Top critical review
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It's not grabbing me, in fact I dont think I like it
on 12 November 2011
This game just isn't doing it for me. Ive been an Elder Scrolls player since the first game, and RPGer since they first started. I havent been hyped for this new game, in the sense its not something I have been on the edge of my seat waiting for, so my negatives arent because it hasnt lived up to some imaginary greatness in my mind.
Its well crafted, good voice acting, graphics not bad but no better than Oblivion and in some ways a bit less distinct, lots of attention to detail in the environment, and so far hasn't had any major bugs or crashes, which for a game just released these days is a rarity. The ability to cast magic with one hand and melee with the other is a great new feature.
I also have to balance some of those rubbishing Amazon's delivery, I ordered it at 4.30pm on the day of release and it was here with free delivery next day at 10am, and thats a Saturday morning.
But, and here are the buts:-
- I dont find it atmospheric or immersive, in the same way that Oblivion, and the two Fallout 3 games, were, all of them also from Bethesda. There is something about the graphics that also seems a little "off", the highlighting and reflections on items look a bit weird. (I am playing it High setting that the game recommended, did try Ultra, couldnt see much difference really and it gave a bit of lagging). It may well be me, but distance just doesnt look, well, distant, all seems a bit 2-dimensional.
- The control system is an abomination, I cant recall a worst interface, while it may be a console game ported for the PC, please, really the makers could have done better, its just not intuitive, you have to click Esc to access some menu's, and tab for others, then there is the absolutely ridiculous need to scroll when there is no need to scroll, for example in your inventory menu the last couple of items are hidden behind the bottom menu bar, so you have to scroll to them, but there is acres of space above them, same with the so called quick access buttons, set up several of them and when you press the Q button to access them you need to scroll to number 5 and below, hardly quick! I am finding so much takes two keyboard commands that should be one. You can re-assign keys, but there seems no consistnecy, F does one thing in one menu and something elsewhere.
- Combat is rubbish. Sorry, but it is. Cast an offensive spell and it fires off, but you havent really any sense of distance, or a way to fire ot accurately, just click the mouse while pointing in the general direction of the creature. For example I just followed a rabbit to practice my skills, although I am right behind it, and its an easy relatively slow moving target, I had to use the flame spell 5 times before I hit it. This may be partly due to my lowish ability with the spell, but its a Catch 22, if I cant even kill a rabbit, how is it to rise? With the Sword its just press the LMB and hope, you have no sense of whether the target creature is in the right place to hit it. Your opponent's health bar is near the top of the screen and quite small, so that you have to look up at it to see how badly they are injured.
- I cant alter sound volume using my keyboard, I can with every other game, and piece of software, but not this, very odd.
- Information you would usually want in this sort of game such as Health, Magic, Stamina, load, isnt on screen, you need to access the interface menu and then click on the skills, two key presses to see how much health you have, no use at all. I'm all for getting rid of distracting rubbish off, but this is just too minimalist.
- The enclosed manual is a joke effort, complete waste of time, it doesnt tell you the detail of the controls which you would actually want to know, what it tells you is what you are made to learn in gthe first dungeon tutorial.
- The in game map is a horror, some sort of semi 3D thing that you have to keep scrolling (more scrolling) despite it not having many locations, a sort of masterpiece of graphical content over usability.
- Its just too fiddly, too many interface type menu's, too many buttons to remember. After Bethesda's great Pipboy, putting pretty much everything in one place, this is a retrograde step.
I've given it 3 stars due to the quality aspects, the great service from Amazon and that its a new game not bug ridden. But after a couple of hours, Ive quit out to write this review and have to real urge to go back to the game. Ive just been replaying Fallout 3, and think I will go back to playing it. I realise the overwhelming opinion of players and reviews for Skyrim is that its awesome, so I may be a lone voice, but for me, its far from awesome, in fact not that great. Now, of course I should play the game for longer and discovery more, but if a game doesnt grab me in the first couple of hours Ive yet to find one that improved. If you are Elder Scrolls fan you'll be buying it anyway, but my review is for the fence sitters, if you are unsure whether to get it then I suggest waiting a week at least and see some of the more balanced reviews from players who arent Elder Scrolls fans, and then leave it another couple of months until some mods come out that fix the interface.
Overall? I am not slagging the game, but I just dont think its fun enough to warrant struggling with the grotty interface.
Have played the game now for 15-20 hours, and unfortunately my initial reaction hasnt changed.
There are some lovely touches, but for me, are spoilt by the almost unusable user interface, the monochrome dullness of it all (Skyrim is all grey and muted browns, it doesnt have to be dazzling but its just so dull), the many graphical issues (good example is when I get on my horse for the first few seconds the view if my char straddling in mid air on an invisible horse), the hopeless map, the non-intuitive control (e.g. Quest which you use all the time is buried in the System menu), nonsensical hot-key system (always puts weapon in RMB), aweful combat (in melee just keep clicking the mouse, no aiming, lazy graphics (e.g. my char always has a sheath of arrows on his back but my char has no arrows or bow)system stores your mouse clicks so after the opponent is dead you are still thrashing away), ridiculous perks menu, bad trading screen, need to scroll all the time, quest glitches, badly thought out levelling system (example, you cant take single level ups if you have accumulated more than one), have found no way to command followers (have tried every key on the keyboard), and there is a host of other things, but this sentence is long enough already!
This is dumbed down RPGing made for consoles. Its full of bugs. The control system is just horrible to the point of almost being unusable if you need to remap keys, it lacks any real atmosphere or immersiveness, its dull to look at and play. I really dont want to buy a PC game and be to told I need to buy a console controller to play it. Bethesda have stuck two fingers up to PC users, and have forgotten their origins.
Ultimately I can put up with the bugs and issues but I cant put up with this user interface. So for this gamer I am getting to the end of my interest in playing it and will most likely put it away for 6 months until the modders make it the game for the PC that it should have been.