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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

A New Beginning

We’ve had a lot of Skyrim coverage lately, and for good reason: It’s kind of a big deal. Few developers do open-world games as well as Bethesda, and the Elder Scrolls series has a huge following. At Gamescom today, Bethesda’s Pete Hines took the controller and gave us an hour-long look at what Skyrim has to offer.

While I’ve seen demos of the game before, this was the first time that I’ve had a chance to see a character built from scratch. I was a little surprised to see how quickly the process can go. Unlike previous versions of the game, where you have to navigate through options such as your character’s birthsign and skills immediately, your main task in Skyrim is to choose your race, gender, and appearance. Every character starts off with a couple of spells—an offensive fire spell and a healing spell—and you can choose to continue along that path or focus on weapons-based combat.

After a short walk through an underground passage, our female Khajiit was free to explore the world of Skyrim. We walked down a path, picking up flowers along the way. The game’s world is gorgeous. The snowy mountains and pine forests were a nice departure from the beautiful but bland world of Oblivion.

Eventually, she came upon a mine, which was guarded by a bandit. After fending him off with an ax, she stripped his corpse of loot and his shabby armor, and ventured inside.

Hines says that the development team wanted to make sure that every dungeon in Skyrim had its own personality and didn’t feel the same—another of Oblivion’s faults. That means that players will encounter different puzzles, traps, and architecture in different lairs. In this case, a shackled skeleton hung near the entrance, with a backpack at his feet. Reading a note from inside, we learned that the deceased was once a fisherman. While looking for a new fishing spot, he learned of this mine, which was supposedly haunted by creatures who stole children. Whatever was in there, it didn’t seem to like him.

Moving deeper in the mine, Abby, our character, picked off bandits with her bow, and demonstrated the effectiveness of dual-wielding melee weapons. While she couldn’t block as she held a sword and ax, enemies rarely lasted long enough while facing her flurries of attacks to make it much of an issue.

One of the treasures she found while exploring was a tome that teaches a clairvoyance spell. Hines says that this is a low-level spell that anyone can learn that will come in handy for explorers. If you’re looking for an NPC for a mission or are trying to find a way across a mountain, casting the clairvoyance spell creates a glowing path for your character to follow.

Abby also found some ore and ingots, which she took to a series of smithing stations to make a sword.

Eventually, we came upon the source of those horrible rumors: necromancers. These magic users are deadly when they’re in groups. If you kill one, their partners are likely to resurrect them if you’re not fast enough. Sure enough, Abby had to kill several of the foes multiple times before they fell for the last time. Looting one of the corpses, Abby found a staff that summoned a wolf companion.

After working our way back out through the passageways, our bulging inventory made one thing clear: This beginner-level dungeon should probably be one of the first stops you make when you play the game on November 11.

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  • HAH! FIRST!!! Erhrm-anyway,this sounds pretty cool,Ive been a TES fan since I picked up Morrowind a few years back,and promptly waisted no time in finding its DLC,same with Oblivion. I just love these games. When Skyrim comes out...sigh-buhbye social life.
  • Man i cannot wait to play this game.. this will take up about 60 to 70% of my time for the next yr or so. Bethesda, you are beast!. just make sure there arent as many bugs as there were in previous titles please. cough vegas cough.
  • As if they couldn't make necromancers MORE annoying, oh well now they'll be twice as satisfying to hack into itty bitty unresurrectable pieces:)

  • November is too far away. I know I'm going to fall of the face of the earth when I finally get to play this game!

  • This sounds seriously awesome. Every bit of news is good news when it involves Skyrim! I'm looking forward to spending the first hour of the game experimenting with the character creation. If you're going to spend 100+ hours with the same character, make sure you like the way that character looks!! :)
  • Dual wielding sounds fun. Although, I bet you'll begin to see the negative side of dual wielding when you can't block enemies that aren't so easily bested.

  • I'm surprised you can't block while dual-wielding. That is quite unrealistic. Dual-wielding actually increases your defense, as you now have twice as much steel with which to block opponents' attacks.

  • Awesome - just flat out awesome...  I'm going to need to take some time off from work in November for this one...

  • No blocking when dual wielding? That sucks!

  • I kinda figured you couldn't block while dual weilding. It's still a great combo to try I'm sure though. But this sounds amazing, and I'm 100% glad that they changed up the dungeons a bit. After playing Oblivion for so long, I could almost run the Ayleid ruins through with my eyes closed.

  • I am hoping for plenty of time off to play this game. Thank you uncle sam for the vacation.


  • Only 2 short months. It's a good thing there are so many great games between then and now, and games I still have to get through that released recently. But all will be put away come the 11th of November.

  • I wonder how many of the people who say they are fans of elder scrolls have been playing since the original Arena. They made a little hint to it in oblivion and I couldn't believe how many people asked me about it. The way this company has built this franchise. I will stand by any Elder Scroll game, and Bethesda for that matter. Keep up the great work and continue to push the envelope for open world RPG's.

  • It's a good thing my roommate and I have our own Xbox. Otherwise there would be much fighting and less sharing when this comes out. : )

  • All I have to say to this is: Wow!