The Games Of Christmas ’11: Day 24

By RPS on December 24th, 2011 at 12:49 pm.

Listen out for Horace's growl tonight!

The final game of Chistmas had been chosen. It is the game you should play with your family before you are devoured by Horace The Endless Bear later today. Good luck everyone, we’ll see you at the other end.

It’s… The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim!

Jim: So here we are! Another year, another Game Of The Year that basically won’t surprise anyone. (Last year was the year of Minecraft, of course.) We’ve chosen Skyrim, the game we, as a collective of Old Men, have had the most fun with in 2011. You only have to browse through the archives over the past couple of months to see how much we’ve enjoyed ourselves, and that sort of speaks to me as a gamer and as a writer. One of the founding principles of RPS has always been that we should write as much as we can, or as much as we like, about the games we are enjoying. That principle soon expanded to have more of a “let’s try and be a broad church and post all the news, too” but the fundamentals of the site remain about writing lots of guff about arsing about in games. Skyrim is one of those games that, by virture of what it is and what it does, generates anecdotes, ideas, and pleasurable frothings of writerly inspiration. So we wrote. And wrote. And this phenomenon wasn’t confined to RPS: the entire gaming sphere is bubbling with it.

It’s not all positive, of course, and I myself was bug-eyed with indignation over Skyrim’s awful UI and colourful rainbow of unfinished features, glitches, and errors. But this is one of those games in which shoddy QA and bad finishing, while unacceptable and exasperating, has not defeated the game, or even significantly damaged our enjoyment of it, and for that we are all thankful. We are thankful too that it seems to have clawed back our attention to Bethesda games, through a wonderful world and some entertaining writing, from the ambivalence we had toward Oblivion and Fallout 3. Both those were competent games in their own right, but they had something missing. Fallout 3′s personality and mechanics were such that I could not stomach more than an afternoon of it. I enjoyed Oblivion far more, but the days I spent playing it were nagged at by the bland fantasy world, and the weakness of the challenge. Skyrim’s nagging has been far less insistent, and have wandered through autumnal forests and snowy wastes in a dreamy haze. Here is a game I have been glad to be able to lose myself in.

There have been a couple of other games whose RPGish sentiments have had me glad to be gaming in 2011 – The Witcher 2 and Deus Ex to be specific – but it’s the open world, open game systems, and open arms of Skyrim which have ended up commanding the majority of my escapism. While I rushed through the core “defeat the dragons” plot and found it to be “okay”, it was always the diversions and stumbling side-quests that really kept my attention. And I know that’s been the same for most people playing it. The game has so much to it than even after a couple of hundred hours it is still throwing up little tricks and idiosyncrasies.

Of course what is perhaps even more exciting for those of us who dabble in modding is the base that this game represents. The vanilla game is a feast of ideas and materials, but it will no doubt be the next two or three years of modding that will genuinely set it up to the heights it could achieve. Coming back to this in 2013 is going to be a delight. It’s a big game, but it’s an even bigger space of possibility. And that fills me with a special kind of glee.

John: I love Skyrim. I love it enough to continue writing positively about it even after sodding WordPress ate my first draft of this entry, in which I was astonishingly hilarious, erudite, and would finally have won an award for my journalistic wonder. I love it to bits.

As it happens, I didn’t get on with Oblivion. It never grabbed me, beyond its role as a horsey-riding simulator with nice sunsets. But Skyrim, I was instantly hooked, swept into a story about being the dragonborn, and then being enormously distracted by the appearance of about a dozen other equally interesting and detailed entire storylines. I’ve loved and lost, fought and gained, robbed and given, and killed a really terrible number of bears. And like being in real life love with a real actual person thing, I love it with all its faults, not despite them. Even that sodding skill screen.

I’m constantly astonished by the extraordinary scale of everything, and yet the miniscule detail of every moment. For a world this massive, usually you’d expect to see a great detail of repitition, but rather every tiny nook is stuffed with a unique story, or justification for its dungeoneering. Deliberately trying to climb a seemingly impassable mountain, instead of breaking the game of falling out of the skybox (which I admit I have done once) I usually discover a hidden castle tower, which reveals a trapdoor entrance to an abandoned haunted prison, a dead body with a brief note, and a mystery to solve. That is ludicrously rewarding.

My time of late is recently spent randomly wandering the map clearing up any of the fifty or so quests I’ve somehow gathered along my way. This has led to my rather awkward habit of doing really terrible things for terrible people. I’ll have been given a quest long ago by some nefarious type, asking me to a dastardly task, and then forgotten about it. But now there’s a tempting arrow pointing to a cave nearby, so I may as well pop in, follow it to its ends, and then realise I’ve given some huge help to a terrible god who is hell-bent on killing us all. Er, oopsie. One such error saw me realising I was about to murder some priest because a daedra wasn’t a fan of his. I couldn’t remember what it was he’d done wrong, and I’d lied to him to lead him to his demise, and I realised as amoral as my game had become, I really wasn’t okay with this. So I reloaded (shut up, you’ve done it too) to just outside the building and instead walked straight by.

Which means for the last week or so I’ve been accompanied on my adventures by a friendly priest, who absolutely cannot be gotten rid of. And why would I, when he provides fragile but useful help? His ranged magic ensures he doesn’t get in the way as he helps bring down the enemies. Which also means I’m now in a party of three, joined as I am by a new housecarl by the name of Not Lydia.

And Not Lydia is great too! Sure, she’s not Lydia, but here’s a thing you might want to know. After I became Thane of Solitude, and bought my amazing mansion, I was awarded the servitude of Not Lydia, who instantly won my heart the first time I “traded items” with her. Despite her having been given the same line as Lydia in this instance, she enunciates it so differently, intoning the words with deference and generosity. “I’m sworn to carry your burdens.” And I yours, Not Lydia, I reply.

Alec: Skyrim takes me back less to Morrowind and Oblivion than it does to the glory days of World of Warcraft, to a time before I knew all the rules and limitations of that then-amazing virtual world, when there was constant awe and confusion, when each new skill and town was an unexpected wonder rather than a matter of incrementally-improved course. The first sight of Ironforge, the first time I sewed my own pair of trousers, the first fight with something four times my size…

The first time I levelled up. The first time I levelled up my crafting. The first time I donned armour with a stat boost. Skyrim, honestly, can be an awful lot like what have become the worst aspects of MMOs: the hunger for numbers, the preparedness to grind to make those numbers bigger. When I play it til 3am, I am often conscious that I am doing so perhaps more to improve some stats than to soak up some new environment or engage in epic combat.

Thing is, it’s taking those MMOy futilities and giving them purpose. I’m not trying to level up or max out crafting because I want to keep up with other players or become suddenly able to access a new zone or quest or piece or magic hat. I’m doing it because I want to shape the world of Skyrim, and the adventure I have in it, to my own greedy little desires. It’s all about me. Mememememememememememememememememememememememememememememememememememememe. I want to make all the armour, I want to steal all the things, I want to cast all the spells, I want to enchant all the things in my inventory, I want EVERYTHING AND NOTHING CAN STOP ME.

