Shelob is coming to eat the Hobbits. Again.
If we gave awards, Skyrim and Gears 3 would tie for best games of E3. Why did Skyrim score so highly in our books? Read this preview to find out!
1. A Brief History (of the Series)
Anyone who knows and understands the term “open-world RPG” will have heard of Bethesda Softworks, or at least one of the games they have developed. While they may not have made the first open-world RPG, they are the best developers working in the genre by far. They have created some of the most popular and well-known games ever to hit the shelves. The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series are two of the most recognizable series of all time.
For those of you that don’t know about these series (even though you definitely should), here’s the basic idea. Your character is introduced to a particular situation, you’re given a tutorial to introduce you to the controls (and the specifics of the story) and then you’re shoved out into the world to fend for yourself. No limits, no linear gameplay, no specific place that you have to go. You’re free to explore almost any place in the entire game at any time.
The Elder Scrolls games take place in a mythical, medieval-based world with a lot of different races and religions. Players are able to pick specifically which race they want to play and what type of abilities they want to use. Magic has always played a prominent role in both combat and conversations. Combat has involved only medieval-style weapons such as swords and bows.
Make no mistake, these games are huge. The landscape in Oblivion is well known for its size, and the amount of gameplay hours will definitely translate well. In Oblivion, the original version of the game could easily have hundreds of hours of gameplay for each player.
2. What We Know
We got an in-depth preview of Skyrim at E3, so here’s what we found out:
First, the landscape is going to be huge. Just from the brief glimpse of the map and the environment players can tell that the playable area is going to be huge. I’m not sure if it will be larger than Fallout 3 or Oblivion, but it will definitely provide more than enough space for the player to explore.
Secondly, magic has seen a complete overhaul. No longer will players be casting balls of slow-moving colored light at enemies. Now, if a player casts a fire spell, fire shoots from the player’s hands. Frost spells cause large icicles to form on the objects, landscape, and characters that the player targets. The player can also learn and use “shouts”. Shouts are magical words that the dragons use to breath fire, ice, or other magical effects. The player is able to shout these words (in the game, not in real life) and cause the same magical effects.
Thirdly, the menu system has been completely overhauled. Those of you that have played Oblivion or Fallout know that the inventory system for the game was cumbersome at best, downright aggravating at worst. For those of you who don’t know, I’ll pose a scenario.
Let’s say that in Oblivion you wanted to sell some of the items you had in your inventory. Specifically, you wanted to sell a few wolf pelts that you had acquired. After you found your way to a store and opened up the screen to start selling your items, you’d have to make your way over to the “miscellaneous” category (one of five) and then scroll all the way down. And by down I mean way down. Past all of the books or other readable materials you may have accumulated, past all of the keys you have accumulated (which grows significantly as a player gets farther into the game), and past anything else the player may have accumulated that isn’t a potion, weapon, or armor. It was an extremely inefficient process that desperately needed to be solved.
That has been changed completely. The menu system now uses a set of categories to make the search for everything much faster and more efficient. Items and spells that are used most often can be added to a “favorite” category for even easier access as well.
The leveling system seems to have been overhauled as well. While the exact specifics haven’t been released, each skill category allows the player to earn additional abilities designed for that skill. So for instance, if a player develops the “block” skill enough, the player can then learn the ability “shield wall” which increases the efficiency of blocking.
The player’s actions also have direct and indirect impacts on the game. We were told that if a player goes to a local lumbermill and either kills the workers or trashes the mill, the entire economy of the surrounding town would be impacted. It can also be assumed that if a player helps the local population that their economy will be positively impacted as well.
The storyline has also been left relatively vague. We know that the game surrounds the return of the dragons. Long thought to be extinct, the dragons induce fear upon anyone who even mentions their name. So the re-emergence of dragons would definitely be cause for alarm. However, not all dragons are out to destroy humanity, so hopefully the player will have some dragon allies in the game.
There are a good number of other specific extras we learned about through our questions, but I’ll highlight one more thing in particular. Bethesda has confirmed that the PC version will allow for modding tools on their new Creation Engine. This means that all of the positive and negative elements included because of the PC mods will definitely be back.
3. What We Expect
In terms of mature content, if it was included in Oblivion it will definitely re-emerge in Skyrim. We do know that the violence level has increased slightly, but anyone who has played games like Oblivion knows that combat is not the only element in this game. In fact, the player can go hours without entering combat provided they hit the right quests. There are lots of conversations and new elements to explore.
Magic, mods, religion, and substances will all score very high for the exact same reasons that they scored highly in Oblivion. We don’t expect many “miscellaneous” elements to be required, but we won’t know any real specifics until we get our hands on a copy of this game. Either way, we’re expecting this game to be even more amazing than Oblivion.
Like what we do? Want to see more? Donate to the site using the button below!