The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Previews

With Bethesda's latest installment to The Elder Scrolls making an appearance at PAX this weekend, it comes as no surprise that we have a few more previews to take in.

My only real guide was the compass at the top of my HUD that indicated nearby landmarks. Only, I didn't understand the symbols so well, so I just pointed myself towards the nearest one and hoped for the best. (Remember this part, it'll be important later.) interesting.

How good does Skyrim look? I made the journey towards the mystery landmark in third person, and continued almost exclusively that way for the whole of the demo. The animations of the main character in Oblivion were always so distractingly weird that I stuck to first person perspective. But I loved watching Edgar Winter navigate the expansive meadow, rocky hillsides and occasional salmon depositories.

As the for gameplay, and more specifically the controls, I may have been converted. I never really got into Elder Scrolls and I feel that it was the controls taking a main part in my disliking. The controls for Skyrim seem easy and intuitive. They are very simply; what you have in your left hand is controlled by the left trigger and what you have in the right hand is controlled by the right trigger. Although we didn't actually get to play the game, the general feel was that this put you right into the game. interesting.

This control scheme also allows the player to mix spells really quickly and easily; put one spell in one hand the another spell in the other hand and combine them by using both triggers. It's just that easy. The player can also make any spell more powerful by having the same spell in both hands and using the same concept.

And Thrifty Nerd:
The rest of what I played, and this was a late alpha version of the game, is what you expect from an Elder Scrolls game there's a vast, open world, and you get to do pretty much whatever you want. The combat is the same, and the interface is greatly improved. Gone is the book-slash-scroll motif that dominated the forefront of video game design of the past decade. Here is an intuitive, easy to use semi-transparent system that allows you to easily add favorites, and look at your inventory and decide incredibly quickly what gear you have, and whether or not it's better than what you currently have equipped. I tried my hand at some crafting and it was mildly interesting.

However, the biggest change I was able to discern in Skyrim was the revamped skill system. Previously, you gained skills by actually using them. Swing a one-handed sword enough times, and guess what? You get better at one-handed swords. Do you like bows and arrows? Shoot yours enough times, and you get better at shooting bows and arrows. Do you like wenches? You get the point. As practical as this is, it does leave something to be desired when it comes to the feeling of advancing. It's similar to comparing a staircase with a ramp with a gentle incline. With a more traditional level system where you gain benefits with the raising of each level, and where there are fewer levels, there is more of a concrete reward system with each level you do so much more damage, and you can feel it. In Oblivion, the increase in skill is so gradual that you don't really notice you are so much more powerful from when you started the game. Skyrim changes this slightly. The skill based system still exists. But each character level you gain, you can add a sort of a perk to one of your abilities, and this perk system is of the branching skill tree sort we are familiar with, and these perks make a difference. This is balanced by the fact that perks do have a skill minimum, to stop people from Min/Maxing.