Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Impressions of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
On our second day of E3 2011, we were lucky enough to have some schedule time with the Bethesda team, and since we missed their party from the previous night (extenuating circumstances prevented); we were excited to check out their games on display. In this case, we're solely focusing on the follow-up to 2006's Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion; SKYRIM. We had a prompt 4:00 meeting time, that we rushed from the South Hall to get to. Good think we booked it, since they were starting right at 4:00 and if you missed it (nor wasn't on the list) you weren't getting in. After sorting it all out, we were seated in a private (but fairly large) room with a large screen simply teasing "SKYRIM".
The developers then continued to spend the next 30 minutes in sort of a director's commentary mode, walking through a few parts of the game, showing gameplay, the menu system, and giving overall insight while the entire audience sat there drooling and simultaneously setting our count-down timers for 11-11-11.
That being said, here are the highlights of our extensive note taking. Development of SKYRIM began with a new engine dubbed "Creation Engine" after the release of Fallout 3 (proper) about 3 years ago. Bethesda has painstakingly created a world that surpasses that of Cyrodiil in terms of graphics, atmosphere and overall depth. I used to think that Oblivion had some of the best graphics on this generations systems, my memory serves me that it still does, but after looking at the graphics again now, and seeing what they're doing with the Creation Engine, they've certainly raised the notch a few degrees
Bethesda opened up on the expansive new land, and proceeded to demonstrate weapon changing, magic selection, and even their completely revamped menu system. Their UI has been completely re-written so you don't feel like "you're managing a spreadsheet" while you play, and have tried to blend it more with the game itself. For example, when you review your skills, you look towards the stars and each "skill" is a different constellation, just a great use of UI!
Lets us not forget the giant 4,000lb elephant in the room, and that's the DRAGONS! They are pretty huge, and when you fight them, it's like it's own mini boss fight, with unique AI to each, there's no "pattern" to watch and find weakness, but you use all of your magic, and your shouts and your weapons to take down these beautiful creatures, and when you finally do, (and since your Dragonborn) you'll absorb the Dragon spirits which will grant you further "shouts" to have at your disposal.
Not to forget dynamic weather effects, more realistic faces and more variety in voices and NPC's, this title is truly shaping up to be a must have come November, then it's one you'll sink another 100+ hours to fully explore...we welcome the challenge guys!