Monday, November 21, 2011

Why Skyrim isn't perfect, but it's pretty damn close.

If you open your Skyrim box and remove the carefully folded map - which, unfortunately, as with all maps, you'll have to thoroughly unfold thus meaning you'll never be able to fold it to fit back into the box every again - you'll notice what appears to be a small piece of sellotape in the top right hand corner. This is holding a very small piece of thread in place. This is important - despite its small size the thread is constructed from one of the strongest materials known (shy of the membrane of your average racist that stops reasonable thought getting through from the outside world) and you will need this whilst playing the game. You know the disbelief you've been experiencing whilst playing it? This thread can be carefully used to suspend said disbelief, and you'll need it a lot. What do you mean it's not in your box? Should have got the Collectors Edition which also ships with a robot double that you can send to work so you can happily keep on playing Skyrim.

Holy shit. Where'd my head go?
A week in it is apparent that Skyrim is still brilliantly addictive and utterly absorbing, but occasionally - just occasionally - the technology can't live up to the ambitiousness the developers were aiming for. A weird quirk (such as a graphical glitch or the like) will suddenly send you kicking and screaming out of FantasyWorld and into the mystical land of "What the hell?". But you quickly learn the oddities and anomalies of the world, and they almost become a feature of the game. Every inhabitant of Skyrim must simply be used to the way the world works, although to be fair they don't seem to have very good memories anyway.


BISKIT CRABSBANE: (the player): Good evening, shopkeep!  Prithee and verily to thee, etc. May I enquire as to what wares you can provide me with?
HÈNN REESCAT: (the computer controlled shopkeeper): Hail, adventurer! We have a variety of wares but first let me tell you about some bandit trouble we've been (skip conversation). They hail from the mountains of (skip conversation). They took my wife not three days back and shoved a halberd right up her (skip conversation). And this hernia, it's become a right (skip conversation).
BISKIT CRABSBANE: Oh, you've finished. Right. I'll have two potions of minor healing, a potion of resist cold - Ooh, Lemsip. I'll also take a silver breastplate and that magical torc you have. Here is my hard earned gold that I've mostly found by rummaging through dead peoples pockets, sometime stooping as low as gathering it from funeral urns, for some reason.
HÈNN REESCAT: Fare thee well, adventurer! Have a nice day! Come back soon!
BISKIT CRABSBANE: Ah, I appear to be carrying too much stuff to actually move out of your shop. I'll just sell you some of this stuff and will just drop the low value stuff on your floor so I can actually walk. I trust you're okay with that?
HÈNN REESCAT: Fare thee well, adventurer! Have a nice day! Come back soon!
BISKIT CRABSBANE: Riiiiiight. Bye then.

It might just be me, but shops tend to end up with their floors scattered with random unwanted shit. Why the hell did I pick up those two tankards and that broom anyway?

"I'm on a horse. A flying horse. Over which I appear to have no control."
BISKIT CRABSBANE: Excellent. My goal is now in sight. I've managed to emerge in what is clearly the end room of this dungeon in good time. My companion is still somewhere near the entrance after he didn't seem to be able to navigate over a rock I happily leapt over, but at least that stopped him triggering every single trap on the way from there to here. If I just step out into the centre of the room then...
DREADLORD GUBBINS: Demonic laughter! Aha! Who dares spoil my sleep, the sleep of the dead? For three thousand years I have (skip conversation). My powers are vast and (skip conversation). You shall not wrest from me The Sword Of Powerful Capital Letters this day because (skip conversation).
BISKIT CRABSBANE: Oh, you've finished. Right. I'm popping a Flame Atronach in yo' ass! And spending mere seconds drinking loads of resist cold, resist fire and various combat related potions! Because I've learned loads of magic and stuff just by briefly glancing at the first page of some books! Flame on!
DREADLORD GUBBINS: Shitehawks! I appear to have found myself unable to actually move around this piece of scenery. You best play fair and not take advantage of me standing perfectly still and not being able to attack you by - Ow! Owwww! You bloody cheat! Owww! (dies)
BISKIT CRABSBANE: Aha! I am victorious! And I will pilfer your stuff and find a lever which will open a door to the outside world. Be nice if I'd found that before and it actually opened from the outside. Still, I'm sure you had a perfectly good reason for installing it. All you Dreadlords seem to be mad keen on them.

But despite the bugs and the glitches? It's still brilliant. You end up forgiving the bugs because the game is so damn great and you can certainly see what they tried to achieve - and it's so very very close. I've still (after what seems like hundreds of hours of play) only narrowly scratched the surface and my quest log keeps growing quicker than I can clear it. I'm going to have to give up having conversations with randoms because they end up asking me to find their lost dog/family heirloom/face, etc. Just reading a book can open up a five hour quest as you try to solve the authors murder. Oh goody, another quest. And what do you know, it's over the other side of Skyrim. Time to buy those new boots and start walking. And I just know I'll end up with a satchel full of rubbish stuff when I'm finished.



  1. Just got thus game and amazed with it. I stumbled upon this article looking up, well frankly anything I could find on Skyrim. I just want to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article and how it was put together with the play by play commentary.


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