Lydia in the Skyrim with Diamonds

9 Dec
Main character

I made all the armor myself...

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Bethesda ever since Oblivion came out. Sure, the game was pretty (aside from the death stares every NPC would give you as you walked up to them), and sure, the gameplay was great.

But the game was too damn open.

I’m not an achievement whore. I really don’t need to get 100% of everything in every game I play. But I am an OCD-driven quest whore. Give me a world with so many side quests and options other than the main storyline and I’ll follow the same pattern: I’ll start the game, veer wildly off the path at the first distraction, then wake up one morning and uninstall the game in a fit of panic when I realize just how much of my life I’ve given to the game and how little I’ve progressed in the story.

Fallout 3 was no better. An incredible (and incredibly open) game with a predictable outcome for me. Play. Obsess. Uninstall.

Maybe it’s just my nature to be compelled to help people in need (and then rob them blind for their caps and ammo). Maybe it’s the quests themselves, well designed snippets of story that enhance the game world. Or maybe I’m just easily — ooh look, jangling keys…

With Skyrim, I was planning to give it a miss. Really. There were other games coming out at around the same time and I had finally escaped from the crack house known as World of Warcraft for good. Did I really want to pick up another time sink?

Apparently so. And I don’t regret it at all.

The first thing you notice about the game is the graphics. The Fallout games were good, but I always thought they were too bland (nuclear annihilation will do that to the landscape). There is no such issue with the world in Skyrim – from gorgeous snowscapes to lush greenery to impressively large cities. My PC isn’t the fastest on the block, but the 560TI card I use is more than enough to showcase the details put into the world.

And there’s an insane amount of details in the game. From tree stumps teaming with bugs to a truly impressive night sky, the level of immersion with this game is higher than in any previous effort.

Levelling in the game is an interesting affair. You gain experience by levelling various skills, which you increase in game by reading books, paying for a trainer or just using them. It’s odd to turn in a quest and not get any closer to levelling, but it works in this game.

Gameplay is pretty much what you’d expect if you’ve played previous Bethesda games, which isn’t a bad thing.

There are a few glitches, some more annoying than others. Sometimes textures would start to glow for no reason. Other times your companion might get stuck. And as of this writing you still can’t marry Lydia.

Lydia

Won't marry me? Fine. Carry all these dragon bones, then...

There is a sword maiden from Whiterun,
Who’s sayings are always the same.
And at every doorway,
She’ll be in the way.
But she won’t marry me? That’s just lame.

The biggest gripe with this game for me was the random and frequent crashes to the desktop I encountered. I was getting them as often as once every ten minutes at some points. Fortunately, I found they went away as soon as I installed the 4GB mod from the Skyrim Nexus site. Bethesda, you really need to rethink memory utilization — a player-developed mod should not be required in order to run the game.

That said, I’m enjoying the game immensely. I’m still not finished with it, but in the age of the 5 hour solo campaign (I’m looking at you, Modern Warfare) it’s well worth the money spent.

Oh, what’s the game about? I think it has something to do with all the dragons flying around. I’m not entirely sure, though — I’ve been wandering around doing side quests and mastering my blacksmithing and enchanting skills.

I figure I’ve got a couple of more weeks to find the main story and finish the game before the newest opium den — The Old Republic — opens for business…

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3 Responses to “Lydia in the Skyrim with Diamonds”

  1. John F. (@Fee501st) December 9, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    A Great piece!

    Looking forward to the new blogs 🙂

    Like

  2. phxhawke (@phxhawke) December 9, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

    Awesome review! I can’t wait to see what the other one has to say 😉

    Like

  3. lasun February 5, 2013 at 7:08 am #

    Good blog you have got here.. It’s difficult to find high quality writing like yours these days. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    Like

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