Only I can stop me, and I’m not going to stop me. A rush and a push and the land of Skyrim is mine, all mine. There are no other players cluttering up my adventure, stealing the ore I had my eye on or trying to loot the masks off the Dragon Priests before I can get to them. Skyrim is perfect indulgence, a choose your own adventure in which you can disappear into the murky depths of your needy little soul, but unlike an MMO you come out of it bristling with anecdotes about what you saw, what you fought, what you found and the inadvertently hilarious bugs you discovered in the process. Yes, it comes up short on characters and overarching purpose for quests both big and small and logic and interface and all the rest, but Skyrim Is Videogame. It is so many of the introverted things we want from our electronic entertainments, presented without rancour or obstacle in a fantastic Scandi-landscape that I would happily spend months of my life rambling around.

Also dragons, but whatever. I can steal the clothes off people’s backs now; what would I care about dragons?

Adam: A lot of people have a Skyrim that’s all about collecting the toughest armour and the sharpest sword, finding the best combination of perks and killing the most dragons. My Skyrim isn’t like that at all. Mine mostly involves being a tourist in a cold and terrifying world. Dragonborn or not, I’m inclined to keep my head down as I set out to explore the world, collecting bits and pieces as I go.

I’ve not put in the hours that the others have because I’m still waiting for the perfect time to shut myself away for a weekend and lose myself as completely as possible. It’s the first RPG for ages that has made me want to ignore the save game function, except when the world outside pulls me away, and just exist for as long as possible. I’ll be the shabbily dressed hunter in the corner of the tavern; the one who avoids roaming monsters and packs of beasts and backs out of dungeons when the threat of death becomes too real. I may seem a coward compared to most but actually I’m just a sensible man in a dangerous world. The kind of person who would rather track a fox than a dragon.

And what a world it is. There are plenty of things that displease me in Skyrim the game, but very few in Skyrim the place. There are dragons and giants, sure, but the Nordic climate, bringing about the storms from which I’ve sheltered on lonely mountainsides, makes this an ideal world for a survivalist to find himself trapped in. It’s a harsh place, yet still extraordinarily beautiful. A large part of my role involves discovering the best of it, finding the vantage points and spots of outstanding natural beauty that seem to exist for no other reason than to be wandered to and wondered at. That may make me sound like a sort of flâneur of the mountain ridges but mine is not a life if idle leisure.

If somebody offers me a task both rewarding and in keeping with my inquisitive nature, I’ll gladly accept. I’m saving up for my first home so I could always use a bit of extra income and there are plenty of compelling mysteries in the world. The occasional delve into both the personal and the esoteric can be a great pleasure and an education for a traveller in a distant land.

So that’s been my Skyrim so far. One day I’ll decide I need to kill an infinite number of dragons and I look forward to that as well, but for now I’m more than happy just to be an explorer in a new realm. There are plenty of aspects that irritate me but this is my favourite Elder Scrolls game since Daggerfall, which I shower with praise at every opportunity despite its glaring problems, particularly back at launch. Patches were an issue then as well.

I think our frustrations have been as clear as our excitement over the past months, although the latter has far outweighed the former. That doesn’t mean the problems are insignificant, but it does say a lot about how fantastic the scope of the game is. What’s more, the expected release of the development tools and arrival of integrated mod support in January mean Skyrim’s players will be generating new stories for years to come.

Those are stories that none of us can predict yet and despite the fact that I feared it might turn out to be a rather banal case of more dungeons and more dragons, it’s been a pleasure to realise that there’s enough personality and detail in Skyrim to keep me adventuring there for a long time to come.

Happy Christmas, one and all. You’ve been fantastic this year. Back soon!

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218 Comments »

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    Durkonkell says:

    Well done, Skyrim! And thank you very much to you people wot write for RPS for the last year of word-writing and opinion-thinking. It has been a good year for electric moving-picture diversions.

    Happy Horacetide, RPS! May you survive His glorious encrunchining of the unworthy!

  2. arrjayjee says:

    After playing Skyrim for 150 hours over a fortnight, I took a step back from the game and looked at what I had accomplished. In short: Fucking nothing. Nobody in the game world cared one iota about what I’d done. Nothing mattered. I was god of everything I touched within hours of showing up. The combat was boring, and although the leveling system wasn’t as broken as previous TES titles, in the end the game was just…eh. I’m done with it, and I don’t think I’ll ever return.

    On the other hand, choices and actions in Deus Ex had some ramifications and accommodated different play-styles, and Portal 2 had more charm and wit in ten minutes than Skyrim had in every single square meter of vast terrain over 150 hours.

    Ultimately I think people might feel a bit sheepish about how much praise they heaped upon this game when all is said and done, because I know I do.

    • The Tupper says:

      I’m close to 200 hours in and, frankly, if the game caused my PC to catch fire I’d still think it worth the danger.

    • noobule says:

      You played 150 hours of something in two weeks? Christ on a stick. There’s only 168 hours in a week. :S

    • Snidesworth says:

      My friend had exactly the same experience. He played for 90 hours, the two of arguing over whether it was good or not (he was for it, I wasn’t), but when he came out the other end he said he felt hollow. Which is how I felt towards the end of my 30 hours. It’s compulsive and amusing, but once you step away I wasn’t left with a feeling of satisfaction. I just thought “did I really sink X hours into this?” and feel a slight disappointment with myself. Which isn’t a reaction I had with any other game this year, even the ones I clocked up far more hours with.

    • JackShandy says:

      It’s totally nuts to compare a 150 hour open sandbox to a 20 hour sequence of linear missions.

  3. Wulf says:

    Not a bad game, all in all, I suppose. It feels like an evolution to Bethesda, but I just wish it didn’t feel like such a means to an end for mindless violence. The first I spoke out against this with was the dragons, before the game was released, since symbolically I see a dragon as a creature of wonder and thus a damn near impossible ideal for me to raise a weapon against. But it went beyond that.

    To make Skyrim a peaceful, happy place, I would have had to wipe out precisely 99.2% of its population, and the only ones remaining would be those in power, or the corrupt. There’s something a bit weird and wrong about that. Normally this doesn’t get on top of me, since the killing is broken up by other things, but the constant attempts to get me to kill people dragged me down, and ultimately, poetically, killed off my enjoyment of the game.

    The end result is that I feel a bit like Lara Croft or Nathan Drake. You know, this reminds me of how they tried to lampshade this in one of the LC games. They had her put her face in her hands after so many deaths. As if to say “Oh, what a monster I’ve become…” but this was shallowly followed by “Oh well!” and Lara merrily skipping off to kill more people. Uncharted is worse, since ultimately it’s a completely racist affair and it seems to be about America trying to piss off the entire world with its xenophobia.

