Sunday, January 22, 2012


I’ve been playing a lot of Skyrim lately and as most of you probably know it has been receiving rave reviews from pretty much everybody. Although this game is good, great even, and has many fine points I’m going to instead quibble over all the minor details that moderately irritate me.

Gold is Meaningless
It is so easy to accumulate wealth in this game that it makes me wonder how any of the NPCs in Skyrim can possibly be poor. I have so much money that I’ve pretty much stopped looting dungeons and if I can throw money at a problem to make it go away then I’ll be sure to do it, because I actually don’t know what else to do with it. The only other thing I use it for is to buy arrows from vendors so I can sell more loot to them (what little I bother to take). On that note, I find it annoying that vendors have a limited amount of money. The Elder Scrolls is about the only RPG series I can think of where merchants run out of gold which is just another reason to never loot unless you want to travel to every shop in the province so you sell all your crap. Now when I find a valuable magical sword worth thousands of dollars I think to myself, “this is more hassle than its worth” and just leave it lying there.

Dragon Fights Get Old after a While
The first few times you fight a dragon it’s pretty tense and exciting, but once you figure out how to take care of them it quickly becomes repetitive and annoying. For the most part, fighting a dragon follows this pattern: hide from its fire, shoot it with an arrow, it flies into the air, wait for it to land, rinse and repeat. For what is supposed to be an epic experience, a surprising amount of dragon fights is spent doing nothing. I’ve gotten rather tired of fighting them now so whenever one appears over the countryside to harass me, I either ignore it and continue on my merry way, or if that fails then reload from the nearest save and go do something else.

Buggy Quests
I currently have four quests in my journal that are impossible for me to hand in, and five quest items that I have no way to dispose of. It clutters up space in my log and inventory and even though it has no effect on gameplay (other than some of the quest items weighing me down), it still bothers me for some reason. It’s just one of those things that you expect would have been fixed before release.

Sneaking is Weird
I always make a sneaky character in Elder Scrolls games and it’s often a somewhat overpowered mechanic that let’s you to get one-hit kills without any risk to your own body. Skyrim seems to have struck a weird balance where it is either obscenely powerful or sort of useless. My sneak is high enough that I can actually land on top of a person’s head and they still won’t notice me. But once I shoot an arrow at that person and kill him instantly, then suddenly all of his friends in a five mile radius will know exactly where I am and come running. And that’s why invisibility is great.

The Circle of Crafting
There are three crafting skills in Skyrim: alchemy, enchanting, and smithing. If you put your mind to it then you can combine the three to make absurdly powerful weapons and armor. First make a potion to buff your enchanting, then enchanting an item to buff alchemy, then wear that item and make another, stronger potion to buff enchanting. Do this back and forth until you reach the desired level of overpoweredness. Then enchant as much apparel as you can to buff smithing and make a potion of smithing. Put on the apparel and drink the potion then create a bow that does insane amounts of damage. Congratulations, you beat Skyrim.

Magic Horses
I don’t really dislike how horses can climb up even the steepest mountains with ease. In fact, I find it incredibly useful seeing as how my character can barely climb up a hill, but that doesn’t stop it from being rather strange and a little bit glitchy. Of course, though getting up is easy, getting the horse down the mountain will almost certainly spell death for the poor creature who all of a sudden can’t find his footing. Strangely, my character has no problem at all climbing down mountains, so now I’ve developed a strategy where I take my horse to the top, dismount, climb down the other side, then meet up with him again when I map travel. It’s very convenient.

Laughable Traps
One thing the developers put into their dungeons in what I’m assuming was an attempt to make them more challenging were a variety of booby traps. This includes tumbling boulders, swinging axes, fire floors, and poison darts. I don’t give a shit about any of them and will sometimes deliberately stand in them just for laughs. They do a pitiful amount of damage. If I see that a chest or door is trapped, I say “fuck it” and open it anyway because the worst that will happen is absolutely nothing.

Fetch Quests
I remember when I played Oblivion, being impressed by the amount of what I thought were original and exciting quests. I remember stealing an Elder Scroll, going inside a painting, slowly murdering all the guests at a party, and making it rain burning dogs and loving every minute of it. Although Skyrim definitely has many more quests, there are very few that stick out in my mind. The majority of them boil down to “go to x dungeon and bring back y item,” though some will have you kill a guy instead. Some people will simply send you to deliver an item to a guy next door, which though easy money is kind of insulting to the value of my character. So far the only quests that really impressed me are the daedric ones, but I still need to play through the main storyline so I’m hopeful that this may change.

Bonus points to whoever describes their favorite bug in a video game.

1 comment:

  1. My favourite bug in a video game is the random acceleration to scorpion tanks in Halo 2. I remember being pinned against a wall by my friend who was driving a wraith (a levitating tank) and I was driving a scorpion. He seemed to push me onto the global eject button, because the next thing I remember was flying through the air at a suitably ridiculous speed and then exploding as I hit the outer limits of the rendered space in the map.

    In the meantime, I had fallen off the couch I was laughing so hard.