By xyzygy 48 Comments
I wanted to love this game by the time I was finished with it but so many things kept me from it. The only reason I S-Ranked the game because they were easy achievements and I spent a lot of time with it in the hopes that some of my problems would be rectified. There will be spoilers here.
The story in Skyrim is short. Very, very short. Now I know that there are a shit ton of other things to do in the game, and my problem doesn't 100% stem from the fact that it's short. It's boring and anti-climactic. I made my way up the mountain, got the Elder Scroll for Paarthurnax, and was sent into Sovngaarde. When I killed Alduin in a ridiculously easy battle, I was thinking, "Great now what does Paarthurnax have for me?" Because I really liked doing quests for him. I get back to the mountain, he leaves and says something along the lines of "Thanks for killing him, I'm just gonna go now" and I get an achievement called Dragonslayer.
So I walk around, looking for where I can continue the main quest and experience some awesome story moments (See: Morrowind, Red Mountain), and everything is blank. I get really confused as to my direction because at this point I had already beaten the extremely lackluster Guild quests and became their masters.
Then I come on GB to find out that that WAS the whole story. -1 for Skyrim. I don't really play these games for the story which is almost always shitty (except Morrowind's which was awesome), but this definitely ranks up there with Oblivion's story.
No limitations does not mean a better game.
Next up, the skills and stats. In previous Elder Scrolls games you were forced to either pick a class that was pre existing or create your own. These classes were defined by Major and Minor skills. You could pick up to 5 (IIRC) for each, with Major skills contributing the most to your overall level, Minor skills a little less, and all other skill none at all (though they will individually still increase).
In Morrowind, (And I'm assuming Arena and Daggerfall) there was absolutely no form of enemy scaling. This meant that, when creating a custom class, you HAD to put your most useful skills based on the type of character you want if you wanted to make it past certain parts of the game. For instance, you might not want to pick Conjuration as a Major for a Berserker character who specializes in melee weapons and medium to heavy armors. (You totally could but he would be more like a Support Berserker or something :P ).
In Oblivion, this whole system was turned upside down. Enemies scaled with you and people got around this by making their "Miscellaneous" skills the skills they used the most - therefore, they'd still be increasing their useful skills while staying a ridiculously low level. If you did want to level up you could just level up some of your majors and minors.
And with Skyrim, they thought to mix the two of them up - which WOULD have been good except for one major thing, the removal of stats, classes, majors and minors altogether. Any character can learn any skill, the only thing separating you from this is an RP complex in your head. Sure, when I first started my character out I thought this would be cool. But as time went on I realized that I wouldn't really need to make another character to experiment with different classes and stats, something I loved doing. They removed a lot of these in a process I believe they called "streamlining" (Like repair which at first I thought was a good idea, now I miss it) and while they did add perks, these simply make up for the lack of actual stats. I would much rather permanently increase my characters stats rather than add something like "Bows do 20% more damage" or to give me a spell that creates armor for my mage.
I miss looking at my stats and applying them when I gain a new level. I got so damn tired of increasing my Health and one perk when I levelled up, I felt like I wasn't going anywhere with my character. For this reason the game feels extremely shallow. -2 for Skyrim.
What's the point of exploring if the rewards are shit?
The main draw for me in these games is exploring and finding cool and unique items, armor, and weapons. I can't tell you how disappointed I am in Skyrim for completely getting rid of this aspect in the game. It was one of the very first things I noticed and it stuck with me through my entire experience with the game. These items are almost NEVER found at random like they so often were in previous games (Morrowind and even a little Oblivion) and only can be found during specific quests. There are a total of 15 Daedric items in the game and that's as far to "Unique" as you're going to get.
When I go into a dungeon, I want to be there for a reason. I don't want to continue wearing my armor I've had on since the 30 hour mark straight on until the 130 hour mark. There is never ANYTHING worthwhile in these areas and at one point I just stopped going. When you rarely DO find something unique, it is almost always complete garbage and can be easily outclassed by something you can create on your own.
While the environments are beautiful at times, like the western valleys, I don't find that good enough of a reason to actually go exploring.
-111111 points for Skyrim.
While the game is good I think it gets much too much praise. As a fan of the series I feel like this is the most shallow Elder Scrolls game yet and I fear for the future of the franchise. I don't agree with it being on so many GOTY lists, but it's inevitable. Personally I would have a few other games much higher on my list - Skyward Sword the most, Dead Space 2, Dark Souls - but GOTY lists aren't really something that matters to me.