Category: The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

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-Kat

(it was strange writing in third person)

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The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

As if Skyrim wasn’t awesome enough they went and upped the antee a bit this time. It’s one thing to offer screen, after screen, after gorgeous screen to help entice a user to want to play. It’s something else entirely to say “Let’s pay actual actors to act this out.” Over at Bethesda that did just that. As always we won’t prattle on about the trailer until you take a gander:

The first thought that comes to mind is a resounding “Yes please. Now please. Thank you.” The second thought was “what the hell was in that bucket?” No I mean it, look at what happens 25 seconds in to the live action trailer. I assumed it was water but a bucket of water spilled onto a fire doesn’t cause that kind of a flame up. Apparently in Skyrim people drink nothing but alcohol. But it makes sense really, to properly fight dragons you’re going to need something to take the edge off. Alcohol from the ground might be just what the doctor ordered.

I think at this stage it’s safe to say that those of us who are excited about this could just about spear a dragon with our “excitement” while giggling like a toddler while doing it. While this trailer offers us nothing in the way of new information it does serve to provide additional excitement. It more or less throws “Skyrim water” on the fire.

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Okay, okay.  So we all know how incredibly excited I am for The Elder Scrolls: Skryim to come out.  I literally cried a little when I watched those developer gameplay videos.  So yes, I am ecstatic for Skryim.

However.

You know what?  I’m also a little afraid.  Aside from the obvious ‘My social life is going down the drain for a month or so after Skyrim drops’, there’s another issue here.  Sometimes, I feel like an overwhelmed video gamer.

Oblivion's Open World

Over the river, through the woods... Damn, must've taken a wrong turn somewhere.

What exactly is an overwhelmed video gamer?  Well, since we’re talking Elder Scrolls, let’s take Oblivion, for example.  Oblivion, I’m sure, is a great game.  I own it, in fact.  I just never played very much of it.  Sometimes, when I’m playing a game with a massively open world, I get overwhelmed with the amount of sidequests and optional content there is available.  I get distracted.  I get overencumbered faster than you can accuse my character of stealing.  I feel… almost lost.  Directionless.  With no major push towards the main quest, I can look at the game as a whole and go, “Wow, I can’t see actually finishing this”.  So I don’t.  With Oblivion, you don’t necessarily have to immediately begin doing the main quest.  In fact, it’s very open ended.  Bethesda is adamant about not forcing you into doing the main quest.  But to me, in a way, that can be harder to deal with.

Okay, sooooo... where to next... ?

Bethesda is known for making their games open ended.  In Fallout 3, once you escape Vault 101, you don’t have to follow the main mission you were given.  In fact, you could walk out into that deserted wasteland and immediately being exploring the opposite direction of where you’re vaguely pointed to check out in the main quest.  And this would be perfectly acceptable, welcomed, in fact, by Bethesda.  But to me, a “I’ve gotta finish every single side quest” type of gamer, this is actually overwhelming.  I think it’s easier for me to be pushed in some way towards a main goal, and then side quests and additional content seems more manageable.  In Fallout 3, I can get easily distracted by a new quest that pops up.  Continually starting a new quest and finishing (maybe) 1 in 5 can be frustrating.

On the flip side, I feel that a game like Dragon Age: Origins or Mass Effect 2 balances the amount of drive you’re given towards your main goal in the game and still gives you freedom to go where you want, to complete optional side quests.  Despite the epic proportions of those games, I never felt overwhelmed by the amount of possibilities of where to go next, or of how many side quests I was receiving.

The Elder Scrolls Skyrim Logo

This logo strikes both awe and fear in my heart.

I’m like this in real life as well.  I have a tendency to look at the big picture and get overwhelmed by the whole thing, rather than take it and break it down into manageable chunks.  It can be enough to turn me off from large projects.  I would never make a good project manager.  A college report, for example, could be incredibly stressful for me, because all I could think was, “I need to write HOW many pages?!”.  (By the way, let it be known that I am not currently in college; the example is simply that – an example.)

With Bethesda stating that Skyrim will be loaded with additional content, packed into approximately the same size map as Oblivion, I’m scared of getting that overwhelmed, disoriented feeling.  I don’t want to end up frustrated with how many open quests I’ve started and how few I’ve completed.  Hopefully I can push through and keep playing, because Skyrim is definitely going to be incredible.

Anyone else ever feel like this?

-Kat

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Every time I hear something new about the latest in the Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim, I just keep getting more and more excited for November 11th.  When the new information came out from Gamescom, I nearly screamed with excitement.  Now, with the full 20 minute gameplay video narrated by Skyrim’s game director Todd Howard himself, I can guarantee you, it was (and is) hard to hold back shouts of glee, and cry that it’s not November 11th.  I actually found myself tearing up a bit at how amazing this game looks.

Skyrim Khajiit Male

Let's see: Regal-looking cat-person wielding axe and holding glowing ball of flames? Yeah, I wouldn't mess with him.

First of all, a bunch of pictures were released detailing the Elder Scrolls’ races, and let me say that these characters look incredible.  The detail that goes in to each race (of which there are many) is amazing!  The artists over at Bethesda really deserve commending, because they do great work.  And the graphics in general are incredibly crisp and bright, with running water and shadows being cast appropriately.  I am in love with just the look of Skyrim alone.  I’m a huge sucker for good-looking games, and Skyrim is visually breathtaking.  There’s a very minimalist HUD in the gameplay video, leaving the screen free of excess clutter and nothing to block the incredible vistas.  Which I like.  Once you dive into battle, your health bar is shown on the lower portion of the screen in red, so while you can easily keep an eye on your health, it also doesn’t feel overly intrusive.

One of the gameplay video highlights was the visually dynamic spell casting.  A fireball spell swirls and surrounds an enemy in an appropriately vicious manner.  You can also choose… an uber spell.  Okay, it’s actually called dual wielding.  But if you choose the same spell to dual wield, the result is an upgraded, more powerful version of that spell, and the example shown in the gameplay video slows the action down, focuses in on the magic, and explodes against the victim, similar to a finishing move.  AWESOME.  The Storm Call ‘Shout’, a powerful magical weapon in the game, takes over the screen with dark storm clouds and rain, and lightning bolts down to strike the enemy, in this case a dragon, as it sweeps by.  And it doesn’t end with just one hit; the lightning strikes over and over in intervals, and looks incredibly powerful.

Skyrim Whiterun

The City of Rohan... err, I mean Whiterun. Got my Skyrim and LOTR mixed up.

This may be old news, but it’s worth repeating: there are over one hundred and fifty (that’s 150) hand crafted dungeons in Skyrim, each detailed with care by artists to make them unique.  The world of Skyrim will certainly feel much, much larger on just that fact alone.  Eat your heart out, Dragon Age II.  In terms of size, the physical map size is approximately the same as Oblivion, but Skyrim will be jam packed with more content, more things to do within the map, so again, Skyrim will definitely feel much more expansive.  Oh, you feel like cooking up that meat you just found on an animal you just killed to vary the effects and/or make them more potent?  Cool, have at it.  You’re going to enchant your own weapon?  Do it.  You feel like mining that ore on the wall there to eventually use to make a weapon?  You absolutely should.

Did I mention how insanely awesome everything looks?  Yeah?  Well, it does.  You should watch the gameplay videos below for yourself.  Try not to squeal like a little girl too much.

-Kat

 

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