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Default The Elder Scrolls - Ranking Arena to Skyrim

December 14th, 2011, 21:11
DigitallyDownloaded.net sent us this link that ranks the Elder Scrolls games. Oblivion and Skyrim are the lowest ranked, with Morrowind coming out on top. The Morrowind result mirrors our own poll some time back but Skyrim hadn't been released at the point. A sample:
4. Skyrim
As I discussed in my review of Skyrim, there are some issues that hold this game back from being truly great. Bethesda’s inability to adjust the combat system to take into account the brilliance we’ve seen in the likes of Dark Souls, as well some of the nastiest bugs this side of Fallout New Vegas holds the game back from a technical perspective.

On the other hand, the game is one of breathtaking scope. Rare is the game where I can spend an hour, if not more, just reading the in-game books of lore that have come from the previous four games. Every time I came across a bookshelf I felt a need to read each and every tome, because this is a breathing world with a real sense of history about it.

It was also good to see Bethesda step back to the more open structure in Skyrim. Oblivion had me a bit worried the series was heading in a more linear direction.
More information.
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December 14th, 2011, 21:11
I think it's somewhat weak to hold back Skyrim so far back on the basis of bugs. And what's with the comparison to Dark Souls' combat? The game should be compared on its own merits - Oblivion's combat wasn't as good as Twilight Princess's and Morrowind's wasn't as good as Jedi Knight II's! Arbitrary comparison if you ask me. All of these games have been buggy upon release. I haven't really played all of them enough to make a judgment, but I could see it ending up as

1. Skyrim (Morrowind possibly)
2. Morrowind (Skyrim possibly)
3. Daggerfall
4. Oblivion (possibly Arena)
5. Arena (possibly Oblivion)

Daggerfall and Arena are kind of difficult to play by today's standards. Heck, I thought Daggerfall was kind of difficult to play by the standards of when it was released, but I think it's pretty certain that it will fall at #3 in my books. As critical as I am about Oblivion, it had a huge amount of pretty good quests and despite the leveling issues, it wasn't nearly as random as Arena. Morrowind made the biggest step to modernizing the series, but Oblivion helped a bit in that regard too (also took it from hardcore rpg to mainstream - which is both good and bad).
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December 14th, 2011, 23:45
Yeah and Dark Souls in not a first person game ( AFAIK). It would be better to compare it to Dark Messiah regarding combat.
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December 15th, 2011, 00:17
Unfortunately skyrim's combat is also much worse than dark messiah of m&m. Combat is by far the worst part of skyrim imo. Too bad to because the rest is excellent.
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December 15th, 2011, 00:54
I've never played Dark Souls or Dark Messiah, but I have been enjoying the hell out of Skyrim's combat, with different characters focusing on 2-handed, sword/shield, dual wield stealth daggers, archery, conjuration and destruction magic.

And I play 90% of the game in third person.

I've never played Arena or Daggerfall, but having played lots of different games over the past 20-odd years, I would rank Skyrim as hands down the single most enjoyable game I've ever played, certainly it has been much more fun to play than Morrowind and Oblivion, which are also among my favorite games.
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December 15th, 2011, 01:08
The combat system works well enough for me, main complaints are with the level-scaling which takes most of the fun out of character progression and half the fun out of exploration and the dullness of most quests.

What's so bad about Skyrim's combat?
Last edited by KapitanUnterhosen; December 15th, 2011 at 01:50.
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December 15th, 2011, 01:57
Skyrim would be a lot more fun if it wasn't level scaled.
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December 15th, 2011, 02:47
"the brilliance we’ve seen in the likes of Dark Souls"

Oh my word, that steaming pile of sadistic crap having to play the same sections over and over and over and over again — hey the 1920s want their save system back!!!

Bitter, party of one for me lol.
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December 15th, 2011, 03:04
I've come to the conclusion that hardcore gamers are sadomasochists. There, I said it. Just look at the violent imagery and their luv of tedious roleplaying?
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December 15th, 2011, 05:14
Originally Posted by zz View Post
Skyrim would be a lot more fun if it wasn't level scaled.
I suppose Gothic 2 and BG2 would also be more fun if they weren't level scaled as well?

