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-   -   Skyrim - Struggling one year later @ Joystiq (http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18791)

Dhruin December 2nd, 2012 19:50

Skyrim - Struggling one year later @ Joystiq
 
Rowan Kaiser's weekly RPG column at Joystiq talks about how he can't connect with Skyrim, despite a year of trying:
Quote:

And Skyrim is full of these occasions. Bethesda's latest title in the longstanding franchise has the relative beauty of Ultima VII, the magic of Daggerfall, and the emergent narrative of Far Cry 2. I get sequences in Skyrim where I'm faced with an impending dragon attack, introducing a beast much too powerful for my character. Worried about my survival, I duck into a tomb for safety only to be greeted by the most powerful undead adversary I've yet to meet. Stuck between both, and at the edge of a cliff, I fall and hope to catch tiny ledges on my way down. If I survive, the music calms and I can limp into town to lick my wounds and consider my next step.
But as fantastic as those moments are, they're matched by problems elsewhere throughout the game. Skyrim's quest system is a constant annoyance to me, with compass arrows proving both necessary and over-deterministic, ruining the exploratory feeling that was Skyrim at its best (I wrote on the quest issue specifically before I had this column). Its characters and plot, to me, felt thin. Its character progression and crafting progress are occasionally effective, but more often the experience was lukewarm. Its world is big and beautiful but the only task I felt players could effectively accomplish was to go out and kill monsters via a combat system that lacked any kind of depth.
More information.

cptbarkey December 2nd, 2012 19:50

these complaints are pretty much consistent throughout the daggerfall series, nothing new here except conjecture. I very much enjoyed the game and do not bother to publish contrary tripe for the sake of being a hipster critic.

sakichop December 2nd, 2012 20:18

The only thing I've struggled with is timed exclusive dlc and which mods to install.

Almost 300 hrs and counting.

Bedwyr December 2nd, 2012 20:29

That's exactly the thing detractors often miss. TES is about massive size, implicitly emergent play, strongly simulated worlds, and complex, deep history. It's less about strong narrative through characterization (Bioware style), explicitly emergent play (Minecraft), or strong balance of systems (the better combat so many people want).

I do think that Bethsoft tackles a number of goals for each game that expand their scope and ability, but retain focus on what makes a TES game a TES game. So while I've seen narrative, combat systems, and crafting systems improve incrementally, they aren't the guiding maxim: "Live another life, in another world." Things like exquisitely balanced combat mechanics run up against the hugeness. The dev teams try, but always in the confines of TES's MO. As Pete Hines always harps: "We make 'em big, people."

CountChocula December 2nd, 2012 20:31

Quote:

I started three characters, and gave up on each after 15-25 levels without significant progress on any major questline
I did the same, but that's simply my preferred way to play this game. Each of those characters lasted about 100-200 hours and I started a new character around level 25-30, whenever the combat started to become too easy on Master difficulty. Then I started installing mods and tried a fourth and fifth character, in total several hundred hours with a lot of content still untouched.

Haven't started any of the quests for Dawnguard, Hearthfire, Dark Brotherhood or Imperial Legion yet, really looking forward to these. So far with my previous characters I've only completed the main quest, Stormcloaks and Companions questlines.

rune_74 December 2nd, 2012 20:35

Is Joystiq still a legit site?

TheMadGamer December 2nd, 2012 21:05

That article actually reflects greatly how I feel about the entire TES series. It also reflects a lot of threads here and elsewhere essentially entitled, 'TES games lack a soul' and this article does a good job at articulating why.

But TES games are TES games. They do not have a strong narrative and they really do require player-made roleplaying to inject 'soul' into the game.

I'm partially successful at accomplishing that, in small doses. It's why I think the typical TES game takes me years to traverse. I had only just wrapped up Oblivion a few months before Skyrim was released. TES games can grab me here and there, but then, like the author, certain aspects about the game cut me loose for stretches of time. But then I return and eventually get grabbed again. And the cycle repeats for years.

After Oblivion, I've finally come to just imbrace what TES games have to offer instead of nagging in forums for TES games to have a stronger narrative and in-game purpose. The TES series is a good one and the only thing I want Bethesda to improve at this point is their polish.

Carnifex December 2nd, 2012 21:37

No expansion whatsoever, I've been done with Skyrim since December….of '11. Don't expect that to change.



-Carn

Carbon December 2nd, 2012 21:40

Ive always felt that Bioware games tell you a story, while TES games allow you to make your own. They are the ultimate sandbox games where you get to choose without restraints, and depending on your playstyle it can be as deep or as shallow as you want it to be. If you are a CoD player you might "finish" all questlines and guilds and be satisfied, while a roleplayer with a clear view on his/her characters might replay the game with different playstyles for each. I love the deep engaging character driven games like Torment, but feel a special kind of freedom with the sanbox rpgs

CrazyIrish December 2nd, 2012 22:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheMadGamer (Post 1061173891)
….They do not have a strong narrative and they really do require player-made roleplaying to inject 'soul' into the game….

