Saturday, November 12, 2011

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Early Impressions

I've been playing Elder Scrolls V: Skryim since last night and for a total of 8 hours. I've been playing a Dark Elf caster the whole time, one who rarely uses anything but magic, and it's been quite a lot fun. I have also taken fifty minutes of gameplay video and compiled it into fifteen minutes in order to give you an idea of what my adventures have actually looked like. I uploaded that thing in 1080p, which took quite a while, so take a glance. I am have been playing the PC version of Skyrim, but it is also out on Xbox 360 and PS3, all of which came out yesterday on November 11th. Ran Skyrim on high-ultra graphics with 40-50 fps. Will leave computer specifications at the end in case you would like to compare. I'm going to attempt to make this fairly spoiler free and leave out any of the major quests or conclusions.

My adventure started out me out in the open world, after the twenty minute intro, and I had a town below, mountains behind me and a sprawling lake to my left. From this point I could have gone anywhere, but seeing as how I had overstuffed my inventory from the intro I set out immediately for the town. The only spells I had at this point were the most basic of flame and shock offensive spells, one's that did a great deal of damage overtime but in bursts they don't see to do much damage. Just from the intro area they had given me the choice of going heavy armor, light armor or robbed and I was thankful for all the possible weapon/apparel options right off the bat. The first town I came was pretty basic and there were a few quests around, two of which were very minor fetch quests, while one involved a long dungeon way up on a mountain side. Money is tight at the beginning of the game, like you would expect from a RPG, but there are all kinds of interesting options for making money from the about one hour in. For instance you can mine nodes, chop wood, help farmers collect their crops, create grain and a couple of other options that give you easy access to money. Sure, these options give you very little money compared to adventuring but I still appreciate there existence.

The game is a mix of Fallout and Oblivion, plus a whole lot of new features. The hud is pretty new but the way everything looks and feels will be familiar to anyone familiar with Bethesda's games. The way skills work is almost exactly the same as Oblivion, except each skill now has special abilities that you can train. An example of which would be how for destruction spells, once you have a minimum of twenty skill points, you can put points into an ability that makes novice level spells cost half the amount of mana. Each skill has it's own tree of abilities that you can learn and you get one point to spend in them every time you level. The way quests work is very similar to how they are handled in Oblivion and Fallout as well except when it comes to miscellaneous quests. If you ever hear a rumor or someone suggests that you do something, talk to someone, visit somewhere, then it will be deposited into a miscellaneous quest part of your journal. It's a nice way to get rid of the giant list of quests that normally accumulate from side quests. One of the major new features of Skyrim is how you no longer choose a class, it is now all determined by skills and however you choose to develop your character. The character customization system in Skyrim is also one of the best I've ever seen, allowing a great many options for cosmetically altering your character.

The game starts out a bit slow but by the time you earn your first dragon shout and defeat your first dragon then it starts to open up. Initially you are pushed towards a town called Whiterun, the only neutral town in all of Skyrim, while the rest of the towns are divided between Imperial and Stormcrow, the two warring factions in the game. Whiterun is a great looking town, one that looks to be inspired a bit by the fortress of Edoras from Lord of the Rings, it offers quite a few quests and it also holds the Companions Hall, the fighters guild.Once you do some the main quests in Whiterun then you truly will feel free to go wherever, sure you still have one or two quests way out in the world, but no longer are they local, they are now far away and the game seems to suggest that no matter what you choose you will be in for a long and great journey.

I've only fought one Dragon in the game so far, while one of my friends who has been playing since yesterday claims to have fought at least five, but they are quite fantastic to fight. They are very strong, powerful and intimidating but most importantly they did a great job making Dragons fun to fight, especially when you are fighting them with other people, NPC's. Speaking of fighting with NPC's, they also did that aspect very well. Right from the beginning of the game you can find NPC's to fight with you for free, but if you are socially inept you can hire mercenaries to fight with you as well. The two negative things about followers is that you can only have one and they don't seem to level up in anyway, but you can give them better equipment and make them more powerful in that sense. My mage has had a bard follower since the first town in the game, from about level three, and I always have him with me on every adventure. Thankfully the bard is still useful at level twelve, but I have no idea how long that will last. You can also have your followers carry items for you and one of their new features with followers is that you can now direct them to specific areas.

