The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Previews

We have rounded up two more previews for Bethesda's highly anticipated open-world action-RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, starting with a piece from DeltaGamer, based on the playable build showcased at Eurogamer Expo:
I opted for a Nord female, Skyrim is the Nord homeland after all, so why not? Immediately I was on my way, bouncing along a path through the countryside, the snow capped mountains ahead of me and the sound of a river running.It looked excellent, though admittedly the Xbox 360 version is suffering with a lot of jagged edges at the moment (as is the PS3 version, I would assume), though this is not the final build of the game. The environments are richly detailed. No wait, vastly detailed.No.gorgeously detailed. The place feels alive, I stopped for 30 seconds to marvel at a rabbit hopping merrily nearby before I was suddenly set upon by wolves. After I quickly and efficiently dispatched said wolves and collected their pelts, I went back to admiring my surroundings. I drank in the salmon leaping in the river, the sound of the trees rustling in the wind.I'm getting all wistful just thinking about it!


The whole package is slicker than ever before and Bethesda have clearly gone to great lengths to improve not just the combat and gameplay experience but the whole interface from the way you navigate Skyrim's jagged rock formations to the way your skills are mapped out into personal star constellations as you progress. Sure, you spend a lot of time in menus, switching between items and weapons but this an RPG, it has an inventory and it's also a game that promotes you using different weapons, items or abilities for different situations. In my short time with the game I switched regularly between healing spells, the aforementioned fire spewing spell, a trusty little bow and a sword and shield combination. Bethesda have made navigating these menus as simple as they can on the console and it's much better than the way similar activities were handled in Oblivion.

Then to finish we move on to Geek Mandem:
Walking through a town is an incredible experience the first few times; players of earlier Bethesda games will recognize some NPC behavior, such as people stopping in the street to converse about events as the player passes. However, unlike Oblivion, the dialogue is a lot more interesting and unique if you keep moving. Only by hovering around the same NPCs over and over will you hear them start to fall back on generic dialogue, and they get new topics as things happen in the world, which is a nice touch. One of my favorite moments was talking to a blacksmith as he ground an axe on a wheel; rather than put it down and stand just to talk to me, I was able to watch as he continued his work while indulging my need for conversation. Again, a small detail that really got my attention when it happened (incidentally, the same blacksmith is shown in one of the preview videos on the ES site, posted above, if you want to see his behavior).

Combat is something that has especially improved with the long-awaited introduction of true dual-wielding abilities! You can wield two weapons, a weapon and spell, two spells, or go sword and board with a shield if you like. Generic combat has faded away with Oblivion as well, as you learn to do things such as shield bash, charge up and hold spells, and other neat effects. You can even dual wield the same spell in each hand for increased effects. In addition, there are now more effective special maneuvers for melee weapons; this leads to occasional impaling of enemies, or other special animations that really look cool when they happen. It also makes the combat feel more (real), which helps create better immersion into the game system. While I eventually got bored with Oblivion's combat due to the ease of being able to fake out the AI of most creatures, I never had that feeling in Skyrim. Each enemy attacked in a way that made them a genuine threat if not taken seriously. The left vs right hand system has been done well, and I think most people will enjoy certainly impressed me!

I'm personally not sure why the author finds it surprising that he hasn't experienced the same feeling of tiredness with the combat as Oblivion after playing a 1 hour demo of Skyrim.