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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

New Skyrim Info Bursts Out Of QuakeCon
by Joe Juba on Aug 04, 2011 at 08:15 AM
Platform Switch, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher Bethesda Softworks
Developer Bethesda Softworks
Rating Mature

Time seems to slow down when you're excited for a big game, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim feels like an eternity away. To help fill the long hours until Skyrim's November release, here are some brand-new details straight out of the QuakeCon demo of Bethesda's sprawling RPG.

Reiner is our man on the show floor at QuakeCon, and he just passed on a few interesting details from the 45-minute hands-on demo of Skyrim being shown. He was watching several editors play at once, so the details are scattershot. Come back to read his hands-on impressions tomorrow.

Players started out the demo in the character creator, where Reiner glimpsed a few of the 10 races included in the game, including the Nords, three varieties of elves, and Khajiit. The tools available for tweaking the look of your character are much more robust, so like Tiger Woods you should be able to create a rough approximation of your mug if you so choose. This is where you name your character as well, and adhering to Elder Scrolls tradition your character's default name is Prisoner.

Once players exited the character creator, they found themselves with their hands bound wearing tattered rags for clothing, and limping through a gloomy cave. For the sake of the demo, however, the players were freed from their chains and given a healthy selection of gear, including iron armor, several swords, and a bow. On the magic front, players had access to a healing spell and a destructive fireball spell.

Emerging from the cave gave everyone a new breathtaking view of Skyrim's expansive world. The environment immediately outside of the cave is a lush forest. The attention to detail in this region is staggering; both the high canopies and dense foliage make you truly feel like you are in a giant forest. Some players chose to interact with the flora, raiding a beehive for honey combs and picking mushrooms. Others moved straight into combat.

When a strange, imp-looking forest creature approached, the battle began. Judging by the performances of the players, this enemy is not to be underestimated. Many went for the standard Oblivion tactic of shooting fireballs while backpedaling to soften up the oncoming attacker. Unfortunately, the imp creature's closing speed cut off this strategy from the get go. The fights were physical and draining, with several players coming to the brink of defeat only to cast a healing spell at the last minute.

Many chose to play in the standard first-person perspective, but the impressive third-person drew most of Reiner's attention. The characters move much more fluidly than in past Elder Scrolls games, as new animations like naturally reaching for a bow and arrow indicate. Reiner says this may be the first Elder Scrolls game in which he stays in third person.

One person in the demo stumbled upon a solitary cabin amidst the forest, but its tenants – two charred corpses laid next to a smoldering firepit – were too dead to offer proper hospitality. Another player found a small, rundown village consisting of a handful of buildings. Though not as bustling as a big city, here you could converse with NPCs. One player asked the blacksmith if he could borrow his tools and did some crafting.

Unfortunately dragons never made an appearance during the demo, but even without the menacing beasts or a dedicated mission to follow, Skyrim shines. This game looks very far along in development, and has the current level of polish is a great sign that this game will be ready to go on November 11.

For more Skyrim, check out my impressions from E3, or these screenshots, or a month of exclusive features from when we first revealed the game.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrimcover

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Switch, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
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