I HAD REALLY HIGH expectations for Skyrim. I believed that it was one of those games that totally leaves you empty and sad once the final boss dies, and the credits roll and you’re left to ponder the experience. You know, the End Game Feeling? Maybe that’s why the game never satisfied my gaming itch.
ABOUT THE GAME
SKYRIM WAS RELEASED by Bethesda Softworks. You begin as a prisoner aboard a wagon with three other captives. After choosing your race, and how you will look for the remainder of your stay in Skyrim, you are sentenced to beheading. Then, just before your noggin in lopped off your shoulders, a black dragon falls from the sky and burning distractions ensue. You’re free! Eventually, as you make your way through the lustrous world, you learn of your purpose as the Dovahkiin, or Dragon Born. As the Dovahkiin, you have the power to absorb Dragon Souls, which allow you to use various shouts to rend your foes asunder!
WITH THIS POWER comes great responsibility: you, and you alone, are fated to stop the threat of Alduin, the World Eater. Skyrim is a beautiful, open-world game that you can explore at your leisure. I love sandbox games, absolutely adore freedom! Side quests abound, and you’ll never find the lack of anything to do an issue in this game. Traveling is a reward all its own, as you explore the lush, wondrous peaks and forests. Skyrim is absolutely beautiful, pulled straight from the pages of a Tolkien novel.
WHAT I LIKED
BEST OF ALL on a PC, mods add a whole new level to the experience. I added mods to deepen the character creation, add new powerful shouts and spells, change NPC faces, added new armor, new smithing gear, new weapons, and even added companions from FF IV like Rydia, Kain, and Cecil, and Dragon Age characters Morrigan, Leiliana, Fenris, Isabella, and Alistair! Oh, and let’s not forget craftable lightsabers. Heck to the yes! I love modding.
I ALSO LOVED the language of the dragons. The fact they used shouts to communicate and attack was an interesting idea that I’d never seen explored before. Yes, shouting at your enemies, and the whole Fus Ro Dah, was amazing! I never grew tired of shouting people to pieces, clearing a cluster of enemies, or going into a crowded town or house just to unleash the “thu’um”! It was always a pleasure to speak with Parthanax and Odahviing, just to listen to them insert the language of the dragons into their speech.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
MY ISSUES WITH SKYRIM are about the characters and the story. I might spoil something, so be warned, SPOILERS ahead! I’ve read that there is no “main quest” to Skyrim, that you can basically carve your own arc through the story. That may be so, but I’d say that the main thread is your quest to stop Alduin.
THE ONE MAIN THING I noticed was the lack of urgency. I know I was the Dragon Born, and all that goes with it. I understand that I guess, it was supposed to be an empty vessel that the character could mold to his/her liking? Okay, I like that. I don’t mind being able to have that freedom, but it never felt like there was any greater purpose to keep fighting? I mean, maybe if Alduin had attacked my village, or eaten my parents, or I watched him single-handedly pillage the town I lived in, I’d feel more engrossed in the plot? I never found a reason to care about the story, as an individual, except for the fact that I was the “Dovahkiin”.
I DIDN’T HAVE ANY CONNECTION to Alduin, at all, except that I was the Dovahkiin. So, there was no underlying plot, no subtext to our relationship. It was just he’s evil, he wants to destroy the world, and I need to stop him.
Then, when I finally destroyed him…that was it?
THAT’S ANOTHER ISSUE I had with Skyrim. Nothing, and I mean nothing you did, changed the course of the story. You were told that you were the only one with the power to change the world, but you never did. After Alduin was dead, or you joined the Storm Cloaks, or saved Dragons Reach, or slew every dragon you came across…it never had any bearing on the actual gameplay? Or the plot for that matter?
THE WORLD and the way people interacted with you was always the same, save for a few new voice quips here and there. It made it feel like your choices didn’t matter. No matter what you chose, nothing changed. It seems like you were never rewarded with anything that felt substantial to the quest you just finished. You defeat Alduin, and what do you get? I don’t even remember, so it mustn’t have been that good.
SINCE THE SPOILS for your troubles were never that great, I felt myself getting bored while I played. There was never any greater purpose, no deeper meaning to what I was doing, no greater reward for my valiant efforts. No consequence to my actions. In Fallout, if you killed a member of a certain faction, stole, or sided with the opposite faction, there were consequences. The world would change to match what you’ve done. The radio would broadcast your deeds across the wastes. Megaton would disappear. You had a sense that what you were doing actually had a bearing on the world you were in.
IN SKYRIM, I COULD JOIN The Empire or the Stormcloaks, kill or not kill Parthanax, save or not save this city from a dragon attack, and after it was all said and done? Victory always had a sense of emptiness. The dragons, those mighty gods who rode the currents of the sky, raining fire, and death, from heaven? At some point, they became so frightfully easy that it became a boring chore to fight them! At some point, when a Dragon showed up in a city, instead of going, “Holy crap! I’m screwed!” I felt, “Oh great, not another one? This is the third town in a row!” It got tiresome. And when I finally defeated the “World Eater” I lost all desire to keep playing. Once the main quest was done, the purpose of why I was playing, all the rest of the side quests felt…empty. I mean, why was I finishing them, except for the sake of just playing?
THERE WAS NO STORY. Alduin was dead. So I lost all motivation to keep going, which was sad. I would have started with a new character, a new playstyle, but with the knowledge that none of my decisions mattered…why did I need to play again, if nothing would change?
YES, I REALIZE ALDUIN attacked the town I was in, but I didn’t really care cause these people were out for my head anyway! Whether he was burning the village didn’t matter, cause all I wanted to do was escape with my life. Also, aside from Rolof and Ulfric, I didn’t care for anyone else there, and I didn’t even have that much of an attachment to them. I also never felt any connection to my party members. Or anyone in the story really. After playing Fallout, and dealing with the quirky merchant Moira Brown in Megaton who called bombs “hot potatoes”, the Guy who proclaims he won the “Mother F***ing LO-TER-Y!!!” in New Vegas, and not to mention Muggy and the Think Tank Monitors in Honest Hearts, I was expecting a lot of memorable characters in Skyrim, especially due to its fantastic setting!
BUT EVERYONE WAS SO BLAND? I mean, the writing was all right, but there wasn’t one character who stood out from the rest as very memorable. Ever. And that brings me back to the companions. I didn’t care about them. In Fallout and Dragon Age, your characters had backstories, you could interact with them, learn about them, and through that, you began to care. Also, in Bioware’s “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” (my favorite game of all time!) you had the same relationship with your companions. They learned and grew with you as the story progressed.
NOT SO IN SKYRIM. Companions were just expendable NPCs that were there to help in a pinch and carry all the miscellaneous goods that bogged my character down as I decided to loot everybody I laid waste to. I could swap out any of them for a different companion, and aside from the varying skills, I just never found any reason to care about them.
ASIDE FROM THE main story flaws, I will say that most of what I found interesting was what had nothing to do with the story! Just the odd, random occurrences. For instance, I got into a drinking contest, passed out, and ended up on the other side of the map! That was really cool.
I REALLY WANTED TO LOVE SKYRIM. I did enjoy the game, despite the issues. I just wish that there was more to it. It had the potential to be one of those games that changed my life! It ended up being a game that I had fun exploring, and then just put down without anything truly memorable to take away from it.
THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading. Have you played Skyrim? What did you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! As always, keep that imagination kicking! Please take care all, you all rock. Cheers!