    I don’t think Skyrim is anywhere near that bad.

    But still, I couldn’t help but make parallels due to how I had no other methods, each mission was a linear line of mindless violence to an objective, which almost always meant killing someone (I could probably count the missions where it didn’t end in killing someone with my fingers alone).

    It’s weird, but my favourite moments of the game were those where I wasn’t killing.

    One of the moments that really, really stood out was Sheogorath’s quest, which was loads of fun. I really enjoyed that and it was a break from all the Serious Homicidal Man Must Kill of the rest of the game. I wish they could have done more content like that. That was something that felt almost Obsidian in nature, it was great. Definitely a good laugh. And I enjoyed that there were a couple of small puzzles involved. Why can’t we have puzzle or riddle dungeons? Even Landstalker did that.

    But ultimately I’m getting tired of how most RPGs are just becoming a means to an end for violence. I mean, sure, I get that with action adventure games, but shouldn’t my honeyed-tongue and cleverness count for a damn in an RPG? Again, one of the greatest moments of recent RPG history for me was in Fallout: New Vegas. I made a run through the Legion, mostly ignoring them at the end. I ran up to the Legate and called for a temporary ceasefire so that I might speak with him.

    Through logic, wit, and respect I managed to convince him that this invasion would only weaken his empire, and that it was best to leave New Vegas to its own machinations, that it wasn’t worth it. And that really, he’d pretty much have to deal with me if he refused. And he listened! The Legion retreated!

    Why can’t there be more of that?

    Or even just a few dungeons set up by an ancient madman as labyrinthine places of puzzles and riddles. Just something a bit different other than the mindless violence.

    But it so often came back to…

    “Did that old Dragonpriest have to die? He just seemed so old and lonely. I burst into his home and slaughtered him for his staff. Couldn’t I have bartered with him or dealt with him in another way?”

    “Did they have to die? They were just thieves, not even of the cut-throat. Ultimately they were just defending themselves as they knew someone would have been sent to kill them. Couldn’t I have just knocked them out and arrested them?”

    “These dragons are supposedly more intelligent than I am, yet they keep doing kamikaze runs at me. Can’t I deal with them another way? They’re supposedly clever. Where are those dragons that like riddles… ? I could really use one that prefers a riddle about now.”

    “…Aela, how the hell do these animals keep getting into houses, anyway?”

    “Okay, sure I need to retrieve this prisoner, but does he have to die? Can’t I just re-arrest him?”

    “Do these Forsworn have to die? Can’t I set up a political vote for them to see whom the people want as the leader of Markarth?”

    “Why can’t I just oust Ulfric and Tullius and bring peace between the Legion and the Stormcloaks myself, that way? I could talk some sense into people if I could do that. Why can’t I create a lasting treaty?”

    “You want me to kill a repentant old dragon who’s just been instrumental in saving the world not once but twice? One who’s clearly punishing himself every day with his own guilt? One who taught the mortals the way of the voice and kept them learned in it, without which none of the races would have survived? The way that, though he was absolutely terrified of Alduin, he turned against his brother out of compassion for the mortals? You want me to kill the dragon without whom we wouldn’t be standing here having this conversation? And you’ll excommunicate me if I don’t do your killing? Screw that, Delphine. YOU are excommunicated. Have fun, dragonslayers.” *Removes essential tags.* *Spawns ten ancient dragons.* *Leaves.*

    The game even lampshades it with that one bard (Jon? Something… ?) in Whiterun talking about how everyone is obsessed with death. And yes, they are! I mean, even if I join the bard’s college, they give me missions to delve into dungeons and kill things! What a surprise. I thought that would have offered me respite from the whole killing of things. I could have really gone for Lute Hero style minigame at that point, at least that would have taken the piss out of Skyrim’s nature instead of making the constant killing such constant, serious business.

    I’m also reminded at this point of how the thing I want to see most of all right now, more than anything, is a Discworld RPG developed by Obsidian. It’ll never happen, but I can dream, can’t I?

    I doubt this is going to be an issue to most gamers, anyway. I understand that.

    Most gamers are attuned to and ultimately desensitised to oodles of mindless violence. But me? I’m an imaginative person, I try to get into my character and immerse myself in the world. And if most of the world wants me dead then that’s a revolution against me, and I must be a horrible person. It’s hard to come out of Skyrim feeling good, or anything other than a homicidal maniac. I just wish the game had been less about killing.

    There were points where you could see that they were thinking about it, but they didn’t have time to finish up stories, and thus they just threw in some killing to tie it all up instead.

    So many good plotlines that could have been so much more.

    And Blackreach. Oh the things I could do with a place like that.

    I do like a lot of what Skyrim did. i really did.

    It was very pretty;
    I enjoyed the art style;
    I appreciated that, for a chunk of the game, I could play as a werewolf that didn’t kill many people at all (I used the fear power to deal with everyone except the main target of a dungeon);
    I liked the stories they were trying to tell me (it’s just a shame that they half-arsed them, never finished them, and always rounded them off with killing), I really did;
    I liked the lore;
    I liked the insane level of detail;
    I liked the aesthetics;
    I liked the khajiiti types and the people of the root (SO much better than Oblivion in every conceivable way);
    I liked the traps;
    I liked the world itself;
    I liked the ridiculously silly world map;
    I liked exploring;
    I liked gathering herbs and things for my professions (this is always a huge weakness of mine, I’m a massive packrat and I pick up everything I see that I might be able to turn into something better);
    I loved the hell out of Paarthurnax, who was a real brodragon (but one of the only two brodragons in the history of ever?);
    I liked that you could marry almost anyone, and that gay people weren’t discriminated against in this way (though the lack of khajiiti partners was a bit of a kick in the nuts – I know they made an excuse about it being their culture, but they couldn’t have included a khajiit who was raised in, oh… say Hammerfall?);
    I liked that the UI was clearly laid out, clean, and accessible;
    I really dug how the werewolves were handled, because that was very, very, very clever;
    I liked the representations of aedra and daedra in the game;
    I liked reading the books and lore;
    I liked collecting books (though I hated exploding, book-devouring bookshelves);
    I liked that the dwemer were back (though they lost a lot of their uniqueness from Morrowind and their stuff looked more akiviri than dwemer);
    I liked having the absolutely terrifying Blackreach to wander around (though I felt that they could have done so, so, so much more with it, but ultimately it felt mostly abandoned);
    I loved them for teasing me about the possibility of finding the Heart of Lorkhan, which ultimately it was not (bastards!):
    I loved that there were so many unique and distinct voices present;
    I was terribly amused that the courier, along with several other people, is/are Gear from Static Shock;
    I loved that you could do stupid things with the console, like creating a bow that shot werewolves at people;
    I enjoyed being an 80ft tall macro werewolf and scaring the living shit out of the peoples of Whiterun;
    I liked that there were so many choices of house to choose from, and so many types of decoration;
    I liked that the game had me dress up in incredibly silly posh clothes on multiple occasions (yay!), even if half of the time it still resulted in killing;
    I … liked that I could do addfac 5a1a4 1 on the dragons and turn them completely neutral to me (which I admittedly ended up doing with every dragon after a while);
    I liked that the dungeons were often really, really storied, and you could see the passion that went into making them (it’s just a shame that they were linear point-A-to-B-to-C affairs);
    I was amused that the guards would praise me for saving their souls one second, and then insult me the next;
    I liked a lot of things.

