Monday, November 28, 2011

Thoughts on Skyrim

I was going to have a more exciting title up there, but I thought what the fuck, let's get down to business here. Skyrim is a gigantic game, and pretty much all I've been playing for the last few days (I hit the eighty hour mark last monies worth? definitely.) I will admit, I do not have much of a history with the series, my RPG needs usually filled by the ones that come out of the other side of the planet (Read: Final Fantasy, Pokemon, stuff like that), but since getting a decent PC rig together I've come to appreciate the differences from a good western RPG.

Where to begin, I wonder. The thing about Skyrim is, you can't really make a decent comment on the story. Every character will start in the same place, sure, but after that it's what you do that decides how the rest of the game will play out. There are certain plot points that could stand as similar experiences for everyone, but usually you are given free reign to do what you will. Most of the time.

No one is going to be able to kill the first dude that helps you out, which I found out after an unfortunate "accident" involving a bear and some fire. I set him on fire and he just kinda flopped around on his knees for a bit before standing up.

In a game where the majority of the NPCs are able to be killed though, do a couple of invincible ones break the game? I personally don't think so, it's the safer way to make sure that the player has something to do most of the time. Could it have been done better? Perhaps, although I can't think of a way that would be cost effective in terms of code.
My first level up looked a little like this. But the Deer was dead.
Instead of having defined character classes, the skills that you use define your character. The more you hit things with an axe, the better you get at hitting people with an axe. The same applies to magic and selling things and everything. So I guess what I'll do is tell you about my personal Skyrim experience (which most of the best reviews have done anyway).

My first character started off as one I didn't plan on getting attached to. I made an Imperial lady who looked angry all the time and was at the maximum end of the weight slider (which weirdly governs how muscular you are, not how chubby) I tried a little bit of everything at first, but slowly I got to leaning more toward the stealthy side of things. Even though I was wearing heavy armor, I could line up stealth kills with arrows if I was careful enough, and when things turn to shit, she became super good at using two one handed weapons to whirl through enemies like a dervish of death dealing.

What's that over there? ADVENTURE!
I'm also going to try my hardest to not spoil major questlines for people, so intentionally vage commentary follows.

I was having a good time helping people out, doing the main questline at a snails pace and levelling my smithing with a dude who is the best smith in Skyrim. But where I have had the most fun with my first character is the Thieves Guild. At first I wanted to be a "good" person, no stealing, no killing innocent people. But there is a certain thrill in sneaking through a bandit camp, pickpocketing their leader who's asleep in her bed, and then looting their entire treasury without anyone even knowing you're there.

That threw my whole no stealing thing out the window...then I started with the Dark Brotherhood...and man...those guys are twisted. Then that threw the whole no killing innocents out the window too. Sure, the majority of the marks that you get are kind of bad people, but some of them aren't...evil. Just mean. Or in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And that's what I like, my character went from a hero to...something else. She gets the job done, but still leans more toward the Thief than the Assassin.

Shhhh, sleeeeeep.
The main questline though, with its Dragons... to be honest I could use a little less of them. The first ones are tough as nails, and before you get their pattern down they are tricky. But then, that's all they are, patterns. Like any boss fight, once you work them out they lose their difficulty. Plus...once they land I can literally kill a dragon in three seconds. I showed my sister who is playing a mage-y character that once and she swore at me like a sailor on shoreleave.

And the horses. Shit man, don't get me started on the horses. They are crazy bastards, who will throw themselves at badguys with no regard to their own safety. And I have lost so many to fall damage now that it's silly. And it wouldn't be so bad if they weren't 1000 gold each.

Slight spoiler, I did manage to get a special horse as part of a questline who is actually useful in that she is much stronger than a regular horse, so doesn't die as easily. And that made a difference. But then she died thanks to glitch that moved her exactly 200 yards to the left once I dismounted. That 200 yards happened to place her in the air on the side off the side of the mountain we had just galloped up so of course, she falls to her death.

Buggy Infinite Dragons? Yes.
Oh, the glitches. I have seen flying mammoths, Dragons that don't give me their souls, floating people, a bug in the main questline that took ages for me to fix.

But in spite of all of that, I have had fun. It's a sandbox that I really enjoy playing in, and I am pretty sure I have at least a couple more playthroughs left in it before I am thoroughly sick of the snowy province of Skyrim. But first of course, theres that main questline to finish... after I help end the civil war...and maybe do some more Guild quests...perhaps level my enchanting...

Oh, and those helmets are everywhere! I was a little sad about that.

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