The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Editorials and PS3 Performance Analysis

Not a day goes by without a new write-up on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim it seems, with plenty of pieces such as this GameRanx's editorial on the title's weather effects:
The first game I remember seeing random weather effects in was Ultima VII: The Black Gate. I do not know if it was the first ever although the series was responsible for so many firsts that it's entirely possible. The Elder Scrolls games have, in many ways, filled the same niche as the Ultima games. Both were crossover hits, the role-playing games that everyone played. But more importantly, both were open-world pioneers. In Ultima, shopkeepers kept their own hours, players could forge equipment and bake bread for profit, and the world's inhabitants lived in their own world, not a world built entirely for the player character. They're also both exploration-driven game types, where you can focus intently on a main quest, or wander around a forest and go spelunking if a cave catches your fancy. And it rains. In Ultima VII, you'll find rain quickly, wandering through a swamp that shows how dangerous the world is. It's appropriate. And excellent. It's worth noting, then, that the year the Elder Scrolls series started, 1994, is also the year that Ultima collapsed, thanks to the disaster of Ultima VIII: Pagan.

Stark Insider seems to be disappointed the title isn't "revolutionary":
As I watched the opening cuts (average), and spec'd my character (a dizzying array of personalization) I soon found myself in Helgen following an imperial soldier in and around dungeons and burning debris in a dramatic attempt to escaping a dragon. As the events played out, I found myself in an auto-pilot mode of sorts: turn left, follow guard down the path, turn right, open that chest, walk some more, kill that little bugger there with one easy slash, run some more.

With over 5 years of development under its belt, I was expecting a lot from Skyrim.

But it all feels so familiar.

1UP recommends some titles for people who like Skyrim, though I'm sure most of our readers are familiar with them and I have some doubts on some choices:
Avadon: The Black Fortress

The latest of Spiderweb Software's PC/Mac/iPad role-players, Avadon will be instantly familiar to anyone who played old-school top-down PC RPGs in the '90s -- Fallout, Ultima, that sort of thing. While those classic series have either moved along to more modern approaches or faded away, Spiderweb's catalog keeps tilling the same fertile soil to create similar but subtly different games. Avadon uses the same basic engine as the long-running Avernum series, but rather than offering a traditional four-member party drawn from many classes it instead revolves around one of four pre-defined characters who can optionally team up with one of four companions. Despite this somewhat limited up-front design, Avadon is a huge game offering tons of overlapping quests, free-roaming exploration, and multiple mutually exclusive outcomes to the story. Don't let the dated looks fool you; it's quite engrossing.

Finally, Eurogamer's Digital Foundry analyzes the framerate issues with the PlayStation 3 version of the title, in the aftermath of patch 1.02's release, here are their conclusions:
Overall it's clearly disappointing that these performance issues persist on PS3 even after patch 2.01. The way in which Bethesda addressed the 360's texture streaming issue gives us hope that the company is aggressively chasing problems but the fact that this issue hasn't been resolved with its first attempt clearly casts doubts over whether an absolute fix is possible.

It suggests that the firm knows what the problem is but fixing it completely is much more of a challenge than simply reworking some errant code. Certainly the patch note suggesting that the issue relates merely to "occasional performance issues resulting from long term play" is an extraordinary level of understatement based on the evidence on this page, not to mention community feedback on Bethesda's forums, plus the sterling work by Future's Tim Clark in highlighting the problem.

Of course, playing the PS3 version in short 30 minute bursts and rebooting is unacceptable as is expecting players to fork out for another version after investing so much time into their existing purchase. Ultimately, it appears the only way forward for now is to leave feedback for Bethesda, detailing where the problems crop up most in your game. It's a position paying customers shouldn't find themselves in and the implication that the game was released without proper testing is troubling, but the sooner the problem can be isolated, the better for everyone.