Onboard for Skyrim

I’m not sure I even mentioned watching the execrable Spike Video Game Awards back in December, a show so horrendous not even the charming Neil Patrick Harris couldn’t save it. While the show was dreadful, however, two things were of enough interest to me to record the thing and fast-forward through the dreck: the recipients of the actual awards, and the reveals of new titles.

At the time, hot on playing through Mass Effects 1 and 2 at around the same time, I was most charged up by the Mass Effect 3 teaser. The other reveals I took much less notice of, even the one for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This past week, though, we got the same trailer, but longer, and with actual in-game footage instead of dull animated bas-relief. To wit:

Please watch in high-def. And note again, this is gameplay video, and it’s about as good as everybody else’s cinematics. That and the music, which is an extremely kick-ass arrangement of the theme from Morrowind and Oblivion, and Max von fucking Sydow doing the voiceover. Oy. Now I’m pumped about it. To be sure, Oblivion had a reputation for crushing one’s system into gravel, so much so that it’s still used for benchmarking to this day. I figure Skyrim, with its all-new graphics engine (every Elder Scrolls game has implemented a different graphics engine,) will do the same.

It’s got me excited enough that I reinstalled Oblivion, which I’d bought on Steam sale in December, and started to fool with it again. We’ve all heard, though, that it plays better with mods, and these have been my undoing, because I’ve been finding clusters of mods that I install, at which point the game stops functioning. I’m giving it another go, though, and I plan to be very picky this time around.

9 responses to “Onboard for Skyrim

  1. I’m about to out myself as a gaming heretic apparently, but I couldn’t get into Oblivion. The problem I had was with the leveling system – it felt more like work to ensure I was maximizing my potential and less like a game. The plot and gameplay otherwise was fine, but this was just something that kept nagging at me as I played through the game. I hope Skyrim has a different take on that system, or unfortunately, I’ll probably pass.

    Very much looking forward to both Dragon Age II and The Witcher II. I much prefer the advancement systems used in their predecessors, or Fallout-style.

  2. I purchased the game last week for the Xbox so can’t be seduced by mods. So far the game is great. Since I bought a used version without instructions i’ve been trodding around in the dark, except for the advice I get from friends who have already finished the game.

    I just wish I had purchased it for the PC when it originally came out instead if waiting years later. Even though it’s an old engine the game looks and runs great. Well I’ve gone on long enough. I am looking forward to Skyrim and will probably pre order it this time.

  3. @Drew: There are mods to fix the leveling in Oblivion, and Bethesda has said flat-out that Skyrim won’t be hobbled by the bizzare balancing act of the previous game.

  4. The way I understand leveling is you work at advancing certain character strengths and by doing that, your character progress in lvl. You don’t have to advance all your traits, just some of them to level up at least that is how it was explained to me. It shouldn’t be hard if you pick a character with traits you like and plan on using a lot of. I picked a Bard and I’m been sneaking, blocking, persuading and using my sword, which are all main traits of my character so my leveling has been pretty easy.

    Maybe as I advance higher it will be tougher, but right now it seems ok to me.

  5. Here’s another thing to ponder alongside the goodness of Skyrim. This new Creation engine Bethesda developed in-house will no doubt be the same engine for the next Fallout. That, in itself, was enough to cause me to shriek like a child at Christmas and wet myself at least 4 times within 12 minutes.
    Wait… am I saying all this OUT LOUD?!

  6. @Oakstout: The issue with the leveling is not so mcuh with the way it works, but in the fact that the whole game world levels up with you, such that at the upper levels every pissant bandit and tavern bully is armed with Stormbringer and wearing armor forged from hell-steel and quenched in the blood of a thousand virgins. Because some of the skills aren’t directly relevant to combat, if you’re specialized in them you can find yourself underpowered after a point.

    Again, there’s mods that fix this; I have a post cooking on this subject.

    @Johnathan: Yeah, and that may get me into the next one, whereas FO3 and New Vegas weren’t interesting enough for me to pick up at full price. They are now near the top of my to-buy list, once I see them on Steam for the price I want to pay.