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EG Expo hands-on: Skyrim is the “RPG of forever”

Thursday, 22nd September 2011 11:44 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Besides Battlefield 3, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be one of the biggest games here at the show, as attendees coming here to Earls Court will find out over the next couple of days. Johnny Cullen briefly goes hands-on with RPG.

I have seen Skyrim twice in the past five months, but never hands-on. I walked away from Bethesda’s pre-E3 event in Utah back in April absolutely blown aback by what I had seen. The same could be for what I seen from gamescom last month in Cologne behind closed doors. But never hands-on.

Until today. For the first time since I first seen it in Salt Lake back in April, I went hands-on with the RPG of forever. At least that’s what it will be come November 11.

Afterwards, you’re greeted with the character creation system after you escape from prison at the beginning of the game. I can’t honestly remember what race I picked, but it was female. And I called it Leia. I don’t know why, but there you go.

Immediately after you finish creating your character, you’re immediately thrown into the world of Skyrim itself. And I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again: it looks amazing. There will be no two ways about, this is a stonkingly brilliant looking game. Immediately afterwards, a Bethesda rep points me towards a bandit camp if I am interested in some “action.”

I then come face-to-face with a bandit in the camp, just on the outskirts of a town called Falkreath, where I bring up the new inventory menu by pressing B to equip my sword and shield, that are useable with both of the trigger buttons. Sword in your right hand is RT and the shield in your left hand is LT. But I have a bit of difficulty defeating the guy, which is why I switch to a fire spell in place of my shield. After using that and my sword, he’s dead. Same for the wolf who decided to jump in halfway through the fight and help the guy, it seems.

After trying to take out two bandits from the top of two watch tower with a bow and arrow, I immediately leg it using sprint by pressing LB, knowing this is a losing battle for me. In my running, I came across Falkreath itself. When I enter the town, I equip my sword and fire combo from before – it should be worth nothing the game will remember any weapon and magic combos you currently have on you – before I try to work my magic on two of the NPCs to try the new conversation system I mentioned back in Utah, but both run away on my character because, guess what, some of those bandits hunt me down.

Sadly, as I try to make some sort of a fight out of it between the two or three bandits on my case, one of them kills me and there ends my demo.

The fact I’ve caused havok already within the game world in just under 15 minutes tells you how much of what you can do in the open world of Skyrim. It’s your game, your world. Be good, be bad, just go with what you feel is best.

Nathan will have a more-detailed hands on of the game from PAX due soon, but from what I’ve played today, this will be, as I said above, the RPG of forever. If it isn’t – and I sincerely doubt that will be the case – there is something definitely wrong.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim releases worldwide on November 11 for PS3, 360 and PC.

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20 Comments

  1. Moonwalker1982

    Even more info here

    http://forum.xboxworld.nl/showpost.php?p=4390399&postcount=408

    AND scans…it looks fucking sweet.

    http://forum.xboxworld.nl/showpost.php?p=4390460&postcount=412

    #1 3 years ago
  2. UuBuU

    I have my doubts whether it’ll even be the best TES game, let alone “RPG of forever”.

    In terms of RPG elements, it’s looking very inferior to Daggerfall. Attributes are gone along with certain skills, and characters effectively start out as a blank, default slate.

    Their insistence on voiced dialogue instead of written dialogue pretty much ensures that NPCs will be somewhat lacking in terms of depth. Ken Rolston (formerly of Bethesda) summed it up nicely when he described voiced dialogue as being the worst thing to happen to RPGs.

    As an open world game, several things have improved. The world is more hand crafted this time, and AI is supposed to be a lot better. However i’m concerned about three things – firstly, they seem to be going overboard on the hand-holding, which harms immersion. I mean, heaven forbid the player might feel lost at times and discover things for themselves. Magical markers and Tamriel’s version of GoogleEarth are there to show them the way. Secondly, they’re cramming more content into the game without actually expanding the gameworld. Several hands-on attendees have already commented on how crowded and unrealistic in scale the game feels. Thirdly, as nice as all those mountains look, it’s fairly apparent that they’re going to make the gameworld feel much more linear than in past TES games. What Todd Howard really means when he says we can go to the top of any mountain is that there are set paths to follow that lead to the top. Every other part of the mountain is likely to be a natural barrier the player has to go around.

