So I finally got Skyrim (on the PS3) and what a wonderful game it is. I got it as a gift but probably would’ve had second thoughts if I was buying it for myself. I hate to start my first impressions on a bad note but I might as well get it out of the way.
This is mainly due to a few major issues with the game on the PS3 players across the internet are reporting. From my experience of playing the game for roughly over 15 hours, I’ll comment on the following:
Standard TV compatibility. As Bethesda designed Skyrim for a HD TV, the screen on a SD TV is not big enough to fit the entire game screen so the left and right side of the main frame is cut off by a few centimetres. Also the use of narrow text (inevitable as this game uses the variable width format) makes reading the text on the screen very difficult to read in some cases.
The first issue is not much of a problem, you get some dialogue cut-off but in battles, exploring Skyrim, this isn’t a problem. The second one can be a huge deterant for gamers if they prefer to sit far away from the TV. Not only that but if you plan on getting this game to play on a SD TV, make sure you are using RGB (or scart?) cable and not the composite cable Sony bundled in with the PS3. This makes a huge difference with the text and I only had problems reading tightly-squeezed text rather than the normal-width text (not that matters much as I always keep check on my quest log and inventory). One thing I noticed on reddit was someone complaining about not seeing the notification text at the top-right of the screen, I guess they have the rounded-screens because on my 21″ flat-screen TV, it was perfectly visible.
So many bugs. Yes, this is probably expected and it’s no excuse for a well-established developer like Bethesda. There was a day-one patch to get rid of the major game-breaking bugs so I didn’t find any of those and to be honest the worse bug I got was probably falling to my death from one feet (this set me back a few hours so I was pretty annoyed but whatever). In the grand scale of things, I can live with them as the game offers too much to just some bugs that occur occasionally deter you from playing the game however the next issue will probably lead to many to stop playing unless Bethesda release a patch.
This is like the bug from Team Fortress 2 where players appear to be swimming on land
Game save bug. This is the one that has me looking over my shoulder every time I decide to play Skyrim. The PS3 version has so many players reporting that after a good amount of playing the game, you get major drops in the frame-rate as shown by this video (this also shows excessive loading times which doesn’t look like fun at all).
Some people have said this has the same save bug as Fallout: New Vegas which is slightly worrying as Bethesda never fixed that as far as I know. Apart from all that, this game is highly enjoyable and warrants the praise it’s being getting from reviewers although I can’t help think why there are so few PS3 reviews for it.
The graphics are really quite jaw-dropping in many places and encountering my first snowfall was pretty. The character models look a bit dated though as do the animations that look like they are walking on air but it’s not anything that stopped me from playing, just gave me and others watching me play, a good laugh.
The battle system isn’t all that compelling, you use L1 and R1 to attack. I went with a Nord mainly focusing on one-handed swords with a shield on my left. Too bad I couldn’t equip the sword on my left as I’m left-handed. I also use minor spells in case of emergencies and found the fire spell to be highly effective in the early parts of the game (I think I still am in the early parts).
My personal highlights so far include:
- Clearing the first dungeon and fighting a hoard of undead soldiers while running through a trap-filled ruin
- Got my first Dragon shout, it’s pretty useful
- Falling one feet to my death near a mountain, this was just hilarious but annoying at the same time
- Entering Riverwood‘s woodcutter’s house and upsetting his child. He chased me out of town (didn’t want to kill him for job opportunities) and I jumped into the river for safety. That got my blocking skills up at least but he always sounds angry now whenever I speak to him.
- Figuring out that holding the activate button allows you to hold an item
- Beating up my first-ever elf companion because my guild ordered me to (this was a difficult quest but the victim was cool about it)
- Making much-needed money through alchemy and smithing new gear to buy my first house
- As a first-timer to the Elder Scrolls series, the enormous amount of books in the game allowed me to catch a glimpse into the lore and history of the previous games. The various NPCs added to this immersion through their I spent an hour at one bookcase just reading books in this game…
I’ll post more on Skyrim I’m sure but for now, it’s back to the game itself!