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access_time November 14, 2011 at 9:13 AM in Culture by Andrew Kent

Burning Embers: My Love/Hate Relationship With Skyrim

So I played Skyrim almost non-stop this weekend, and after that experience I’d like to share with you my thoughts on the game. Remember last week’s Burning Embers where I went over what I expected/wanted from this game? Well, let’s take a look at some of those and a few other things as well.

I had talked about the leveling system and how I so loathed it in Oblivion. I wanted that to change in Skyrim and surprisingly enough Bethesda has pulled through. I’m currently sitting pretty at level 20 only after three days of game play, albeit I’ve been traveling a lot and my hide has been saved more than once by my companion. I also made use of the fact that by casting “muffle” you gain an increase in your illusion only after one cast at lower character levels. I only used it to test it and to level up when I was just a sliver away from gaining my next level. Speaking of going to the next level, it’s a lot more simple than previous Elder Scrolls games. There isn’t an intelligence stat, strength stat, or any of that. You instead get to chose between an increase in health, magicka, or stamina. This new feature I’m not sure about. I’ve found myself and my companion over encumbered many a time when out traveling, you can increase your carrying capacity via your stamina stat but only by a small amount. This saddens me because it means less time exploring and more time worrying about getting things to and fro. I could enchant some garments to extend my carrying capacity but I really like my Arch-Mage robes and Mirokei mask that both increase my magicka regeneration by 100%. I also don’t know where to get enchantments. Unlike in the other Elder Scrolls games, where you can just buy a spell and use that as an enchantment, it looks like you actually have to find enchantments somehow. I have not clue where these are and so I will be looking up how to find them on the internet later on today. But enough of going on a tangent, let’s get back on topic by moving on.

I haven’t really seen the usefulness of the Story Manager yet so far. My follower of Azura companion hasn’t said anything different to me. I do only get a “Are you expecting a thank you?” when I heal her. Other than that, I just don’t see the ramifications. I don’t know if someone hates me or if they like me. I have no bar or indicator and everyone seems to be feeding me the same “Are you really Dragonborn?” line over and over. Come on Bethesda, you hyped this up and you were supposed to deliver. One thing they did deliver on was the dragons.

My dragon fights have been…interesting to say the least. Oh don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the dragon fights. I however do not love the fact that I’m sitting on the ground trying to aim (badly) my firebolt spell at the thing. However, what is good is that they aren’t too difficult to defeat once they remain stationary. Some have complained that they are too easy but so far that’s a good thing. I like the excitement of the battle more than how challenging the dragon is. If the dragon was too hard to defeat I would get frustrated very quickly, just ask my old friends Mirokei and Staff of Magnus whom I died for many times before finally acquiring their awesomeness. I like the dragon fights the way they are and hopefully they will become more challenging as I level up in the game.

“Nerevar guide me!” is the line I hear so often when going in to battle. It’s nice having some Morrowind references in the game but it’s not nice having an idiotic AI. This is going to sound so terribly sexist, but my lady companion in the game is so stupid at times. She attacks when i don’t want her to, she doesn’t like jumping off short ledges, she gets lost some times, and she stops (probably to do her nails) randomly while traveling and I’m halfway to Riften while she’s all the way back at Windhelm (hasn’t happened yet but I wouldn’t put it past her). Now, I’m not ragging on women, I’m just ragging on the A.I. in the game. I haven’t tried out the other companions yet but if one is bad then the rest must be the same. Now, there have been times where she has saved my behind. She grabs an enemy’s attention whilst I burn said enemy with very hot flames, she was very handy in that Mirokei fight, she’s a decent pack mule, and I don’t think I would have gotten out of some situations alive without her. However, those really aren’t related to the A.I., sort of. Bethesda, come on, I know you can do better than this. In Morrowind the NPCs who followed you could at least follow me correctly. They were EXTREMELY slow but they would keep walking and didn’t care about small ledges!

