on too short a loop, but it worked good for awhile. Every single time I heard that I’d  flip around, shotgun at the ready to find… nothing. It’s unnerving at times. Likewise, the zone was really well designed. Flora that hid the monsters (and we’ll get to them soon), particles in the air, overgrowths of plants around. That’s good, it felt like truly being alone. The monsters were well paced to keep from becoming too predictable. The atmosphere was done well, and one of the high points of the area.

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Elder Scrolls: The Old and New

So there is a new Elder Scrolls title just around the corner, and I am finding myself more and more sadly optimistic. I remember my time spent on the last game, Oblivion, roaming the country side and being murdered by wolves. Always wolves, you’d think there would be a roaming band of hunters formed or something to keep wandering adventurers safe. After talking with a friend, I decided to do a quick run down of things from Oblivion that really stuck out in my mind after all this time and things I would like to see for Skyrim when it releases. Some of these things may have already been confirmed by Bethesda and it’s slipped my, but if that’s the case then hey, I just got one point off the wish list fulfilled. Speaking of…

Wish List- Things I’d personally like to see in the next game:
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