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December 15th, 2011, 05:48
Originally Posted by zz View Post
Skyrim would be a lot more fun if it wasn't level scaled.
It's definitely there, but I really don't think it's too bad. I have used a glass mace for nearly half my time with the game (though I am only level 21) and have barely run into any other glass items. I just found a glass sword that I might start using instead. I have also been wearing the same equipment since getting through the mage college quests. Certainly not as bad as Oblivion. I have noticed my character getting stronger against the competition.
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December 15th, 2011, 06:01
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
I suppose Gothic 2 and BG2 would also be more fun if they weren't level scaled as well?
The level scaling in those two games was almost nonexistent and much different than any Beth game.

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December 15th, 2011, 06:11
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
The level scaling in those two games was almost nonexistent and much different than any Beth game.
Afaik, Gothic 2 has no level scaling whatsoever.

I didn't even realize BG2 had level scaling until I read about it in a forum long after I had finished it. You can't get much more subtle than that.
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December 15th, 2011, 06:44
I did the same thing just now to check and see if he was right.

As far as I knew there was no level scaling in either game, but I guess there is some for BG2. Hardly noticible though.

As for G2 I think he might be talking about how the enemies respawn stronger after certain points in the game. I wouldn't necessarily call that level scaling, but it's the only thing I can think of that was even close.

Sorta silly to even try to compare them to any Beth game.

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December 15th, 2011, 08:07
I still don't understand where all these "massive bugs!!" are coming from in Skyrim…After playing for 90+ hours, I have yet to run into any bug that is even remotely serious. I had a quest reward/end quest dialogue not trigger for one of the early Companions quests, but it didn't break the questline and I was able to continue as if it never happened. That's the worst bug I've hit, and I've only experienced a few other minor ones…surely I haven't been just "lucky" to not hit any major bugs in over 90 hours? Now, there are certainly glitches, mostly dealing with the physics engine, but these do not effect the game in any way, so they hardly qualify the game as "buggy" in my book. That's not to say that bugs don't exist just because i haven't run across them myself, but I do think that perhaps the "buggy" label has been blown out of proportion a bit.

I like the combat in Skyrim, although it could definitely use some more variety. Once you shape your playstyle, it does become fairly "rinse and repeat" without different combat moves/attack directions/counters/etc available. That said, I do find the combat satisfying even with its lack of diversity, and that's all that matters when it comes to how I judge a combat system of this nature.

And of course the combat in Dark Souls is better…combat is the entire focus of the game!! That's not to say that there's anything wrong with Dark Souls' design, it's just a completely different game designed with a completely different experience in mind.
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December 15th, 2011, 10:44
As someone who played Dark Souls immediately before Skyrim, I found that I couldn't help but compare them. Dark Souls' combat is amazing, and it really highlights how bad Skyrim's is.

As for Dark Souls' save system - it saves constantly. If you quit and then reload, you'll be exactly where you were, in exactly the same situation. It's a very modern save-system. I think what you and some others are objecting to, is actually the death-system, i.e. that there is actually a death penalty. It means that you actually have to learn how to do each section, rather than just stumble through with quick-save spam.

It's not for everyone, that is for sure. However, the point is that its combat is sublime, absolutely superlative. Of course, that means that any game with similar combat will suffer by comparison, but Skyrim suffers a lot.
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December 15th, 2011, 11:13
Ok.. I've played a bit of Arena now (filling in time between Skyrim patches.. a fact that doesn't help it in my own personal rankings lol..), and I have to say, it's quite average..

I am no graphics hussy, nor am I oblivious to quality art direction (Oblivion reference intentional), but I think I had to play Arena in it's prime to appreciate it.. it's just to clunk for me to like/love (and I wanted to, for sure). I have only just gotten out of the first dungeon and shiver me timbers, I feel like i've been gnawing at my own arm to get away it's been that frustrating. I do however, really rate Daggerfall - I think a 2012 version of Daggerfall (with the scope/slightly more mature vibe/originality) would be KILLER. As it stands, the original vanilla is still playable and incredibly fun, and I can appreciate it's qualities - definately a massive step up from Arena.

