Skyrim: Late to the Party

Howdy. Hi. Hello. Hey there (whichever you’d prefer, that’s how I’ll begin – just chalk off the ones you don’t like).

The great thing about the written word is that you can imagine what kind of voice is reading it out in your head. For me that’s one of the better advantages of reading a book. For all those times where you’d miss the enchanting narrative skills of Morgan Freeman in a movie not narrated by Morgan Freeman, you can imagine and apply his voice in your head as you read. And for me that can apply to, well, pretty much any novel. Although once in a while it is nice to try and imagine the sort of voice the author intended you to imagine, if he/she had such intensions.

Written reviews are no different. I mean, I don’t expect you to imagine Morgan Freeman reading this out to you as you take in each word. But in writing this article, rather than recording my *not* very easy to listen to voice alongside my un-photogenic face, you are free to utilise whatever ‘reading in your head’ voice you wish, as I ramble on about games. And that’s my gift to you. Enjoy.

Here’s my first in the ‘Late to the Party’ series, which follows on from my ‘Perks of PC Gaming’ post – in which I explain how I always buy my PC games a few years after they’re released to save a bit of cash, subsequently making me a bit behind when it comes to experiencing them. Anyway, enough of the very long intro and on to the game itself…

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

As I write this, I’m trying very hard not to repeat Ian’s review of the game; ‘A Year in Skyrim’, which covers all the important details to do with how the game plays and the good and bad aspects of it. So instead of regurgitating this I’m going to give you a few stories of my experience of the game, and a few moments I’ve particularly enjoyed. Needless to say, I absolutely love the game! Bethesda have done a fantastic job here.

Chants of “Dovahkiin! Dovahkiin!” immediately spring to mind as I think about this game. The Skyrim theme, as featured above is the real catalyst that makes playing the game so incredible. Hearing that song being played over the sound of dragons roaring and swords crashing together is enough to get any gamer a bit giddy. Its moments like this that makes you think “this game is awesome”.

But for my generic Nord character, who always seems to have an extremely vacant look on his face, the adventure didn’t get off to the best of starts…

Now when I say he has a vacant expression, he has this look on his face all the time. Times when he’s talking to people is the worst, as he just comes across as plain rude, but even when he’s fighting he looks away with the fairies with a touch of angry eyebrow syndrome. I think he was going for a ‘mysterious’ look, but to be perfectly honest I think my character is just a bit stupid. And [spoiler alert] he’s supposed to be the ‘Dragonborn’, the saviour of Skyrim. This little snippet of the game really does make me chuckle, and just to point out it’s definitely not a criticism of how well it’s made, just something that amuses me.

Typical Vacant Expression from the Dragonborn (left)

Typical Vacant Expression from the Dragonborn (left)

So on to my character’s first encounter with a dragon. Naturally, being the Dragonborn, I expected to shoot the dragon out of the sky with some incredibly accurate bow skills, and then finish it off by climbing on its head and stabbing it with a sword. But no, I decided it would be best to gain a vantage point from the top of a nearby ruined tower, and take it on from up there. It was only once I got into the tower that I realised that the dragon had landed some way outside, and I needed to get back outside to get to it. Meanwhile two Whiterun guards had followed me in, blocking my exit. Fantastic.

So as the stronger NPCs slowly took down the dragon, I was trying to walk around the guards that were standing in the doorway (I’m one of those players that will do everything I can to avoid killing people I’m not supposed to – I’m nice like that). After the dragon was killed, the guards walked back towards its remains, allowing my freedom out of the tower. Yes! I then walked very slowly, strutting almost, towards the dragon, where I absorbed its soul and received an awful lot of praise off the characters around me.

Getting stuck in doorways is a recurring theme of my adventure in Skyrim. However this is usually caused by my companion Lydia. If you’re familiar with the game, you’ll probably be familiar with Lydia. She is a companion that accompanies you on your quests, and will frustrate you to no end. She will get in the way a lot, and blow your cover by charging in at the first sight of an enemy, despite your clear intentions of taking a stealthy approach, signalled by pressing the ‘sneak’ button. But you learn to love her, and your shouts of “LYDIA! NO!” will soon turn into “oh Lydia…” with a roll of the eyes and a crack of a smile.

Apologies for the very long post, its’ been a while since I’ve written one and I got a bit carried away. I’ll finish things off here with a few things I’ve learnt about this game:

  • You will run into battles thinking you’re a badass, realise you’re not quite a high enough level and try and run away. This will happen a lot.
  • As a result of the first point, you will die a lot.
  • Lydia is a legend. She will frustrate you, but your journey is a lot better because of her.
  • You will get a horrible ‘heart-in-mouth’ feeling every time she gets in the way of you attacking someone.
  • You will learn to save often and keep backup saves in case Lydia dies.
  • The soundtrack takes the game from ‘great’ to ‘legendary’ status.
  • Killing dragons never gets boring, even if you spend the whole time hiding in a tower.

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