The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Preview for PS3

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9Out of 10
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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim screenshot
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim screenshot

Skyrim is a familiar story for anyone who's kept a keen eye on every preview that's been wrought out of VideoGamer.com's editorial mines. For the past year we've been detailing advancements to the game, but the magic of a basic Internet connection has allowed most of you to experience some of the latest developments yourself: recall a few weeks ago when shaky-cam footage from the game's 40-minute presentation at Quakecon found its way online.

Think back again to the Quakecon audience baying like a hundred broken seals because they saw a nice puddle or something on the screen. The game has become an echo chamber for fan enthusiasm, something even the jaded men of VG towers have been so moved by we think one day, just maybe, they may be able to love again.

This is why seeing the game being presented in Cologne, in a room that felt so hilariously hostile toward all notions of hype, was an eye opener. For all the childhood giddiness that wells up whenever we see a dragon on a monitor, it's so easy to forget that somewhere between the infinite loop of references to mudcrabs in Oblivion, the clunky first-person interface of Morrowind, and the arthritic third-person character animation from years ago is a vague memory of Elder Scrolls' rougher edges.

But let's be clear: Skyrim has outgrown any and all adolescent clumsiness it may have had in the past.

This is Elder Scrolls at its most elegant. Skyrim might have over 85 spells, 130 dungeons, and over 100 hours of content, but ignore the big numbers, because Bethesda does everything it can to make complexity seem less daunting.

Magic, weapons, and general inventory that are regularly used can be bookmarked using a Favourites menu option which appears in a slide-out window for easy access, which gives a minimalist flavour to the chaos of options you have to choose from.

Crafting is similarly in-depth but follows a structure that will be familiar to anyone who's played with Fallout 3's weapons schematics. This allows users to create any number of pre-designed item types based on material in their inventory. The system is simple enough, following a near minigame-style format: Kill a wolf, for example, and you can skin him for his hide, which you can then take to a tannery and turn into leather to use as material to design leather-hilted axes and daggers.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim screenshot

Weapons can be made from scratch too - if you're lucky to find an iron vein in the wall and bring the raw material to a weapons forge. Following a similar "if you have stuff, you can build stuff" philosophy, we're told that anything that looks consumable probably is. Players can combine anything from dead dragonflies to berries to make a variety of meals.

Bethesda has worked to give users more reason to explore this time around as well. Fast-travel is available to areas you have already visited, by zooming out of your map to see a 3D representation of Skyrim from above, but the studio has gone out of their way to try and beckon you below the surface. Where Oblivion's dungeons were brought together by the staff's artists, they're now the handiwork of a team of full-time level designers whose aim it is to make each individual dungeon feel unique - a way of encouraging users to actually explore down below as well as up above.

This is maturation rather than a change of format. The game still maintains the same strangely realistic ecosystem we saw in the Elder Scrolls titles that came before it. Hijacking a local lumber mill will limit the amount of wood available and make arrows harder to come by, and more expensive when you do. And to a certain extent this could have an effect on how you approach combat in the game, encouraging you to use other weapons instead. On the other hand, if you don't intervene the world will simply move on without you. A shoal of fish will skip past you in the lakes, butterflies will migrate between flowers, and NPCs will go through the motions of their daily jobs.

Bethesda has worked to refine its style of fantasy RPG for years, and with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim it's clear this latest evolution is likely going to be the most accessible in the series, and the most convincing fantasy world available.

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8 Comments

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thompo555's Avatar

thompo555

We're going to need a clean-up on isle 3..

I can not wait for this! :D
Posted 15:50 on 31 August 2011
Endless's Avatar

Endless

I thought Oblivion was Dull and Lifeless, so any improvement on that is good for me!

This is 1 of the 3 Games I plan on buying in the next year, along with ME3 and SFxT.
Posted 13:47 on 31 August 2011
Geraface's Avatar

Geraface@ SilentSnake11

Skyrim in: Skyrim's will be good shocker.
Posted 09:39 on 31 August 2011
SilentSnake11's Avatar

SilentSnake11

Did you even need to write an article about something everyone knows? Oblivion is still in the front-running for most realistic game of all time, so when Skyrim comes out its sure to take the crown. Still, it was nicely put.
Posted 07:08 on 31 August 2011
SilentSnake11's Avatar

SilentSnake11@ scaz2244

I'm not the only one then...
Posted 07:04 on 31 August 2011
scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

every time i read a preview i get more and more excited!!
Posted 20:55 on 30 August 2011
p0rtalthinker's Avatar

p0rtalthinker

Plagiarism! Plagiarism!!!

Haha but no great read Emily. 11.11.11 Can't come soon enough!
Posted 18:12 on 30 August 2011
squidman's Avatar

squidman

SORRY. I originally posted this as me writing it, but it's actually Emily who wrote it. READ AWAY, VISITORS.
Posted 11:46 on 30 August 2011

Game Stats

Release Date: 11/11/2011
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: RPG
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 669 55
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