Oblivion was my first Elder Scrolls, and, at the time, I loved it.. but I fear it was a case of 'the virgin falling in love with his first lay' haha.. no base of comparison does wonders for a game like Oblivion - so i'll let it rest knowing I loved it when I played it. Saying that, after playing Morrowind (my 2nd TES game) and Skyrim most recently (159 hours in, hardly touched the main quest, not sure what i've been doing to be honest, but i've been loving it) - and when comparing Oblivion with the two big boys (what I call them), there really is no comparison.

I rate Skyrim #1 thanks to the sheer fun playing on Master as a Battlemage.. and the story is good, (as good as massive open world games get without a controlled narrative) and there quests/artifacts/lore around the land are as good as it gets in a sandbox RPG. Morrowind nearly edged it out (played MW/BM/TR last year on PC with only minimal mods to keep it original as possible - except for better bodies, mandatory..). It does get a bit dull at times, and I fear it's the popamole in me hating on the downtime (being so used to the Mass Effects / Dragon Ages / Witchers etc), but regardless it's a great game - albeit a bit broken (after 9 years you think all the bugs would be worked out..haha).

So, little rant over - my ratings : Skyrim / Morrowind / Daggerfall / Oblivion / Arena -
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December 15th, 2011, 11:29
Originally Posted by Badesumofu View Post
As someone who played Dark Souls immediately before Skyrim, I found that I couldn't help but compare them. Dark Souls' combat is amazing, and it really highlights how bad Skyrim's is.

As for Dark Souls' save system - it saves constantly. If you quit and then reload, you'll be exactly where you were, in exactly the same situation. It's a very modern save-system. I think what you and some others are objecting to, is actually the death-system, i.e. that there is actually a death penalty. It means that you actually have to learn how to do each section, rather than just stumble through with quick-save spam.

It's not for everyone, that is for sure. However, the point is that its combat is sublime, absolutely superlative. Of course, that means that any game with similar combat will suffer by comparison, but Skyrim suffers a lot.
Can't really compare Dark Souls and Skyrim… Dark Souls is a war of attrition, strategic hack-n-slash with a dash of fantasy horror to keep your story censors from going into a coma (this is not a negative, it just isn't a story/lore based game at all - it's about achieving and conquering then moving forward). A great game and very satisfying but a TOTALLY different style of game.

DS has much better visceral (I hate that word) combat, more responsive controls and better intensity in battles for sure - but I prefer Skyrim (only on Master though, it gives you a real challenge and you really fear some of the tougher foes). I prefer Skyrim despite it's shortcomings in those areas previously mentioned, because of the world/lore/stories/ambience/variety in characters and so on.. It's a world based game, and that's where its strengths lie - the combat is only 1 of about 40 things to focus on in Skyrim, it's just one cog in the epic journey, and I must say it is GREATLY improved over any previous Elder Scrolls game - being a Battlemage is truly fun now.. makes MW/Oblivion's fighting feel so bad now.. Morrowind not so much as Oblivion, as the dice rolls actually differentiate the system and make it slightly more like old school D20 vibes.. where as Oblivion's clunkfest was ok for me when I was playing it - saying that, it was my first Elder Scrolls game, and I don't think i'll be revisiting it again to be honest - Daggerfall is far better at being an Elder Scrolls game and it came out a decade before it.

Anyways - My main point is Dark Souls is a GREAT hack n slash adventure, with combat strategy/nerve/tactics being the focus on it's high intensity ride (I finished it a few days before Skyrim also, so I get what you mean re: the combat being excellent) : and Skyrim is a GREAT open-world adventure with improved combat (great by TES standards)/BRILLIANT sense of a real world with the deep lore and continuity within and leading to quests off the beaten path, and Story - by far the best Story (and by that I mean a culmination of MANY different significant stories and characters that meld to make a very grand, super empowering adventure)..

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December 15th, 2011, 12:10
As I discussed in my review of Skyrim, there are some issues that hold this game back from being truly great. Bethesda’s inability to adjust the combat system to take into account the brilliance we’ve seen in the likes of Dark Souls, as well some of the nastiest bugs this side of Fallout New Vegas holds the game back from a technical perspective.
It's understandable that Morrowind would rank #1, because the combat is awesome and it was completely bug-free.

Oh…wait….

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December 15th, 2011, 12:13
Yes, it's especially amusing to have Morrowind rank that high - considering it has the worst combat system of any TES game.
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