The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Preview

VG247 is the latest website to give Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim the hands-on preview treatment, thanks to the build that was available at this summer's Penny Arcade Expo. Your usual excerpt:
. At first glance, it was just a run-of-the-mill bandit camp. However, as I approached, the camp's two dirt-encrusted inhabitants didn't immediately charge me, swords and voices raised. Instead, they attempted to warn me away. They obviously didn't want any trouble. Even so, I inched ever closer, curious to see how they'd react if this giant, musclebound fly didn't shoe.

When it became clear that I wasn't going anywhere, they finally took my bait, so I drew my axe and happily obliged them. Without a doubt, combat's more visceral this time around with vicious third-person VATS-style finishers really stealing the show but enemies still react to normal strikes like they're being buffeted by a particularly strong gust of wind and also they're made of wood. Power strikes sent the bandits stumbling backward in agony, but normal attacks were met with a barely noticeable grimace. It was like they felt bad for the axe chopping right through their clavicle, so they pretended to experience slight pain to make it feel better about itself. All told, combat's still markedly improved over Oblivion, but compared to everybody else this giant franchise is taking baby steps.

After that, I decided to follow the river, because that vicious, foamy mouthed wolf still hadn't gotten any more alluring. While doing so, I couldn't help but notice that even running on the Xbox (as opposed to PC the normal hands-off eye candy demo machine of choice) Skyrim is absolutely stunning visually. And I don't just mean that in the (This spectral wolf mapped gigahedron has precisely 76892329 ubertextures) sense, either. The world is extremely varied, and fantastic weather effects really bring it all to life. Wind-whipping, face-pounding thunderstorms, especially, made me feel like my mighty warrior prince needed to flee inside before he came down with a case of the sniffles.