Some Thoughts On Skyrim
On November 11th 2011, I felt truly happy for the first time in quite awhile. Don’t get me wrong, I hadn’t been depressed, or even unhappy, but Skyrim created a feeling in me that was, and forgive me for getting a bit mushy here, blissful. It reminded me of sitting in the cinema, December 2001, and watching Fellowship of the Ring for the first time (the first of six times at a cinema). The anxious feelings of ‘did they muck it up?’, ‘will it be any good?’ and ‘can it live up to my expectations?’. Fellowship left me stunned, Peter Jackson and the wizards at WETA had transformed the pictures conjured by my brain into reality, playing Skyrim was a similar experience.
Popping the disc into my XBOX for the first time, I felt apprehensive. Oblivion, the previous game in the series had been a big part of my gaming life when it came out, I think I put in around 300 hours in all, could Skyrim deliver a similar experience? The game started, I chose my character, a Nord, called Conan, my stock name for all RPG characters, not original, but it has always been this way. Ten minutes in, a Dragon interrupted my execution, twenty minutes in, I was on my way to Riverrun, and I haven’t looked back since. It is truly difficult to explain the feeling that The Elder Scrolls games give you, unless you have played one. Freedom is a big part of it. Bethesda has created a living breathing world, and the player is able to pretty much do what he/she wants. Want to hunt animals in the wild? Go ahead, Skyrim has a lot of game to hunt, deer, elk, bears, wolves, sabre toothed cats, and mammoths. Want to be a dick and rob people? Knock yourself out, but be wary of the guards. You can become an assassin, and woodcutter, an explorer, a mage, a knight, a warrior, a thief, a miner, or just go around punching goats in the face.
The ultimate goal is to save the land from the resurrected dragons, but there are so many other quests and other things to do, that 70 hours in, I’ve barely looked at the main quest. Currently, Conan is a dual ebony axe wielding hero, who is also pretty handy with his dwarven bow, and doesn’t care much for the magical arts. However, if tomorrow I decide Conan should become adept at magic, I just have to use it more, for in Skyrim, skills level up as you use them, in an organic and sensible manner. The dragons are an awesome sight to behold. Walking slowly through the wilderness, a cry is heard from high above, you panic, it’s only natural, and as you scramble your weapons together, the great beast swoops down, you had better be willing to fight. The dragon fights are exciting, well spaced and random, it is amazing when you bring down your first lizard.
The quests are great, yes, basically they are all fetch quests, but they disguise this fact with story details or superior game play. My quest list currently stands at around 50. Now I have tried to clear this numerous times, and just end up with more quests, all of which are worthwhile doing. I could have been more than happy with just Skyrim to play this year, however, I’m greedy and stupid and wanted to play everything, so I’m taking a little break from being the Dovakiin at the moment. But you know what they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder, I’ll be back, I’m just taking a holiday fighting Aliens in Halo, winning the WWE Championship and free running around Constantinople. These other games, which I’m enjoying, feel slightly wrong though, like flirting with a girl who isn’t your girlfriend, I feel bad for ignoring Skyrim, but know that my time away will only make our next date sweeter.
Did I mention that Conan is a werewolf? Actually I think Constantinople will get on fine without me, I feel the call of the wild, goodbye social life, this land won’t save itself.