One more thing, the lag and game freeze. I have had my game on the XBOX 360 freeze up on me FOUR times. over the weekend. FOUR. REALLY BETHESDA? Really?! The game has also lagged a bit because it’s trying to do too many things at once. C’mon guys, you can do better than this! I know you can, I’ve played Morrowind. That game only froze up on me once in a blue moon, and that was only because I was using the intelligence potion glitch to make a feather potion so I could store an unlimited amount of stuff in my inventory. Fix this quickly pretty please.

I have a few miscellaneous details to talk about before I wrap this article up. Textures were eh. I would walk up to a tree or other plant and they really didn’t look like they had leaves, more like blobs in the shapes of leaves. Some of the rock faces were missing a part of themselves. A horse glitched on me once. I was just walking down the road and saw a horse all by it’s lonesome. I was going to take it for my own but a command didn’t pop up. Then suddently this guy magically appeared on top of the horse and started riding away. Weird. A dragon completely ignored me once despite my angry protests with a lot of (badly aimed) firebolt spells. Guards have attacked me even though my weapons were not out. I had to take them out again and re-sheathe them to have the guards talk to me. I’ve taken down two giants so far by the divine blessing of Azura (rather the diving blessing of a flame atronach, firebolt spells, and my A.I. companion and her flame atronach). I’m upset because I can’t find higher level spells yet. I think that’s about it.

Every Monday Ember crawls from his cave to come and deliver his opinion to you the readers. His grumpy Monday attitude fuels the fire that burns onto the screen to form the weekly article: Burning Embers.


  • jumblejunkie November 14, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    You learn a shout eventually that grounds the dragons and you keep using it and hack away. The dragons become super simple with that shout.

    The story isn’t the deepest in the world, but Skyrim is much more than that. I really have nothing bad to say about it. Sure the NPCs are a little wonky, but if you lose them, just wait an hour and they are there again.

    The battle system is fantastic, level up/talent trees are great, and the amount of stuff to do is mind blowing. Definitely the best game you can get right now on consoles IMO.

    • Andrew Kent November 14, 2011 at 10:59 AM

      Oh I wholeheartedly agree that it’s the best game you can get on consoles. But I know that bethesda can do better. Silly goof ups like missing patches of rock and stuff just isn’t bethesda.

      • jumblejunkie November 14, 2011 at 11:18 AM

        I cut them some slack. The game is freakin Massive!!! I only had the game freeze on me once, and I got stuck in a corner in the dwarven tower fighting a few mobs.

        New Vegas was buggy, but I lucked out and only saw a few things like enemies glitched out and some stuck in the ground.

        • Andrew Kent November 14, 2011 at 11:48 AM

          I believe the devs said that Skyrim is just as big as Cyrodiil, just I guess a lot more things to do though.

  • Barnaby Jones November 14, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    You can find an enchanting table in the Arch-Mages room. To get enchantments, just disenchant any weapons you don’t want. It’s destroys the item, but eventually you’ll have a crazy list of enchantments at your disposal.

    As for the companion, I agree 100%. She has saved my skin numerous times, but holy shit is she dumb. I’ve had her get stuck in between three rocks that were no taller than the sole of my shoe. Half the time I’m traveling, I just fast travel to the area I just discovered two seconds ago just to make she she’s still alive, as somewhere during the journey she decided she didn’t want to follow me anymore.

    Finally, regarding your issue with freezing: I’m a little bit behind you (I think I’m at 18 hours at the moment), but I have yet to have the game freeze on me. Perhaps it’s an issue with your 360?

    Oh, and how are you healing your companion?

  • Barnaby Jones November 14, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Oh, and also note that your companion is also pretty much a moving chest. You can store quite a few items with her, and that makes looting much better.

  • jaytt3 November 15, 2011 at 12:13 AM

    I keep hearing everyone talk about bugs and glitches all the time. WTF. I havent had a single problem with the game, nor has my buddy. We both put in well over 50 hours a piece on PS3 over the weekend. I know that Bethesda released that they were having a bunch of problems with the Xbox format, but im pretty sure that was only regarding visual problems.

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