Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Now Playing: The Elder Scrolls V

I don’t want people to think I dislike Skyrim. I do like it, but I’m also rather disappointed by it. I guess I was expecting more from it, not in terms of the amount of content, because Skyrim is packed full of it, but in terms of the quality and variety of that content.

When I think about many of the features in the game (graphics, combat, magic, stats, quests etc), I struggle to consider them in any other terms than ‘they do the job’. They’re not bad or anything, they’re just, well, average or okay at best. And when you combine all these elements, the game, overall, is good. I found it a really enjoyable, addictive experience. In fact, I’ve clocked more than 200 hours in the game since release and I’m sure I’ll double that thanks to the extensive modding community and future DLC.

In terms of value for money, Skyrim was an excellent purchase. So I do like Skyrim. I think, overall, it’s very good and I’d certainly recommend it, but I’d hesitate before calling it great. One of my major issues is the quests in the game. I found the main quest line pretty bland and uninspired and the guild quest chains are extremely disappointing.

The Civil War chain is more interesting in terms of story but not in execution. The world is vast and fairly varied but the locations quickly become repetitive. Less is sometimes more, and I would have happily settled for half the number of dungeons if they offered a greater variety of design. Your actions also feel incredibly meaningless within the world, as NPCs show zero reaction to your status within it and nothing ever changes.

There are no consequences to any major decisions. The world remains static throughout. I should also touch upon the combat. It certainly does the job, but it all feels rather basic. There’s very little nuance or depth to the combat. In fact, there’s very little depth to most of the game and I think that’s my real issue with it. Everything feels incredibly simplified and superficial.

As I said, I think Skyrim is a good game but it feels like it could have been so much more and that’s what disappoints me. I probably shouldn’t have started playing it again though because it’s really going to put a dent in my efforts to whittle down my backlog.


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