    See, ultimately I had a love/hate relationship with Skyrim. It wasn’t the worst game ever, oh no, definitely not. I put too many hours into it for being that, but it was far, far from being the best game, and far from being the best Elder Scrolls game, it was just an entertaining game that was okay. And I’m sure to most people that saying something like that is heresy.

    Ultimately though… ironically it just killed itself for me by being so fixated on killing, that was the great disappointment, that’s what had me put it down. That damn near all of the content barring a few incredibly rare exceptions was a kill quest. So… many… kill… quests.

    I think the thing that bugged me the most about Skyrim was that it encouraged you to be some sort of perfect person – the game was obviously less designed for orcs, khajiits, argonians, dunmer, and so on, and more for the pretty or rugged people. There was a cloying sense of xenophobia. Granted, yes, that might have been the setting but that doesn’t mean that I have to like it.

    And it obeyed the worst, the worst old rule of development: What normal considers to be subjectively ugly is irredeemably evil. I did notice that they went out of their way to make most of the foes ugly. Even the Altmer, whom they framed as one of the main villains of the tale, was made far, far more ugly than in previous Elder Scrolls games. There’s an undercurrent of something… incredibly nasty to this. I can’t quite explain it eloquently, but I don’t like it.

    Pretty/rugged/sexy people versus ugly people. Pretty/rugged/sexy people versus disabled people. Pretty/rugged/sexy people versus everything else. Because pretty people are good and perfect. That’s a huge turn-off. There’s something just… narcissistic, vain, self-absorbed, even solipsistic about it.

    And of course, the player was the only khajiit ever to be magically allowed inside cities.

    I don’t know, this bothers me. The death bothers me. The killing bothers me.

    It’s ups and downs, good and bad, and a decent romp but more of an action-adventure dungeon crawler than what I think of an RPG as. Again, I can’t slate it because I put a good number of hours into it, but over those hours I did become increasingly saddened and depressed, until finally I snapped because I couldn’t take it any more.

    And the moment I snapped was with that one Dragonpriest in Labyrinthian. Brust into his home and slaughtered him for his staff. YAY I AM SUCH A HERO.

    I don’t know.

    Like I said, I find this hard to articulate.

    Skyrim… so much potential but ultimately so average because of its homicidal bent. It could have been so, so much more.

  4. Wulf says:

    Which thing is it doing now… the spam filter thing, or the hiding of the latest post? Damn it, can’t tell.

    • Wulf says:

      Okay, here’s my take, for what it’s worth.

      http://pastebin.com/G7uGUA12

      Sorry about the HTML, I expected to actually be able to post it here. But you’re a smart person, you’ll be able to deal with it.

      I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it, I don’t think it was necessary for me to do either. Ultimately average, just another game. A lot to like, a lot to dislike, and a lot in between, and as many thoughts on this as I could articulate.

      Here you go, HTML-less version:

      http://pastebin.com/4J6zDxT2

    • Cryptoshrimp says:

      So yeah, I read your 114 lines of text and I do agree with you a whole lot. However, I don’t think it’s strange that Skyrim focused on the killing side of things – it’s a mainstream RPG, after all. A (semi-)pacifist RPG takes a lot more time and energy to make properly and attracts a lot less interest. I presume you’re going to mod the game at some point? I’d be very interested in your take on Skyrim.

    • The Tupper says:

      Wulf, that is the most eloquent post you’ve ever made here.

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      Nogo says:

      I don’t really understand your desire to have pacifism be a viable path (which is quite possible, save boss fights, if you focus on stealth and illusion magic btw).

      It’d be neat if they included it, but it would be an insane waste of resources that most players wouldn’t bother with, and going into an RPG with this expectation is no one’s fault but your own. I can’t even think of a similar style RPG where this option is always on the table for all content; even the original two Fallouts, beloved for their 0 kill routes, required the player to ignore a lot of content, utilize cheesey tactics and have quite a bit of foreknowledge, so it seems you wanted Skyrim to be something it was never touted or expected to be.

    • Wulf says:

      @Tupper

      Eloquence is often subjective, and very much linked to how much you like what you’re hearing. The words of the most gifted philosopher poet could slip into the ears of any man or woman, and depending on whether it met their fancy, that would decide upon the label of drunken sot, or eloquent bard. Thus, being frequently eloquent is often telling people what they want to hear.

      I’m not good at telling people what they want to hear. I’m not neurotypical, and one thing I’ve noticed is that I’m completely honest in a way that most people find unnerving. Completely honest. I’ve mentioned this before, but this is because despite a life-long battle with my brain and my understanding of humanity, I still have a poor grasp of what I should say and when, and what honest truths I should keep to myself to keep something adequately… hearable to an audience.

      Hearable isn’t a word, of course, but it’s the only one that fits, as listening doesn’t.

      Thus, I find that I am most often called eloquent when my honest opinion, in the raw way in which it is honest, aligns with the majority. The last time this happened was regarding New Vegas, where I seemed to be in a majority. There were likely other times, but I’ve forgotten them. My memory isn’t really that great for events, despite me having really good detail retention for the things that I do remember.

      Really though, it’s just a ‘stars aligning’ affair. To paraphrase the sage: If I could speak succinctly and understand that which I should withhold, then I’d be a better public speaker, and I’d be more frequently called eloquent.

      @Cryptoshrimp

      Indeed I am. One of the things I’m looking forward to is when someone eventually retrofits the unarmed system – to one which has its own tree, is non-lethal, and ties into sneaking and pickpocketing. The idea would be that you’d sneak up to your foes, knock them out, and then loot whatever quest items you’d need from their bodies, thus not feeling like a homicidal maniac.

      I don’t know why, but the killing aspect really bothers me. It’s been bothering me more and more for years now. It’s symbolism, and I feel like we’re all perpetrating a giant lie. “We are gamers, yes. We’re not violent, no… it’s just that our mainstream escapism happens to be about genocidal murder. This is absolutely no reflection upon us, our desires, or what we see as wish fulfillment. Not at all.” It is really the great lie. And lies, as I’ve mentioned, I have a problem with.

      See, there’s one element of the human psyche I do struggle with: fooling yourself. It’s all tied into the same damn thing. I try to do it, but it’s obvious, and I end up resenting myself for it. if we aren’t so violent then why are our games so bloody homicidal/genocidal with no options to be anything but?