    Lastly, for a primarily first-person game they sure are forcing players into third-person an awful lot. Horses can only be ridden in third-person, many finisher moves (which aren’t optional) are in third-person, and you can no longer view your character from your inventory, so to see what an item looks like on your character, first-person players now have to constantly switch into third-person. It’s also been strongly rumoured that all jobs and activities will be in third-person. A lot of people don’t mind third-person and won’t find this a problem in the slightest; but for the people who found first-person to be one of the most appealing features of the series, it’s incredibly irritating.

    /rant over.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. OrbitMonkey

    Blimey i’m glad my first elder scrolls was Oblivion, seems like everyone who played the ones before turned into a right bunch of negative ninnies on the announcement of Skyrim o_O

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Phoenixblight

    @3

    I have played all of them and I enjoyed Oblivion and will definitely be enjoying SKyrim.

    @2

    Well then good thing you have your Daggerfall and Morrowind to still play right? Since Bathesda is dead to you because Bathesda “dumbing” down the series.

    If you believe you can do a better job than what Bathesda has done than go make your own game. I would be curious to see how well your vision of what TES should be and how people would receive it.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. UuBuU

    @3 – It’s a never ending cycle. A lot of Daggerfall fans didn’t like Morrowind because of the dumbing down. A lot of Morrowind fans didn’t like Oblivion because of the dumbing down. And i’m sure a lot of Oblivion fans won’t like Skyrim because of the dumbing down (even if a lot of them don’t realise it yet).

    I’ve defended Oblivion a lot in the past, because it’s flaws could be easily remedied by mods. But with Skyrim it’s just been one negative thing after another, and i’m not even convinced mods will be able to undo a lot of the streamlining.

    @4 I lack the knowledge and the resources to make a videogame… but in terms of direction, i’d sure as hell know how to make a better open-world RPG than Skyrim (or any TES game yet).

    #5 3 years ago
  6. viralshag

    I <3 Oblivion.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Phoenixblight

    @5

    The point is its their game. Todd and the team know what direction they want with the game. ” They are the music makers… and they are the dreamers of dreams. ”

    Its a product, you can just not buy it. I once enjoyed Resident Evil but now I do not. Do I complain about their direction? No, Capcom as a developer decided to go the direction that they did. Just as Bathesda decided they wanted a game that is less about manipulating numbers and more of game that is about enjoying a new experience within the TES universe.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Ireland Michael

    “I lack the knowledge and the resources to make a videogame… but in terms of direction, i’d sure as hell know how to make a better open-world RPG than Skyrim.”

    Sure you do. *nod*

    #8 3 years ago
  9. YoungZer0

    @5: “I lack the knowledge and the resources to make a videogame… but in terms of direction, i’d sure as hell know how to make a better open-world RPG than Skyrim (or any TES game yet).”

    I bet you do, Mr. Potatohead.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. UuBuU

    @7 I’ll still buy it because I believe it will be an enjoyable game. It’s just not shaping up to be as good as I would’ve liked.

    Bethesda are a big company now, and big companies can’t afford to cater exclusively to niche audiences. They’re obviously trying to streamline the series and make it much more accessible to general gamers who might not normally be interested in RPGs. The downside of this is, the more people you try and please, the lesser your product will be for many. It’s simply not possible to please everyone.

    Some day, an unknown development team who can afford to cater to a niche audience will come along and pull the rug out from under Bethesda’s feet by making a great open world RPG specifically aimed at fans of open world RPGs. Something similar will likely happen to Bioware as well, who are in a similar position of being too big to cater to niche audiences.

    @8 Of course I do. It’s really not hard having an idea for a great game. The hard parts are making it, and making it sell. The kind of game i’d make would only appeal to a small audience, but it would be a much better open world RPG than Skyrim.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Phoenixblight

    @10

    You can just use Oblivion Engine to make your game. THe Assets are there, the scripting is there, tutorials are even there. The only thing stopping you from making a mod illustrating your vision of TES “should be” is yourself.

    As far as your other statement, no it will be really difficult for any unknown developer to come up and take from Bathesda or Bioware not unless that company somehow pulls 100 million out of their ass to do so.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. viralshag

    You guys should play Mount & Blade. I was a late comer but it’s brilliant.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. ashers2ashers

    Sorry to have a comment that isn’t about Skyrim, but did the grammar of this article not piss anyone else off? I get that this piece was probably rushed to get it up ASAP and probably from a netbook or something (and my grammar’s surely not perfect most of the time) and excitement clearly got the better of this journalist. And I like the attempt at a writing style with short sentences to get points across and using “and” at the beginning of a sentence – that’s fine. But this doesn’t appear to have been proof-read by anyone:

    “…absolutely blown aback by what I had seen. The same could be for what I seen from gamescom…”

    “For the first time since I first seen it…”

    “…come November 11.

