A Strange Return to Skyrim

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has published a short piece from Alec Meer, who explains how returning to Skyrim with an old, overpowered character allowed him to experience the game's greatest strength, exploration, without being fettered by the combat and dungeoneering loop. Here's a snippet:

It’s genuinely liberating, and thanks to whacking uGrids all the way up to 11, I’m stopping to admire the scenery a whole lot more. Whatever its other problems, Skyrim has wonderful ambience once you’re in the mountains, away from people and towns and just taking in the scale and loneliness and the sound of wind.

I’ve often found that my feeligns towards Bethesda games corrupt over time. I start off with awe at the scale, fall into a trap of obsessively pursuing loot and upgrades, then have a Truman Show moment where I become conscious of the tricks used to fake the illusion. My feeling morphs from fondness into contempt, and while there a just reasons for it, it’s never been entirely fair.

I had a great time with Skyrim until it became the Arrow To The Knee game, and I realised that all I’d really done is kill. Feeling that Oblivion was a little bit embarrassing makes even less sense – some of its presentation was ridiculous and it leant too much towards generic fantasyscapes, but it was a better game for mining strange things out of. (Their Fallout games a different. I never enjoyed 3, and 4 I thought was a huge improvement but became quickly fatigued by its relentless kill focus).