Jan 172012
The War That Wasn't

Skyrim is a huge and uneven game, and I will be discussing many of its high points. In the spirit of getting the bad news out first, however, I want to discuss the game’s secondary quest, concerning the civil war between the Imperial Legion and the Stormcloaks led by Jarl Ulfric of Windhelm. There is much to admire in the way this quest is set up, but as a world element and gameplay series it falls short in several respects. Primarily, although the quest successfully conveys the social importance of the conflict and the philosophical differences between the sides, it [Read more…]

The Alduin/Dagon Dichotomy

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Jan 112012
The Alduin/Dagon Dichotomy

I have a lot to say about Skyrim, and indeed I’ve already said some of it. Some of it has been said for me, for instance in Shamus Young’s takedown of the Thieves’ Guild quests, which after a promising start became too intolerable for me to bother completing. Uneven writing quality is almost a certainty in a game this large, though, and perhaps it was the Thieves’ Guild’s time, after being one of the best sidequests in Oblivion. Of course, in Oblivion the faction quests benefited by comparison to the famously limp main quest. The broad consensus seems to be [Read more…]

Oh, Bethesda

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Nov 162011

My original intention for this week had been to use my leisure time to watch some of the incipient college basketball season, then crank through a fair bit of Assassin’s Creed Revelations and maybe get a review started while I’m away next week. I’d downloaded Skyrim, of course, but I had planned to let it sit for a few weeks while I waited for Bethesda’s inevitable patch cascade. This plan lasted until about 8 PM last Friday, when I rolled up a burly Nord named Arnhelm. The inescapable reality is that Bethesda makes precisely the sorts of games I love, [Read more…]