Once again Bethesda has made RPG enthusiasts around the world froth at the mouth with their latest batch of images, info, and gameplay footage of their upcoming title “Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.” Bethesda has been a strong contender in the RPG department of gaming since the release of Morrowind, the third installment of the Elder Scrolls Saga. Morrowind’s engine, Gamebryo, has continued to be the engine for all of their major RPG titles to date. However, with the upcoming release of Skyrim, Bethesda has created a brand new engine for the game, promising that the Elder Scrolls V will deliver the grandeur of Tamriel in an exciting new way.
Skyrim is not a direct sequel to Oblivion in terms of story. The game takes place 200 years after, and the exceedingly detailed environments of the game clearly show it. The empire that once dominated the land has all but crumbled, and worse, war has seemed to engulf several of the separate kingdoms. The fifth installment will act as a new chapter in the Elder Scrolls Saga, the creation of a brand new age. It’s only fitting that so much of the game will also be changing. Let me break it down for you.
Unlike previous combat mechanics, Skyrim allows the player to fight the way they wish to fight. No longer limited to a single sword, or even a single spell, players can now combine weapons and magic, to greater customize their character. Dual wielding has never been done in the Elder Scrolls universe, and I’m not ashamed to say the thought of wielding two melee weapons to end my opponents just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. More intriguing, however, is the fact that spells can not only be dual wielded, but can be combined to perform an even more powerful attack. Where a single frost attack strikes the enemy, the combined attack would literally blow him away. This alone makes Skryim a truly exciting game to look forward to.
Environment, Graphics, and Interaction.
The Elder Scroll games have always prided themselves in creating some of the richest environments offered by video games. The landscapes of Oblivion were breathtaking, boasting towering mountains of ice, to the most serene forest. Skyrim seems to have actually gone up a level in terms of detail and beauty. The landscapes have all being beautifully rendered, with new mechanics up the wazoo. One of the more impressive aspects of the environment is the lighting effects, especially when the hero is making his way through one of the games many vast dungeons.
Although Bethesda can take pride in their settings, some of their previous games have not done so well with character appearances. Skyrim has a significantly enhanced character creation system, allowing you to customize your hero the way you want to, for the most part. No more huge noses, and wide foreheads! (Oblivion) Another drastic change from Oblivion, is the removal of the first person conversation mechanic. Conversations will now be held in real time! The player will even be able to move around when talking to NPC’s, and the NPC”s will not stop what they are doing while they discuss their business with the player. So much detail has been placed into ensuring the player feels completely enveloped by the games surrounding, no matter how many times they play the game. Enter Bethesda’s new ‘Radiant Storytelling’ engine. This little beauty of an AI actually generates random encounters, and quests, based off what your character has done in the world. Example: Let’s say you made a new friend in Skyrim, if you’re an assassin you just may be asked to assassinate that NPC. Furthermore, the ‘Radiant story’ engine gives the player a sense of manipulation. No longer will NPC’s just watch as the hero dumps loads of weaponry at random in cities. Now NPC’s will interact with such things. Drop a sword in front of a child and he might just pick it up and play with it. The ‘Radiant Story’ feature alone makes this one of the most exciting titles of 2011, assuming it does what they have boasted. One more thing deserves mentioning here. It would seem Bethesda has done away with interface screens, technically. Now to check on your abilities and such you “Look to the stars’. They say this eliminate the bulky menus of previous games, but from what they’ve released it seems to only make the menus slightly more appealing.
Yes, lots and lots of dragons exist in this game. The entire story focuses on dragons, in fact the hero is a Dragonborn. As a dragonborn you have a new ability called ‘Dragonshouts’. These beauts of abilities allow you to ‘unleash’ the power of the dragons, assuming you’ve found the right words and have enough dragon souls. An example of one of these is literally spewing fire at your enemies. That’s not the best part though, the dragon interactions for the most part are completely random. Dragons will roam the land doing
whatever they want, attacking towns, randomly picking up a soldier. You name it. The dragon encounters are not scripted what-so-ever. As a result the battles truly feel realistic, as you will no longer be able to just learn the enemies pattern. In a demo shown at ‘E3′ we witness the hero walking through fields, he attacks an NPC and the two begin to fight. Suddenly a dragon swoops down from the sky and picks up the random NPC, flinging him across the world. He then swings around and blows a jet of fire at the player, it seriously gets pretty epic.
With the promise of a fresh system, enhanced combat, and one of the better story engines of the decade. Skyrim truly looks like it’s already going to steal ‘Game of the Year’. You can get your hands on a copy of Elder Scrolls V Skyrim November 11, 2011. One things for sure, I’ll be lined up a midnight to get my copy.