      Therefore, what I’m looking forward to is a way to take that homicidal/genocidal edge off Skyrim. There will be the usual assortment of fixes, upgrades, and peculiarities, but I’ll be on the look out for mods that make speech more useful. And mods that generally allow me to talk my way out of more situations. I mean – I’m the dragonborn, I can’t shout a dragon inert for a few minutes to get my point across? I have to slay the dragon? But I don’t want to.

      This is what I’m hoping for. I realise that there are scenarios where you have no choice, but Skyrim is about an entire scenario, an entire game, where you have no choice. I want that choice. And I’ll be building my mod list around that. Though it’ll likely have to wait until the CK comes out and perhaps a while after that before the Skyrim I truly want starts to take shape. But I will be watching.

      I’m always watching.

      Despite not being the biggest fan of Oblivion, I watched its mod scene like a hawk.

      @Nogo

      Your first misunderstanding is your use of pacifism, it’s incorrect. A war of philosophy is still a war, and a clashing of the intellects is still a clash. What I want is options that don’t necessarily involve bloodshed and mindless violence 100% of the time. I’d like to think that I’m better than some kind of homicidal or genocidal brute. That my character would be smart enough to ask the questions that I’m asking.

      Furthermore, taking on foes with non-lethal force isn’t pacifism either. I mentioned this in my post, but I’m not sure if you actually got that far. Unless you call your local police force a bunch of group-hugging pacifists, I’m not sure I understand you, either. See, I mean, if your local police force arrests a man rather than murdering him in cold blood, do you say that you don’t understand their inclination towards pacifism? Two homicidal wrongs doesn’t make a right. Homicide is a word for a reason, and you don’t really see police forces exercising it unless no other option is presented.

      I would invite you to read the works of Terry Pratchett. Brilliant man. Especially his tales of The Watch. The Watch are, of course, old world precursors to a police force. That’s what a city watch or a town watch is. in their books, they don’t solve problems with constant homicide, nor do they respond to homicide with homicide. Furthermore, think of the city guards – are you confused by their pacifism when they talk to you and try to arrest you rather than murdering you in cold blood?

      By this point, you understand why pacifism is the wrong word. Or you should.

      What I’m proposing is other methods – talking, and if talking doesn’t work, then the employment of non-lethal force. If that doesn’t work or the situation gets desperate, then you employ lethal force as a last resort. But homicidal violence should not be the first thing a hero tries. I mean, really, Skyrim wishes to convince me that I’m a hero, but yet I don’t feel like one. Can you understand that? This is where I don’t understand you, because I don’t understand how you can equate a homicidal maniac to a hero in your mind and be satisfied that you’re anything of moral or ethical worth.

      You are no hero. You’re just another homicidal maniac.

      There’s a game that lampshades this in a truly entertaining way. Look it up. It’s called Moon and it was released for the PlayStation, it was an RPG. Basically, at one point, you end up in the RPG world. And you find out that everything wasn’t as it seemed.

      I’ll try and give a few examples along those lines…

      What you thought: You were stopping a dog from killing you.
      What the world thought: You were intruding on the home of an elderly, sick person whom the dog was just protecting, and that dog was their only friend.

      What you thought: You were killing a bunch of criminals.
      What the world thought: The criminals had had enough of their crummy bandit life and they would have turned themselves in if you’d asked them to.

      What you thought: You were killing a troll that attacked you without reason.
      What the game thought: The troll clearly had a cave with young in it nearby, and everyone knows that trolls only attack to protect their young.

      What you thought: You just participated in a really cool war.
      What the game thought: You were responsible for a number of deaths of friendlies, a lot of soldiers won’t be coming home because of you, and their families resent you.

      What you thought: You just killed a vampire and looted their vile abode.
      What the world thought: Everyone knew he was a vampire, but they knew he was also fighting his urges to live a normal life. They see you as a base thug – a murderer and a looter. Him just being a vampire alone isn’t good enough.

      What you thought: You just took on a dragon. Kill first and ask questions later!
      What the world thought: People heard that that dragon represented a group that were deliberating over whether co-existence was possible, and now there are going to be more dragon attacks, all thanks to you. Good going!

      In many mainstream RPGs there’s a lot of this and it all comes down to imagination. If you have any form of imagination at all, then you don’t feel like a hero. You don’t even research the people you kill in cold blood. You just kill them… in cold blood. Oh, that one’s a dragon. Kill. That’s a vampire. Kill. That’s a bandit. Kill. That’s a dog that’s attacking me. Kill. And so on, you don’t ever think.

      But I do. And it bothers me, it’s weird but it bothers me. All of these people can’t be out to kill me, that would be impossible, so what about the… ‘false positives,’ what about the instances where people were killed where otherwise some kind of agreement might have been made? What if I hadn’t employed lethal force? What if I’d tried to meet them with my intellect instead of with my sword.

      That’s not pacifism. That’s common sense.

      And as for the paths… believe me, I did try. But the game still has you kill an unreasonable amount of people. Do you think I’d be complaining about this if I hadn’t tried? I even tried maxing out all my magic stuff via a cheat to see just how viable proceeding with non-lethal force was, and it wasn’t that great, to be honest. There were still a number of instances of needing to kill, either because the person was an obstacle to your goal, because they were your goal, or so on.

      Now to deal with a few specific points.

      “[...] but it would be an insane waste of resources that most players wouldn’t bother with [...]”

      I disagree with this for two reasons.

      1.) Obsidian did it with New Vegas. Think about it. So you’re making things up, here. Besides, do you even understand what ‘resources’ means in regards to a game development team? Just because you create more content doesn’t mean you’re taking people away. You just hire people to create certain kinds of content, or branches for content. If Obsidian can do it, Bethesda can. Sorry, you’re wrong.

      2.) You’re wrong about most players not wanting it, because there were people around the ‘net that said that New Vegas was great for this reason. And if I’m wrong about that, if you’re right that people don’t want it, then that means that essentially all gamers are closeted homicidal maniacs – ready to snap at any moment. Because that’s all they do for their wish fulfillment.

      You have to see what’s wrong with what I quoted there by now.

      “[...] and going into an RPG with this expectation is no one’s fault but your own.”

      Not really. Again, New Vegas, and just about every Obsidian game ever. In fact, if we go back a bit to the age of Black Isle, then what I’m after was actually common. Your youth is showing, here.

      See, I’m an old fart, and old RPGs had two things going for them – this is where the divide between my views and those of Wizardry are. You had number crunching, and you had fantastic, branching content with loads of choices that all had well written consequence backing them up.

      But you speak like you’ve never played Planescape: Torment. Again, your youth is showing.

      What an RPG is supposed to imply is a role playing game. You play a role. Therefore you make choices. If you’ve ever played pen & paper RPGs then you’d understand that this is the case. It’s all interactive storytelling at its core. When RPGs were first born, they were either just about numbers, or they were about interactive story-telling. I could list stuff at you here… the Fallout games, Arcanum, Ultima VII, Planescape, Icewind Dale, and so on.

