November 26, 2011

Summed Up: My "Little" Skyrim Review

To start I just have to say that I'm so impressed with Bethesda Softworks ability to provide a truly satisfying 'vanilla' game this time around.  That being said I can go on to expunge my extensive exploration of Skyrim and it's numerous dungeons.

Before I started modding the game I took it as it was, a breathtaking adventure of monumental proportions. I started out as a humble Argonian prisoner of war and then blossomed into a death defying terror of unimaginable power. I will go into more detail providing screens of actual gameplay from my earliest stage to my latest.
aw, look at how cute and weak he is
For starters I was being carted to a town called Helgen to be beheaded. Pretty grim for a beginning, but events soon spiral out of control as a dragon descends and causes all hell to break loose. In the confusion I escaped and made my way through the tutorial dungeon, which was actually rather smooth and easy to traverse. In the future I'm hoping for a mod that skips all of this, anyway I digress.  After escaping and getting used to things I made my way to the town of Riverwood. Here I was able to get better armor, and weapons.  I immediately set out to explore the surroundings, completing a few sidequests and getting more loot. I also did this;
got my first Dragon Word and slew this dude
Combat is pretty badass If you don't mind my saying. Compared to oblivion things are a lot more interesting when in a fight. Sneaking is totally different, traps are deadlier, and enemies are smarter. Magic is pretty awesome too, I really get the sense that I'm using raw power when I shoot a spell at my foes.

The world is just breathtaking, here are some screens illustrating my point, and the crazy thing is this is just a small sampling of what is in the world to be seen.


















































Yeah, this is just a sample of all that I've seen.  Currently I'm coming up on Level 46, and I've slain 13 dragons,  the first dragon was a piece of cake, then they got progressively harder. I've died several times, which led me to scale the difficulty down to novice level, and it's still really hard! I've made my own Elven Armor, Glass Armor, and finally Dragon Scale Armor.  I've only maxed out one skill; Smithing, but I'm proficient at stealth, lockpicking, one handed, and light armor. I'm a sneaky bastage who occasionally uses magic.  I've recovered several Daedric artifacts, and am to proud member of the Thieves guild and Dark Brotherhood. I have this sweet set of armor from finishing the Thieves guild quest line, which looks like this;
I look so freaking awesome
I've mastered several dragon shouts, my most favorite is the Unrelenting Force, which pushes foes with a gust of powerful wind. It's especially fun to use up on high structures or cliffs to force opponents off and hurtling towards the ground.  I've visited 100+ locations in the world, delved into half as many dungeons and defeated everything in them to boot. The really cool thing is that I've barely scratched the surface. I haven't even done the main quest all that far, and I'm already a force to be feared and revered. I have yet to be married, or become a vampire or werewolf. There are still hundreds of sidequests, and epic treasure to be found. Skyrim is so flipping huge, on the surface and internally, it's truly a magnificent spectacle of good game design. Bravo Bethesda!

A great deal can be said for the story as well, it's never very clear what is making dragons come back to life, but you suspect it has something to do with you being Dovakhiin, (dragonborn).  Also, other aspects of the world are shrouded in mystery. There are numerous crypts which are inhabited by ancient nord Draugr, which are undead, but much more difficult to defeat than the standard zombie fare of Oblivion. I thought that I would be bored of this game by now, but I'm not even close. There's so much to do and see. You could go through the entire game hardly fighting anything if you wanted to. I don't know what else to say except that this game has destroyed every bad feeling I had for Bethesda in the past. I expect that the next Fallout game will be twice as amazing as Skyrim is.

Now even though I love the Vanilla game there are a few things that I think could be improved upon, like not being able to wear more than one ring, or certain items weighing too much, for that I turned to the modding community on skyrimnexus.com. They already have a growing library of various mods for the game. In my opinion Skyrim is best suited to the PC for this reason alone. If you're not one to really care about mods you can happily play this game on the PS3 or 360 and never be unhappy about it. I expect that some things will change with patches and fixes in the future, the UI is rather terrible on the PC as it is, but on the consoles I believe it's very intuitive.

The PC version takes advantage of your video card.  When I first ran it the launcher suggested I run the game at ultra settings, with x16 in Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering. This proved to be very good, for a while. I suspect that the game has numerous flaws when it comes to utilizing GPU RAM and system RAM, i.e. memory leaks, because after a while I experienced screen tearing and FPS slowdown.  So I scaled it down a bit, downloaded a custom ENB graphics .ini for Skyrim and haven't had many issues since.  There have been instances of CTD (crash to desktop) with out warning, but that comes standard with any Bethesda product. I don't blame them for this occasionally happening, because the game is so huge, there's bound to be errors in it. Besides, they will be fixed sooner or later.

Anyway, here are some more awesome screenshots of me killing my first dragon in the game. Enjoy!















 Awww yeah, this game is flipping sweet!  Btw, enjoy this metal cover of the theme.





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