Skyrim = Obliviwind

I am of two minds about Skyrim. The following comments apply to the PS3 version.

Let’s start with the bad. It had a patch the second I installed it, and it still locks up hard in the middle of conversations (it has done so three times). It doesn’t autosave at logical points. The fights are not terribly balanced, at least at low levels – why can I kill a dragon single-handedly early on, but get my ass handed to me by some random bandit chief when I have better equipment than him and I just set him on fire? The color palette for the land is not exactly wide, consisting of white, green, and blue, and there’s a lot of graphical glitches on shadows and whatnot.

Overall, play-wise, it lacks what I was expecting – a major facelift for the series – and instead plays like a mishmash of Oblivion and Morrowind, hence the title of this post. The land is alien enough (hence Morrowind) but the game feels like Oblivion, down to the still-clunky combat and animations. I’m coming off Arkham City, here, people. You’ve lost the combat and animation contest cold.

So after all that, you might think I have nothing good to say. Well. It /is/ epic. “You there! Climb that giant mountain and kill the dragon at the top!” Now /that’s/ a quest. Lesser games might make such a job the entire game, but Skyrim manages somehow to top the last quest you did over and over again with an even more grueling dungeon or trek across the frozen landscape. The game drops piddling fetch-and-carry stuff to a ‘Miscellaneous” folder, as it should.

Griping about the graphics is fair game, but it is a pretty, non-generated land. The towns are sprawling affairs that impress. I don’t think the map is bigger than Oblivion, but it feels bigger. Might be all the mountains. Combat is still clunky – they’re still running something akin to the Oblivion engine – but the blood is a little more liberal this time around and death is affordable.

I expected more, but I’m still playing.

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