So, welcome again to another review brought to you by OnesOwnGrief. I’m going to keep this as plain as possible because one of the things about the Elder Scrolls series is that its all about the experience. Welcome to my experience with Skyrim and what will sooner or later turn into what may be a good recollection or a terrible one. Skyrim’s fate after all is in my (or your) hands.
First, lets get down to the feelings beforehand. When Skyrim was first announced, I was ecstatic over the fact that we would be getting another Elder Scrolls game because since owning the Xbox (yeah, not 360). The only reason I ever enjoyed the console were two games alone, Morrowind and KOTOR. When Oblivion dropped, I was one of those people that utterly hated it. To many things didn’t feel right anymore.
Oblivion changed a lot of things from Morrowind that I didn’t quite agree with like the crappy speech system. Didn’t enjoy combat as much in either game. Quest felt empty and the world felt… expansive and still empty. That’s the best way I can explain it. Oblivion failed to do something that Morrowind was able to do within a few hours and that was draw me in. It was pretty to look at though. I could go into greater detail but this isn’t a synopsis of my hate for Oblivion.
Now in 2011, we enter Skyrim. Skyrim is the land of the Nords and a very snowy region in the north of Tamriel. It adds a certain something that seems to have been missing from the previous game. There are varying degrees of climates in which you run into but overall, there’s snow, more snow, and even more snow. At least someone still believes what the hell a winter wonderland is supposed to look like even if said wonderland has plenty of dragons trying to char/freeze my ass. At least its a change of pace from what is usually being presented during the winter season.
Enough of the world, this is supposed to be an experience that is unique to the player so ahead lies tons of spoilers of shit if you didn’t do it. So its you’re fault if you continue to read past this point. Just a fair warning.
Considering the length of my short little adventure, I am going to just throw some quick notes as to what I liked and disliked about the game here.
- Improved Sneaking for those of us that want to remain in the shadows.
- Lockpicking is no longer a headache to level. Doors will be locked once you leave the area.
- Bows can 1 hit kill (YEAH !) so they are now viable for exclusive weapon use. Also they gain a stunning punch for close range.
- The worlds feel more lively than Oblivion since there are more NPCs doing various things but still seem lackluster.
- Dual-Wielding, Dual-Magic, the only thing that they didn’t give me was Dual-Shields and Sword-chucks (totally understandable).
- The challenge Dragons can give in an open area when fighting solo.
- Companions that don’t just randomly attack stuff when I’m sneaking.
- Like how they have done the story so far. Feels more involved.
- The Perks system allows for better customization of my character. Much more than Morrowind/Oblivion. I don’t have to sit here and follow all my stats.
- Enemy leveling isn’t as bad as Oblivion.
- Stealth animation kill. Love slitting throats with mah dagger.
- Signs are changed in my opinion for the better. You just have to find them first and they are interchangeable.
- Weapons are more simplifed and allows more variety in personal weapon choice without having to mess with low skills.
- Nord Women.
- The Speech system is still fairly bad in my opinion. Though simplified, I just feel there’s no real way to skill it up besides buying and selling.
- Dragon fights that happen out of nowhere… with 2+!
- Snow, snow, and more snow.
- Dragon Priests. Krosis in particular.
- The huge multitude of bugs that crept up after playing for 30 hours.
- Dark Elves
My Skyrim Experience
When you first enter the land of Skyrim you find yourself on the back of a Imperial Legion wagon on your way to your execution because you somehow managed to get caught with that prick Ulfric Stormcloak, leader of the rebel faction of Skyrim. Well, what a great first day. I mean, Oblivion had me basically escape jail during the King’s escape from his assassins in the previous game. [Character Creation is done here] After seeing someone head gets lobbed off, you end up being called to the chopping block and your first encounter with a dragon happens and this sets into motion your escape.
Eventually you find your way to the outside world (wooo, freedom) and are with one of two people. You can choose to follow them or split up as per their suggestion. I choose to stick with who I thought may be my would-be companion to a small settlement of Riverwood. That was short lived but at least I made it to the town along with a suggestion to join the Imperial Legion. Sure, join the people who just nearly took my head off, no today. Though I may be totally standoffish about joining them, the city does need help so I ventured to Whiterun to speak with the Jarl.
So I set out on my way to Riverwood, I traveled around this mountain and eventually found myself out of forest into expansive fields. I have now reached a farm, well a brewery I believe it was, but Whiterun is across the plain. While I walk up to the city, I encounter a group fighting a Giant. From the size of the giant, I knew I was gonna hate exploration. Helped out the group of take down the giant and I converse with them about some group called the Companions located in Whiterun. Oh well, not the fighting type so I continue off to see the Jarl.
After reaching Whiterun, talked with the Jarl after beening rudely greeted by a Dark Elf I wanted to run through with my sword. I think that may be a remnant of how populated Morrowind was with Dark Elves. I’ve hated them a fair bit since then. After a winded talk with the Jarl, I ended up going to see his mage who in turn sends me out on a fetch quest. Why can’t MAGES ever get their own crap? So again, setting out.
Found this damnable dungeon, killed a few bandits, solved couple of puzzles. Was pleasantly surprised with how the last door’s puzzle was placed (talk about using your new features) and grabbed what I needed to head back. So that didn’t take much work and when I return to the Jarl’s castle/keep/whatever, a dragon decides to attack some fort in the distance. Jesus -F, Christ… My first encounter with fighting a dragon was about to start.
