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GamesRadar's Anna Washenko has penned a piece on the lockpicking minigame Bethesda has been regularly implementing in their titles since Fallout 3. She does a pretty good job at pointing out the way the minigame works, though I do feel she glosses over the fact that the action becomes extremely repetitive and mindless throughout the course of a playthrough.
Here's an excerpt from the piece:
Even though lockpicking is a minor diversion, it stands out within the pantheon of Bethesda side activities because of how tactile it is. We talk regularly in reviews about the “feel” of a game, and that’s a nebulous concept considering the player doesn’t actually touch more than a controller. But skilled game-makers can create an impressive amount of physical sensation across the gulf between couch and TV. Usually that happens by setting a mood with art and music. Bethesda excels in those areas, but with its lockpicking, the team’s use of controller shake delivers a real physical sensation that makes the skill so unique.
There’s the light buzz as you test the placement of your pick or pin. And if you’ve got it wrong, you feel just the briefest second of heavier vibration as the tool hovers on the brink of breaking. If you can react fast enough, you’ll get another go with the same pick; but keep spinning and it’ll snap with a satisfying crack. Couple that physical sensation with the sound of the pins tumbling into place as you move the picks and you’ve got a sensory masterpiece. The feel of it is one of the most satisfying parts to any Fallout or Elder Scrolls game.