By ahoodedfigure 24 Comments
So, in the intervening period a lot has happened. I don't need to go into details, but pertinent to one of the themes of this particular blog, I now have a PC capable of playing the games people have been talking about for the past half decade. You might think that someone who has at least been paying attention to all the news of new games would remaind relatively jaded when actually playing them, but no. I spent my first few hours of Skyrim thoroughly overwhelmed by the jump in graphics quality; it's one thing to watch a video of someone else playing a game, it's another thing to be forced to interpret what you see, and if you fail at that the consequences come fast enough. No movie this.
And yeah, that's mainly what I've been playing. I've been given an opportunity to try out The Old Republic and I'll likely do that, but right now Skyrim takes up most of that machine's time, and that's divided amongst two people with an equal desire to play. I'll probably talk about my impressions of that game when I have a while. It is awesome, but like most Elder Scrolls games it's easy to see where things can be improved even more. I haven't yet reached the point where things repeat too much, but so far I'm digging the combat spells (it's the first time I've ever seen destruction spells as an interesting path to take), the weapon-handed system has a great balancing feature that means no tactic is optimal, but some fit situations better than others, and, well, there's a strong reference to Arena, the very first Elder Scrolls game, that pleases me quite a bit. I do find that I'm collecting books more than reading them; I think I start reading later, like I did in Morrowind, once I get a feel for the world. I also don't fast travel, because I think running into stuff is pretty much what makes the game fun for me; my eyes bug out a bit when I see all the contextless minor quests that are spilling down the journal page, but I've never been one for completing quests if there's no explicit reason to do so (new features are fine, but monetary rewards leave me cold). I guess quest management could probably be improved just a bit, like an area-based to-do list that reminds you when you're in the right area to check off a few boxes, but then we get into the surreal "medieval times with a personal data assistant" clashes.
For those who say this game refers to Morrowind, I can't put my finger on it, having never played Oblivion, but I still know what you mean somehow. I don't think it's just the cart travel system, although I'm really happy to see that, it may just be the combination of things, the idea that this is off the beaten path, things are a bit rougher and more uncertain.
Speaking of uncertain, I'm not sure if the character I'm building is going to wind up being useless, but there's some adventure in that. I tend to use two-handed weapons, something I learned to appreciate when fighting spiders of the non-poisonous, fall-apart variety, along with spells and the satisfying bow and arrow for distance shots. I originall favored mace-and-shield, but found I was never quite sure how useful the shield was, and subequently never really put any energy into building up Block. Dual wielding still doesn't appeal to me, it never really has in any game, but I like how their damage output is tops, at the cost of blocking. So, since I'm on master difficulty, and haven't bothered to pull the dragon switch, I'm having a tough time of it, but it helps justify all the potions I make, justify the stealth I use, and justify every enemy exploit where I wait until I can shoot them in the back.
I'm entertaining the idea of playing a parallel game some day where the whole point is to never load after my character dies, but I'm not sure what difficulty would be appropriate-- Master is fine if you know you can load, but I'm not sure I'd get very far on one life.
I'm late the party, I guess, but only by a few months this time. It won't be like before, where Cake Is a Lie made no sense to me for years, although I'll probably still be laughing at Arrow in the Knee long after everyone else has stopped.