I'm only about eight hours in but Skyrim has been a blast so far, one that has been taking up a large majority of my free time. The large majority of my friends list on steam has been playing this all weekend so far, so it seems like most people have gotten it already, but if you haven't then you are missing out. If you don't like rpg's very much, specifically non-linear ones, then you may be put off by Skryim. If you were let down Fallout or Oblivion then you may not be have the same qualms with Skyrim, it is a much fuller game that seems to be very dynamic, unique and detailed. Here is one example of how dynamic it is compared to Fallout or Oblivion, I took out a large bandit fort that was on the side of a major road and I came back by the fort later to find that the Imperial Army has occupied it. Not only had they cosmetically occupied, but they were sending out patrols from there and inside the fort everything had been restocked with imperial armaments. That's all for now, but thank you for reading, if you read this giant wall of text. Will be back with some gaming news tomorrow.
Headless Horsemen?! He was too fast to follow, but I will find him again

-Written by Sean Cargle 


  1. TravisNov 12, 2011 10:48 PM
    I am in LOVE with this game so far... Been a hard weekend picking between playing it and the Old Republic stress beta...
  2. LokaiNov 12, 2011 10:59 PM
    Seems like everyone who signed up for the SWTOR beta got in this weekend. I put about two hours into so far but its tough to break away from Skyrim.
  3. AlexNov 22, 2011 10:09 AM
    Violent gamer, I think Ive used one of your images and obviously i dont plan on keeping it long for my blog because its rightfully yours (unless you also found it on google)but I cant take screen shots of skyrim for some reason. could you help me out on how I can.
  4. LokaiNov 22, 2011 11:29 AM
    Nah these are our images, but there is no immediate threat to you since we don't really make any money. I appreciate your intentions of not keeping them. I usually take screenshots with the steam overlay (F12) by default or I use Fraps (a video capture program). Both of which take pretty high resolutions screenshots.
  5. AlexNov 23, 2011 11:15 AM
    Nice images there, and thank you for being some what lenient. I dont use steam so I think I might have to resort to the snipping tool in Windows accesories since print screen seems to not work for games. Thanks for the advice and by the way I like the blog, definitly becoming a member.
  6. LokaiNov 23, 2011 07:50 PM
    Hmm If you have to resort to that you should just press print screen open up paint and then paste it into paint. Doing that tends to bring some pretty high resolution shots, you just have to do it one at a time.
  7. AlexNov 26, 2011 04:31 AM
    Right I will try that as soon as college work decides to leave me alone.
  8. LokaiNov 27, 2011 12:07 AM
    College work will never leave us alone =)
  9. AlexNov 27, 2011 07:41 AM
    Aaah a fellow student haha =D, I managed to get some free time and tried print screen and then went on to paint and it wouldnt even let me paste it. Im going to do abit of research... maybe I'm not the only one that cant take screen shots.
  10. LokaiNov 27, 2011 10:05 PM
    Very odd, definitely look that up. Two more weeks of school here till break and it's going to be brutal.
  11. AlexNov 28, 2011 08:11 AM
    Ouch, not too sure when I break up but I think its sooner than that.Its already brutal for us... we have so much work to be in -_- which isnt good when all I want to do is skyrim
  12. AlexDec 17, 2011 01:40 PM
    Ive finnally got round to taking pictures of skyrim, had to resort to using my iPod so they are rubbish pics, but either way thanks for allowing me to use your image for about 3 weeks :)
  13. LokaiDec 17, 2011 03:33 PM
    No problem.