      Your youth is really showing.

      This new style of choiceless action adventure ‘RPG’ is quite modern.

      “I can’t even think of a similar style RPG where this option is always on the table for all content; even the original two Fallouts, beloved for their 0 kill routes, required the player to ignore a lot of content, [...]”

      I’m a strong supporter of not being able to play all content. And actually, you’re wrong about this, too. You could complete a whole lot of Fallout without becoming a homicidal maniac. And believe me, I know, I know because I did it for each of the Fallout games.

      You also ignored some content by being a homicidal maniac. That was the nature of games back then – choice. Choice is an important word. New Veags understands this word, and it’s proof positive that the RPGs that I love still exist. All I expect from an RPG is for it to be an RPG. I didn’t even say that Skyrim was a bad game, either (as you are going to painful lengths to imply), I just said that it wasn’t much of an RPG, which it is not.

      “[...] utilize cheesey tactics and have quite a bit of foreknowledge, [...]”

      [citation needed]

      “[...] so it seems you wanted Skyrim to be something it was never touted or expected to be.”

      I wanted to not be a homicidal maniac. I wanted to be a character who talked sometimes. I wanted Bethesda to try to create the sorts of RPGs that Obsidian do. I knew they wouldn’t, I knew they wouldn’t, this you don’t understand either (whole lot of not understanding), but I was disappointed that they didn’t even try anywhere. That there wasn’t even a glint of it. It was just a homicide simulator with some story content. An action adventure. Not that much different from Tomb Raider.

      It was essentially an open world Tomb Raider. What you don’t understand is that an RPG is supposed to imply choice, as a paragon of the genre. What you don’t understand is that the difference between an RPG and an action adventure is that it lets you choose what you do. What you don’t understand is that RPGs are largely character driven affairs, but driven by the characters of the player’s mind, and thus the player’s choices. What you don’t seem to understand is that an RPG shouldn’t force you to be Nathan Drake or Lara Croft.

      It’s not unreasonable to hope for an RPG which doesn’t force you into the role of a homicidal maniac as the only option. And if this is what you want, and if you are chiding me for not wanting it, then I have an incredibly low opinion of you right now because you exemplify what is wrong with gamers. And you are part of the lie. You’ll tell people that you’re not some kind of violent troglodyte, and then you’ll go and reply to me with this anti-intellectual toss.

      See? This is what I’m getting at. I want games to appeal to more than just mindless violence, to allow more than just homicide and genocide, why do you not understand that?

      Why must you be a thug?

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I read the pasted post and was quite surprised. Not that it was a long diatribe, not that it contained huge plot spoilers, but that it didn’t insult anyone for having a contrary opinion.

      Then I read your second long post here and you fixed that last bit several times. Don’t ever change Wulf or people might start to take you seriously.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      “Don’t ever change Wulf or people might start to take you seriously.”

      That was an interesting post about player choice by Wulf. It’s usually the posts that makes sweeping judgments without any proper rebuttals that I usually can’t take seriously.

    • pilouuuu says:

      Amazing post, Wulf and I totally agree. Why can’t we play an RPG and instead we play a hike simulator – FPS – brawler game? I want an RPG and it involves avoiding fight or using intellect. Didn’t Vampire did this? Didn’t KOTOR at times did this? I just hope Bethesda fixes this in some sense with DLC instead of just adding more locations of just the same. Not that I don’t like Skyrim, but it can be so much better.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nogo says:

      “Don’t ever change Wulf or people might start to take you seriously.”

      Yup. I don’t know why I bother responding to him. His self-obsession and condescension, not to mention the pure volume (most of which is redundant), makes a proper dialogue impossible.

      It’s no real surprise that he’s obsessed with battles of wits.

    • Adventurous Putty says:

      Brilliant, brilliant post Wulf! Definitely the finest discussion of what makes an RPG I’ve seen on RPS since that little head-to-head with Wizardry in that Witcher 2 thread a few months ago. You can count me firmly in your camp, and I drool over every new Obsidian game announcement for precisely the reasons you’ve outlined.

  5. thatcity says:

    my game of the year is portal 2!! hell yeah

  6. Foghlaidthe says:

    Inevitable

  7. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    It’s one of the few games that speak to my exploring side, WoW and Fallout 3 being the other ones.

    It’s just so great to start wandering in this huge world and you can be sure you’ll find things. Last time I walked around I found a tower next to a waterfall that entered into a dungeon. And the other side of the dungeon came out under a bridge! Following the water I also found a broken float with a dead guy named Lucky X.

    Skyrim just offers these moments of surprise everytime you log in. You know that you can visit any place on the map and there will be something interesting to see and do.

  8. Sorbicol says:

    It’s a great game and a superb world to walk around, but I do think Portal 2, The Witcher 2 and Frozen Synpase were all better games. Still understand why it was chosen.

    Main problem I have with Skyrim (other than it being Oblivion with Dragons rather than Oblivion gates, and some really poor faction questlines) is that I never feel the world is particularly alive until I happen to be where ever it is I am in the game. Does that make sense? It’s like a my character has a little sphere around him that allows everything to become animated, but move too far beyond it and everything is frozen or deadlocked.

    I’m head of the Companions yet guards still asked if I fetch their mead (No? Would you like to fetch this axe out of your skull?!), the game almost wilfully ignores your achievements. Take down a dragon in a village or town? Do the townspeople look on you in Awe and fall at your feet? No, they say “Wonder where it came from”. I’ve just killed a dragon! I jumped on it’s head and skewered it through the brain! Are you not impressed?! Apparently not………………..

    Compare that to this first time you walked into Floatsum in The Witcher 2. A living, breathing town full of townspeople who are just trying to go about their lives while you are passing through, and it completely dwarfs anything Skyrim achieves just by being a bigger world. Yes it was game with flaws (wonky difficultly curve, a rushed and confused final act) but it has an ambition and creativity behind it that Bethesda don’t even come close to with Skyrim.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Skyrim, it’s a great game. It’s just not as good as The Witcher 2. At least for me!

    Other than that it’s 25 past 11 on Christmas eve night. I Have a heavily pregnant wife to look after and should probably be doing better things with my time. Happy Christmas everyone.

    • pilouuuu says:

      Do you mean it’s something like The Truman Show? I fully agree. Merry Christmas!

