The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

My Favorite Things About Skyrim
by Joe Juba on Jun 08, 2011 at 06:50 AM
Platform Switch, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher Bethesda Softworks
Developer Bethesda Softworks
Rating Mature

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the year's biggest games, in terms of both scope and anticipation. As someone who has poured hundreds of hours into the Elder Scrolls, I understand the excitement. While lots of things about Skyrim sound cool, here are a handful of moments that struck me as particularly awesome when I saw Bethesda's upcoming RPG in action.

Shouts Look Like Fun
I love playing mages, and with the addition of Dragon Shouts, the magic system in Skyrim looks to provide even more options. Even though I think the concept of yelling as a weapon is dumb, I can't argue with the results I saw in the demo. From breathing fire to calling down a storm (not just a tiny one; it covered sky as far as I could see), these abilities promise to add some awesome options to combat.

The monstrous creatures roam the world in Skyrim and act as the boss fights for the game. I saw the hero square off against two of these things, and it doesn't look like they pull any punches. They soar overheard, breathe fire, and look like they can completely wreck you if you aren't prepared. 

Radiant Story?
This is one of those things that sounds too good to be true. The locations of various quests and plot points can change based on the things you've done and the people you've talked to. In other words, if you've missed a cool dungeon, the game can move your quest activity to that area...though those tasks might be elsewhere if you already explored that particular dungeon. It will be difficult to see how exactly this plays out without getting extended hands-on time, but I'm excited about the possibilities.

Who likes menus?
As much as I love Oblivion, the interface isn't exactly elegant. Once you start getting lots of items and spells, navigating the menus is a sluggish. In Skyrim, the team is clearly trying to minimize the time players spend in the menus, with a cleaner layout and the ability to set various options as favorites for easy access.

Messing With People
With the ability to dual wield spells, I see the hero equip Detect Life and Frenzy. First he casts Detect Life, which displays the aura of two hostile guards standing by a tower (one of which is inside). Then he casts Frenzy on the one outside, which causes the guard to go berserk. He quicklky runs inside and out of view, but I see the two auras clash behind the tower wall, and then one of them fades out. I love taking enemies out like this instead of straight melee combat.

Riding Horses Looks Better
While I loved my horse in Oblivion, I was less fond of the way it actually controlled and moved thorughout the world. From the small bit of horseback time I saw today, I feel like that concern is being well addressed in Skyrim. No word on whether you'll be downloading any horse armor this time around, though.

Third-Person Is Still There
To be clear: I never play Elder Scrolls games in third-person. I think they look weird and feel even worse from that perspective. However, some people clearly like playing that way, the team continues trying to refine this control scheme for the (probably few) people that use it. I swear I'm not being sarcastic when I say I like this; I've been known to play Oblivion in some strange ways, and I'm glad Bethesda keeps its fans' bizarre tastes in mind.

So, that's my perspective on what I saw. I can't wait until November so I can start uncovering even more folds in the gameplay. While we're waiting, though, don't forget to check out these new screens and visit our hub for even more Skyrim info.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Switch, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
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