After all their rambling, we set out to the fort. Yes, we, as in a group of people. I’m not alone, for now! The fort is laid in ruin with clear evidence it was attacked. We find a single survivor who warns us that the dragon is still out there. Cue the roar, me turning around and pulling out my bow, and head back out to the field. Looking up I see the thing fly by and for once in a game I may have had my “Oh shit” movement in an RPG.
Eventually we fell the dragon, I end up absorbing its spirit and learned my first shout. I am now discovered to be a Dragonborn. Well, are I not special or what? Screwing around a bit killing animals in the fields I find my way back to Whiterun and explain the situation. I am given the title of Thane and given a body guard of sorts. She’s not bad considering she’s in steel and looked durable so I took her along. Need someone to hold the rest of my crap right?
This has now turned into the adventure of two. Bethesda actually did a decent job on the hirelings this time around and they feel even more like an integral part of the game. The different weight system in place still doesn’t allow for all the space you would hope and the fact you can outfit your hireling and have them carry just about anything for you is a total bonus. Most of the next hours were me just exploring with my companion and checking out the landscapes.
After a while of harvesting and making equipment I figured out where the stables were to travel between cities. Yes, I totally didn’t see it when I walked up to Whiterun for the first time… or the second time… or the third. -_- Anyways, I figured out how to navigate the world at a quicker pace and I eventually found myself in Riften. Riften eventually led me to the Thieves Guild which I promptly joined cause it was close to my own taste. Riften was also where I ran into a little conflict that led me down a later path.
As I was exploring near the outskirts of Riften, I was going to rest for a bit but apparently there was an enemy near by so I had to scope out area. I soon happened upon an argonian looking around. I mean, seriously looking like he lost something and was searching for it. Come to find out his search was for me. Killed him, looted the corpse, and found a note from the Dark Brotherhood that some has paid to have me killed. Me, being the vengeful bastard I am, I went in search of them for answers.
Eventually I hear news of some kid trying to summon the Dark Brotherhood so I went and looked into it. The kid, who I said nothing to, thought I was one of these Dark Brotherhood members. I figured, if I am to find them, I must go through with this and murder this person the kid wants killed. I fulfilled the request and was later met by a Courier with a note. All it stated was “We know” with a hand print. Okay, clearly someone is going to be after me.
Eventually I set off to home and had to rest. Been adventuring for a while so I naturally of course head home to unload some stuff in order to make space for future finds. Also, Bethesda has changed it to where if you rest on a bed (especially if its one you own), you will gain exp bonuses on skills as you develop them. I welcome this change considering that you can level anywhere when you gain the level. After resting I ended up being kidnapped by the Dark Brotherhood and awake at this cabin to a slim feminine figure talking to me.
At this point I had two options I asked myself. I could kill this woman who sent someone to have me killed or I could play along and root it from the inside out. There was only one thing going through my mind at the point and I think this following picture summarizes everything. You can pretty much assume what happened next. Welcome to my initiation into the Dark Brotherhood. What a ragtag bunch we had here though. We have ourselves an Argonian, a Dark Elf, a Nord, some werewolf guy, and a small vampire child.
So I did what I had to do, rose up in the ranks in the Dark Brotherhood and traveling all over Skyrim to the where I ended up becoming the leader of the whole shebang. Yeah, that’s right, nobody kills better than I can in the land of Skyrim. Doing so leads me to a new mechanic that shows up in Skyrim. The infinite quest generation system. At least for the Dark Brotherhood, it seems lackluster. I admit its a way to gain money but I would have liked something a little more elaborate. I guess one bonus was that I gained my own base, with a torture room and some hirelings.
From here on I ended up just going back to exploring the world figuring out what else to do next and hitting some mines for materials. At this point I have been to ever corner of Skyrim so the entire land was my oyster to do with what I pleased and I can attest that nobody, and I mean nobody, in this game could detect me either if I was sneaking around.
There were a few moments while exploring where I thought I was going to seriously die but I ended up being pleasantly greeted by the changes to the environment and the world around you. Many of which happened to involved dragon coming out of practically nowhere to eat me. I seriously think they were targeting me but eventually it seemed like they were just another part of the world that you ran into.
I was in Dawnstar at one point and one thing that bothered me was a dragon attack on the city. The guards of the city did join the fight but I was surprised at the fact that they would come into the city though there is no gate. It was a fair change and gave dragons an even more terrifying presence. The same happened in Whiterun (walled city) later that day while I was playing. Those were definitely moments where I could use the are to my advantage to fight these dragons.
There was another moment that was more of me testing the limits of the AI because I was either damned if I do or damned if I don’t. I was happening upon a giant camp and wanted to sneak past it in the middle of a forest. I know I wasn’t going to win in a straight up fight with a giant nor was my companion. I successfully managed to sneak past it (though I hear they wont initially just rush you either as long as you don’t enter aggro range) and right after that a dragon swoops down. This lead to the dragon fighting the giant who managed to handle it with ease. A second dragon came during that fight as well which managed to see the defeat of all 3 of my problems. I was quite please with how enemies (even human ones) tend to focus on fighting the dragon if you managed to be fighting it close by.
After all this, I ended up figuring out how to get married and married a Temple of Dibella woman who was all I could dream of. She makes me meals, encourages me, and even gives me money but there is one major problem with all that… SHE STAYS ALL THE WAY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD. At which point did me stating “Lets, move into my house” did it say you could remain all the way over in another city. I don’t like having to travel to find my woman. Other than that, its been good. Had plenty of adventures and many more to come. Maybe I should get started on that main story. Either way, I believe this one is a keeper and may pull me from my bias towards Morrowind.