  9. Coucouyou says:

    Great choice mister RPS

  10. Inzimus says:

    in all honesty, this was the disappointment of the year – why RPS would even consider this as a top contender is beyond me
    once again Bethesda fails to deliver anything but a sandbox (with such crappy draw-distance that words can barely describe the failure of the “scope” which they are trying to convey in terms of “huge game-worlds”)

    the skill-system that has been cut down even further, the inability to sprint and jump, the horrible UI – the horrible A.I. and the (once again) completely and utterly generic setting make this one of the hugest failure this year

    I played for 12 hours and not *once* did I encounter a dragon
    why?
    because I never started the main quest
    I don’t want to be “the dragonborn” or whatever the excuse is this time around

    this game doesn’t deliver *anything* that the Gothic series (from 1 and forward) didn’t deliver almost a decade ago

    I love Bethesda and I do own almost all of their (PC) titles, but apart from Daggerfall they’ve never deserved to be at the top of any list

    my “GOTY” is Prince of Persia for the Commodore 64
    why?
    because, although (as with TES V – Skyrim) it may not be the most innovative, groundbreaking title of the year, but it *proves* a *hell of a lot more* in terms of “working with what you got and making the most of it”

    TES V (as with TES IV before it) merely hallows out the genre even further with narrowing down our choices and emptying the world-space even further only to give us (yet another) huge, empty shell of a world to play with

    Prince of Persia for the Commodore 64, on the other hand proves that technology, no matter how limited can be pushed beyond the boundaries that *anyone* thought be possible, even-though said technology has been deemed (commercially) dead for almost 2 decades

    now, if Bethesda can prove that they are capable of utilizing the technology at hand (the 360, or whatever they choose) and *push their game(s) beyond any recognizable limits* of said hardware *and* at the same time innovating on a genre for said console(s), *without* sacrificing what *really matters* (gameplay) then I’ll gladly accept any of their games on the top 24

    //drunken rant

    • pilouuuu says:

      Prince of Persia for Commodore 64! Wow! Amazing! That’s the sort of thing that gives us hope. It’s like a Christmas miracle. Merry Christmas everyone!

    • JFS says:

      Now, well, I wanted to point out that you can in fact sprint and jump, but weeeell — if you’re drunk, we’ll leave it there.

  11. zin33 says:

    personally i didnt like skyrim.
    sure it has a lot of content from what ive seen, but the combat seems completely broken and kind of dumb and thats a deal breaker for me. im not asking for SSF4 or DMC3 combat system here but at least something along the lines of dark messiah of might and magic which IMO did combat way better than this game and both are kind of RPGish first person games

  12. Wulf says:

    I do feel like I’m on the ball today, though. Used a lot of words I haven’t in a long time, and not entirely in a bad way. I’ve been feeling like I’m slipping so much lately without being able to do a damn thing about it, and I know my articulation is eroding, but still… I don’t think I’ve done too bad of a job at expressing myself today. I still tend to feel shaken by doubt though as to whether I shouldn’t have said this, or whether I should have put that differently, but if I allowed that to take over I’d never say anything at all.

    I’ve been there. Better just to fire it off and whatever consequences will follow will follow, but I think I’ve done a good enough job in getting my point across. I just hope that Bethesda are listening, because really… the whole mindless violence thing is getting old. I’d love to be able to roleplay my character – with more chances to use speech, bartering, non-lethal force, and even to cart these guys off to one of the prisons they threaten to stick me in (or the mines). I may just be an insufferable nerd, no, I’m sure I’m an insufferable nerd, but I think that it would be fairly cool if I could actually collect a bounty without beheading someone.

    If I could turn up on a doorstep with a bunch of living people and hand them over for some kind of reward. That would be fairly awesome. I’d actually feel good with myself about that. I don’t want to be judge, jury, and executioner. I want to be in a position where if I think a person might be doing a bad thing, I can investigate, learn, play the detective, and ultimately employ non-lethal force. And I want to do this in a fantasy world of elves and orcs. A bit like Arcanum, then. I think that would be really neat. Who doesn’t want to be nordic Sherlock Holmes?

    Anyway, I don’t know if any of you read Prequel Adventure, but in that comic there’s this guard who’s absolutely obsessed with killing anyone who might, might threaten the people of Cyrodiil, and he just dumps the dead bodies at the door of a count or countess as his ‘report.’ And I thought to myself… yeah, that’s basically what we do in these games. So I can’t be the only person who realises this. The guards run up to me and threaten to arrest me, but I’m not allowed to do that in their stead?

    There are so many ways you can solve a problem – through emotion, intellect, through puzzling and wit, through non-lethal approaches, through understanding, and by these means you’d get to feel like some kind of hero. You’re hardly a fireman or anything of the sort, are you? I don’t get why we call these ruthless killers that we play ‘heroes,’ because we all know they’re not. The only word that applies in the correct way is ‘scourge.’ And legion – we are a plague.

    Parasites, insects, ‘heroes,’ I don’t see much difference. There’s not a whole lot of difference in intelligence, that’s for sure. And really, that’s all I want from an RPG. To allow me to be intelligent, to just give me the option now and then to talk someone out of doing something stupid, to barter with them for something I need, to arrest the ne’er-do-wells, to not see blood splattered on the monitor for the vast majority of the time I’m playing it.

    Are these unreasonable desires?

    Well, I’ve said my bit and I’ve taken up enough of your time as it is, and if I talk any more then I’ll just get further doubt, and that’ll turn into guilt, and blah. But I feel compelled to speak about topics like these, I’m passionate about them. I like games, I think games are a truly fantastic interactive medium, genius even, but they’re lessened by so many games being about mindless violence as the only option and nothing else, even our RPGs these days.

    I just don’t understand how a person can go and kill a few hundred virtual people and not even think anything about it in regards to a story – this is their character, after all. What does it say about their character, and them via making these choices vis-a-vis their character.

    I suppose most gamers are just that desensitised.

    But again, I would truly love to see games opening up to more options. You don’t have to be ‘gay’ to want it, you don’t have to want the developer to ‘expend all their resources,’ and I don’t think it’s a completely outlandish desire. But Skyrim is the sort of game you wouldn’t show someone to explain to them why you were a gamer, you’d hide it away in shame. But what if that wasn’t the case?

    Rincewind didn’t have to kill 90% of the Discworld in order to save large parts of it. And why not be a hero like Rincewind?

    So, food for thought, maybe?

    Okay, here’s one more thought, because I think it’s necessary in getting the point across.

    One of my favourite quests in Skyrim, right up until the end of it, was Blood on the Ice. With that, I felt like I was actually doing something good for a change, it felt right, and I enjoyed doing a bit of detective work to track down the felon. It’s a shame it was the only quest present like that, but what can you do?

    So, I figured out who it was and I actually stopped him from murdering someone. This was a high point for me, I’d actually prevented a death. This really stuck in my mind because it was one of the only instances where I’d actually stopped a murder rather than committing one. This was Skyrim doing something a bit wonderful, and I appreciated it.

    Right up until the end.

    I checked numerous guides, but the only way you can finish the quest is by killing the felon. The only way. You can’t do what the guards do and hall him off to prison so that a Skyrim court can decide his fate. No. You could even do that with one of the incorrect suspects!

    No, it’s like the game is almost designed to need a death sacrament to mark the end of a quest or quest chain. It’s like the game sees it necessary for someone to have to die in order for you to complete some content, and I was really enjoying that up until that point.

