The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Preview

Here's another hands-on preview for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim fresh from QuakeCon, courtesy of AusGamers, which talks about leveling up your acrobatic skill, though I'm not sure whether that's an error on part on the journalist or not. Obligatory sampling ahead:
During my cross-country marathon, I came across a lot of items to pick for the obligatory crafting component of the game, including a bee-hive where I could even harvest a bee. I could also kill the bees buzzing around the hive, and also dragonflies floating around a stream, adding an even deeper sense of interactive life to the game-world. If I'd had longer than an hour with the game, I would have actively explored how deep and diverse its ecology is, but even from a few small encounters with insects and other animals (a wolf attacked me and I saw plenty of other docile life), it's a safe bet Sir David Attenborough could make a documentary wildlife series about the world of Skyrim.

But it's not just the animals you need to be weary of, and I mentioned earlier I'd encountered a few bandits, but what I wasn't ready for was the level of sophistication the baddies have apparently been granted here. Certainly fighting a rogue bandit on a road is something of a staple for the series, but walking under a makeshift bridge with a hostile gentleman above, clearly annoyed I was on his turf, and thus dropping pre-set boulders on me, is not. This was then followed by an ambush of his cohorts, ready for anyone the boulders didn't crush, and while I did make quick work of them, it was an exhilarating encounter nonetheless, if not for the visceral combat that seamlessly flows through the game's DNA, then just for the creative scenarios through which you utilise it.

Of course when you're not coming across hostile enemies, raiding bee hives or swatting dragonflies with your sword, there's more than enough eye-candy to keep your attention glued to the screen. And it's not just the technical aspect of how this looks in comparison to previous efforts, either. At one point I came across a small empty hut harboring a chest with a few goodies to loot and an empty bed to sleep in if I wanted to - nothing out of the ordinary here. Just outside the hut, however, were the charred remains of the hut's former inhabitants who were clearly burned alive, with one even still in a kneeling pose; genuflecting her life to the bullish thugs who raided this outpost. Just a few meters away was another body draped over log, this time featuring stab wounds. Something very gnarly had gone on here.