I think this is a major and oft-missed point. Since Arena, these games, more than any others I have played, encourage & reward in game LARPing if you will. Unfortunately this is not something everyone can do, and for them, they must take the games at their face value. Which isn't necessarily bad, but is definitely a different experience.

Fluent December 2nd, 2012 22:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bedwyr (Post 1061173887)
That's exactly the thing detractors often miss. TES is about massive size, implicitly emergent play, strongly simulated worlds, and complex, deep history. It's less about strong narrative through characterization (Bioware style), explicitly emergent play (Minecraft), or strong balance of systems (the better combat so many people want).

I do think that Bethsoft tackles a number of goals for each game that expand their scope and ability, but retain focus on what makes a TES game a TES game. So while I've seen narrative, combat systems, and crafting systems improve incrementally, they aren't the guiding maxim: "Live another life, in another world." Things like exquisitely balanced combat mechanics run up against the hugeness. The dev teams try, but always in the confines of TES's MO. As Pete Hines always harps: "We make 'em big, people."

Excellent points and I agree.

I personally don't want to see a TES game become a Bioware game.

That said, I have no problems at all with the narrative in TES games. I think it's actually quite good. The main quests of the Elder Scrolls games has been excellent in the 3 games I have played (Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim). The side quests add a whole different dimension to the narrative, supporting it in subtle ways.

The narrative is also made good by the huge amount of rich history and lore that supports it. Also, the hundreds of side quests and factions and other tidbits of lore and vast amount of dialog add a lot to the overall narrative. I mean, you can read books in an Elder Scrolls game that tells you the history of the world you are living in and how it ties in with the current quest you are on. That's not good narrative?

I also have no problem with the characters. I don't want to see Bioware romances and that sort of thing. They are fine as they are. All the TES games have had memorable characters in my opinion.

Long live Bethesda. Hopefully they continue to improve their games but they keep the core "soul" of their games in tact. I'm pretty sure they know what makes an ES game an ES game though and will continue to build on those things.

Thrasher December 2nd, 2012 22:30

TES games are best if you use your own imagination, which is also what pen and paper role playing is mainly about.

Fluent December 2nd, 2012 22:33

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thrasher (Post 1061173904)
TES games are best if you use your own imagination, which is also what pen and paper role playing is mainly about.

Yep, 100% agree. The more imagination you use the better their games are.

wolfing December 2nd, 2012 23:06

I know I'm in the minority, but I enjoyed Oblivion so much more than Skyrim. I played Oblivion from start to finish, twice, loved every minute of it. I've tried to play Skyrim twice now, both abandoned at some random point about 15 or so hours into it. It just doesn't grab me.

ChienAboyeur December 2nd, 2012 23:13

Quote:

I get sequences in Skyrim where I'm faced with an impending dragon attack, introducing a beast much too powerful for my character. Worried about my survival, I duck into a tomb for safety only to be greeted by the most powerful undead adversary I've yet to meet. Stuck between both, and at the edge of a cliff, I fall and hope to catch tiny ledges on my way down. If I survive, the music calms and I can limp into town to lick my wounds and consider my next step.
What game was he playing? Because how to get that in Skyrim? Dragon attacking, okay. Ducking into a tomb to face the most powerful undead adversary? Stuck between both? Limping into town to lick his wounds?

If that guy has that of imagination to create situations that do not exist in the game, imagination can not be the problem.

sakichop December 2nd, 2012 23:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur (Post 1061173912)
What game was he playing? Because how to get that in Skyrim? Dragon attacking, okay. Ducking into a tomb to face the most powerful undead adversary? Stuck between both? Limping into town to lick his wounds?

If that guy has that of imagination to create situations that do not exist in the game, imagination can not be the problem.

He was embellishing obviously but it's entirely possible to run from a dragon into a cave which has very powerful undead, barely get out of the cave alive, fall down a small cliff, live and barely make it to town.

It just sounds a lot better the way he said it.

sakichop December 2nd, 2012 23:57

There are plenty of rpg's with tight narratives that lead you with purpose from point to point until you reach the end of the game.

I see no need to turn tes games into one. Also, one could argue that if you just follow the main quest that tes games actually could provide that too.

elikal December 3rd, 2012 01:18

I can't share this critique. But I guess Elder Scroll games are simply not for everyone. *shrug* I like it as it is.

Melvil December 3rd, 2012 01:59

I've always felt that the Gothic series attained the best balance between open world and narrative direction, while TES to me was always about wandering around and seeing what would happen in whatever direction I chose to explore.

Fluent December 3rd, 2012 02:09

Quote:

Originally Posted by sakichop (Post 1061173918)
There are plenty of rpg's with tight narratives that lead you with purpose from point to point until you reach the end of the game.

I see no need to turn tes games into one. Also, one could argue that if you just follow the main quest that tes games actually could provide that too.

Exactly.

And not only the main quest - You can find a decent narrative in any of the factions, or even side quests in the game. There are many narratives for you to play around with.


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