    Why couldn’t I arrest him? Even in just that one instance… it would have meant that there would have been a memorable quest that wasn’t about My Character, the homicidal maniac.

    Sigh.

    Still, I do want to see more mysteries (and even murder mysteries) in RPGs, I just want less of having to slaughter the felon. It’s not my place to kill him, or to decide his fate. It’s like saying that I’m automatically better than the guards and the laws of the land.

    • JackShandy says:

      It’s certainly unfortunate that you wanted to play a game about being nice to people, and accidentally bought Skyrim.

    • magos says:

      @Wulf

      My God man, you use a lot of words to explain some very simple opinions. Decent opinions yes, but many, many words.

      Yes, Choice & Consequence would be brilliant, but this just ain’t what Bethesda offer. It never has been. Arena, Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim have all been hack and slash in a sandbox. It’s not going to change.

      Seeing as we’re in fantasyland, what I found was that the economy of the game just didn’t support the crafting options. I’d love to see a Mediaeval Elite style game, where crafting/cooking actually gives something to the game. I could sink hours into a game allowing me to travel from city to city, crafting goods for the locals, making enough money to move to the next city, and maybe buy a house.

      God I’m boring.

    • pilouuuu says:

      I agree with Wulf. Maybe what we need is Obsidian to get the rights and make a new Ultima game with this engine…

    • MistyMike says:

      Hey Wulf,

      I’m generally sympathetic to your reflections about the need for more ways of conflict resolution in games, particularily in open-world sandboxes such as Skyrim. It would be great to have more well-thought out options than just mindless massacre. To be able to feel like you out-smart your foes, not just out-muscle them with a huge sword/fireball.

      BUT an important observation about the fantasy genre is that it is a pop-cultural interpretation of mythical stories. The main source of inspiration for fantasy games/novels/movies are old tales such as the Arthurian mythos, Nibelungen saga and Nordic/Greek/Roman mythology. Do you see what these old stories have in common?
      They are VIOLENT. They are about heroes who often rely on the sword instead of diplomacy and sometimes do things which seem atrocious from our modern perspective. Think how Oddysseus SLAUGHTERED all of his wife’s suitors after he came home. These guy were innocent, they all had thought her husband was long dead! But Odysseus chose to kill them all, and still the audience is supposed to take his side and not to abhor his act.
      The thing is that mythological stories reflected the moral views of their respective cultures, and not our modern-day sensitivity. The fantasy genre, such as in CRPGs, exist in part to let you feel like one of those legendary heroes, who exist absolutely outside of any modern notions of morality. It is an escapist fantasy, but it has a potential for catharsis and to convey many themes through symbols.

  13. Chris D says:

    Happy [Insert prefered holiday/religious observance here] everyone. Especially to everyone else who is trapped with relatives and can only await the merciful release of Horace’s devouring jaws.PLEASE SEND HELP. It’s too late, they’re coming for me…

  14. Zankmam says:

    PLEASE MAGICKA, DAMMIT!

  15. noobule says:

    I appear to have misplaced the delete comment button

  16. Premium User Badge

    Museli says:

    Meh, Skyrim’s OK, I guess. Happy Christmas to all writers and readers of RPS!

  17. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Who is this RPS everyone speaks of?

    • Premium User Badge

      ffordesoon says:

      Robert Paul Schoonmaker, the greatest haberdasher who ever lived.

  18. Aufero says:

    I had resolved not to buy it for six months to allow time for all the major bugs to be fixed. This exercise of willpower on my part did not survive yesterday’s Steam sale.

  19. Premium User Badge

    quietone says:

    I like it when people says “Skyrim sucks. I’ve spent a fortnight nonstop on it and I found it boring”

    Well, spank my knee and call me dovahkiin, but something must have made you play it for a fortnight nonstop :-)

    I am a single-player, PC-user, ARPG/simulators fan, so I am in no position to argue on whether Skyrim is THE game of the year, but it certainly is great. The reasons have been better expressed by others a gazillion times. And yes, I am painfully aware of the many bugs and flagrant shortcomings of the game, but it still is thoroughbly enjoyable.

    As for the rest, I’ve been following this site for a year now and I’ve enjoyed the posts and comments here more than the games themselves. So roll on 2012 but…

    1) The site’s textures are really bad.
    2) Browser based? Come on! You can’t be serious!
    3) No spanish version for us latin americans! you suck!
    4) No gamepad support!
    5) Free to read? I’m not convinced.
    6) No Game & Watch port?

    Yeah, I know…lousy jokes. I know my wait out sorry

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      Some people play mafia wars compulsively for years.

      • Unaco says:

        Well, to be fair, just when you try to get out… they pull you back in.

  20. buzzmong says:

    See us at the other end? After being devoured by Horace?

    Is there something the Hivemind has been keeping from us?

  21. tyrsius says:

    I know this is probably a weird place to ask, and I barely remember the proper detials to be asking (I might even remeber it incorrecly) but does anyone remember an indy game that got a brief mention while in development a few months back that had like a yellowish green solid color background and was a puzzle game about some creature that could attach itself to walls and objects in some weird way…

    I know, sparse on info but its been driving me crazy for two days.

  22. scatterbrainless says:

    I declare this deserving. Those who complain are simply playing it wrong, I’ve decided. If you find it boring, use some imagination and create an interesting character: make Garret, but give him mind-control powers, dress him as a jester, steal your enemies’ weapons then beat them to death with your fists. Or pickpocket them to death with poisons. Basically Bethesda delivered a game that’s mostly as fun as you make it. And yes, the best thing about it is that the best version is still coming. Unlike other games, you won’t look down on this in a couple years: it will actually be BETTER two years after release than right now. Just that fact alone is pretty amazing from an industry intent on treating its games and gamers as though they were amnesiac idiots consuming digital ice-cream on a hot day.

  23. morningoil says:

    I’m afraid it’s a no. For all the undoubted ambition, the undeniable achievement, the thrilling promise of the first 10 hours or so, the wonder of standing for the first time by the tree in Whitereach and looking out across the beautiful world, Markarth – my God, the exterior of Markarth – and the astonishing thought that maybe, just maybe, Bethesda have finally done it, finally cracked it, it’s a no. It’s a no because Bethesda make games that are, at bottom, bad. They’ve always made bad games, and it looks like they always will. Skyrim, like Oblivion, like Daggerfall, is, tragically, woundingly hollow, bland, and dead. I so wanted to like it. I really did. Imagine how good Skyrim would be if it really delivered on that promise, if the very playing of it drew you in like Thief, if the narrative realisation of all those stories were as good as Torment, if that gorgeous, frigid world were autonomous and living like, oh, even like STALKER. I desperately, desperately wanted to like it. And then it turned out to be bad.

    Oh well.

    GotY? Ummmmm. BofI. I think.

    PS I never really played Morrowind.

    • Resonance says:

      So basically if it was the best game ever made, with all the best parts of other games and the best game narrative of all time, it would be GOTY?