    Afterwards, you’re greeted” – after what exactly?

    Immediately after you finish creating your character, you’re immediately thrown into the world of Skyrim itself. And I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again: it looks amazing. There will be no two ways about, this is a stonkingly brilliant looking game. Immediately afterwards, a Bethesda rep points me towards a bandit camp if I am interested in some “action.”” – using the same word too much in a paragraph alone also annoys me, and in the case of the first sentence it doesn’t make sense to say immediately twice anyway.

    “- it should be worth nothing the game…”

    “because, guess what, some”

    “Nathan will have a more-detailed hands on of the game from PAX due soon, but from what I’ve played today, this will be, as I said above, the RPG of forever.” That sentence has 5 clauses?!

    I really don’t like to be grammar nazi, but felt like a vent and killing some time :)

    #13 3 years ago
  14. triggerhappy

    @ 13: stop moaning like a little girl.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. UuBuU

    @11 It still takes a hell of a lot of time, effort and resources to do properly. Not a one man job. Just look at the work that went into Nehrim.

    And i’m not saying an unknown developer could come along and make an open world RPG that outsells Bethesda straight away. It would take a long time, and several games to grow a sufficient fanbase. How do you think Bethesda got where they are now? They weren’t always big. It’s a cycle you can see with many products – not just video games. Nothing stays at the top forever because it’s difficult to be the best at something and please everyone at the same time.

    @12 Mount & Blade is great. That’s one thing I would’ve done differently if I were making Skyrim. I would’ve had realistic combat similar to M&B, instead of the lame cinematic wankery Bethesda have gone for. “Why improve Oblivion’s combat when we can just sugar coat it with finisher moves? That’ll get us a few more sales because we know how much casual monkeys love over the top action moves and finishers”.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Phoenixblight

    “And i’m not saying an unknown developer could come along and make an open world RPG that outsells Bethesda straight away. It would take a long time, and several games to grow a sufficient fanbase. How do you think Bethesda got where they are now? They weren’t always big. It’s a cycle you can see with many products – not just video games. Nothing stays at the top forever because it’s difficult to be the best at something and please everyone at the same time.”

    You are comparing it to a time when video games cost to develop was a drop in a pond compared to what it costs to make a game now a days and to get the current system. You can imagine what will be the cost to make a game for the next console will cost.

    ANd what you are complaining about is mostly the system and the UI itself compared to the actual game those are easy tweaks and don’t take as much time as the game. You start with baby steps creating a system implementing, seeing the reaction and then improve it and add from there. Creating your own mod would be difficult what you have been mentioning is child’s play compared to the entire game. You think most modders started as a team of people?

    #16 3 years ago
  17. UuBuU

    @16 Again, i’m talking about a long process. Of course it takes a lot of money to make a well polished game that’s going to sell well. Anyone looking to challenge Bethesda would need to start off small with fairly low budget games, build a niche fanbase, and go from there, bringing in new fans with every release.

    Bethesda and Bioware won’t dominate the RPG genre forever. Someone will come along at some point and capitalise on their shortcomings. I’m almost certain of it.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. Phoenixblight

    “Bethesda and Bioware won’t dominate the RPG genre forever. Someone will come along at some point and capitalise on their shortcomings. I’m almost certain of it.”

    I am not saying they will be dominating the genre forever but it will be a lot harder to not only make the game but to some how dominate Bathesda or Bioware market share. It costs a minimum to make a game 30 million then to market it you need to have the same amount or more to get it known. If you are taking about an Indie company, well history has shown in those cases what happens is the bigger companies buy them out or takes their general idea.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. IrrationalGamer

    I suggest that everyone who loves a good action rpg check out Dark Souls. It needs to be hyped up more, since Skyrim is taking all of the mainstream press. Dark Souls is out October 4th in NA.

    There are live video streams happening thanks to Japanese players:

    Suffice to say, you will see spoilers, but if that’s what will get you into the game, then so be it.

    This guy is hillarious: http://www.twitch.tv/syakinta

    http://www.twitch.tv/vxds210
    http://www.twitch.tv/moruid
    http://www.twitch.tv/rx_888
    http://www.twitch.tv/monemonet

    #19 3 years ago
  20. Phoenixblight

    @19

    It became a fight between Rage and Dark Souls and ID won. I will get the game eventually when I am not swamped with Rage, Skyrim and Silent Hill.

    #20 3 years ago

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