30 January 2014

Skyrim is not perfect!

Ah Skyrim... The last of The Elder Scrolls' games, one of the largest games ever made. Seriously, you can play it for hundreds of hours and still be far from completing all the quests that were implemented. I've completed it not once, but twice already and spent almost 500 hours exploring the snow covered province of the Nords. It is definitely one of the best games ever made, together with its older brothers Arena, Daggerfall, Morrowind and Oblivion. Speaking of them, I remember how amazed I was back in 1995 or 96 (I cannot remember the exact year, to be honest) when I first installed and played Daggerfall. It was so big.. so huge, it's really hard to explain that to someone who wasn't playing games back then. So many towns to visit, so many quests to complete, guilds to join and fight for. 

Anyway, Skyrim is a dream come true for a lot of gamers, but it's not perfect. Far from it. Yes, it looks amazing, it's HUGE, it has literally hundreds of quests available and you can never know where a new quest giver will ambush you... they are everywhere! Ranging from simple fetch quests to big world-changing ones. If you give yourself a goal to clear your quest long and still talk to everyone you meet, you will end up just like me - instead of clearing the log you will be filling it up until you die of exhaustion and give up or complete everything after 300 hours. But I am digressing, I wanted to talk about the flaws. I guess I wanted to let you know that I really love this game and I don't want to trash it. I just want to point out some things that Bethesda should consider fixing for its future The Elder Scrolls' installments.

So... What's actually wrong with Skyrim? First of all it's the quest bugs. There's so many of them you just can't keep track of them. Sometimes a person who should be giving you a quest will not even talk to you or they would just not give you the option to send you on a quest. Those are the best kind actually because you wouldn't end up with a bugged quest in the log. Worse kind are those that start but cannot complete. Sometimes you picked up the quest item before getting the quest and NPC doesn't recognize the previously picked item. Or you are asked to go fetch a book or a sword from a cave you already cleared and going back there discovers an empty chest. So... you have to deliver an item that does not exist! It makes you think that you are being punished for exploring the world without being told to do so. Then again, there's plenty of quests that are discovered only if you actually enter the cave or a ruin and run into an NPC or an item that starts the quest. Some of those have really nice rewards and should not be skipped, but exploring might result in broken quests. This can easily be "fixed" if you play the PC version though. You can simply bring up the console and tell the game to complete a certain step for you, but if you are an Xbox player... well, sorry, you are screwed.

Another fine example of a quest bug is a lizard guy in Riften who asks you to find out about his origins. However, he is also a target of a thieving plot so he ends up in jail and once he does - you can no longer talk to him. So you are able to find out about who he really is, but since he is in jail - you can never tell him that. Even if you go and visit him in Riften's jail, he simply refuses to talk to you.

Quest bugs such as this one might not bother everyone, but they are a real pain in the eye for a perfectionist such as myself. I can't stand having incomplete quests in my log and it annoys me. Besides, I cannot know if some small bug is stopping me from completing a chain of quests that might give me a super mega reward at the end! I don't like the idea of depending on Skyrim related websites that explain the quest progress for those that are stuck because of damn bugs!

Also, I really wish there was more freedom with quests. I play a goodie character who helps everyone and never asks for a coin, but I end up having a quest where I have to sacrifice a companion or lure someone into a cave where he or she will be eaten alive! Sometimes you are able to change the course a bit and end up with a failed quest, but mostly it's either do as being told or ignore it completely and end up with another incomplete quest.

Jumping in Skyrim is laughable. Have you tried jumping on a mountainous terrain? You end up gliding and being unable to jump again until you are on a completely flat ground again. It makes the whole movement in game seem... plastic and very unreal. It's also possible to pass very steep mountains by "gliding" or drop down from highest peaks without getting hurt. Seriously, try it out if you never did before. It's so surreal, I have no better word to describe it.

Horses cannot go backwards. Enough said.

I wish they figured some other way to deal with combat. The way they did it is the same as in Oblivion and it's very unimaginative. Swing your weapon in 3-4 ways, use a shield to block a few enemy attacks, draw an arrow and fire it from the bow or use the spells... It's not BAD, it's just too simple and exactly the same from the very first minute and all the way to the end. I am not saying that they should have implemented martial arts into Skyrim, but a variety and some "new" moves or even combos would have been welcome.

And the last thing I can think of is... NPC reactions to the dead. You may get attacked by vampires or cultists while walking down the streets of a big city and the guards will help you fight them off. Once the combat is over and you have 4 dead vampires on the street... that's it. Loot them if you want, but their bodies will stay there for all eternity unless you move them away yourself. What the hell? Ok, It may be hard to make NPCs move the dead but at least despawn their dead bodies after a few hours. I remember fighting some cultists in Whiterun early in the game and I kept visiting that same spot for months and their bodies were still there. I got so annoyed that I picked them up and threw them into a river. And the guards didn't even ask me what I was doing, as if I was picking up some flowers. Fun!

There's probably a lot more I could write about but this is enough. Again, Skyrim is one of the best games ever but it would have been even better if some of those things were fixed. Consider this to be a friendly suggestion to the good people of Bethesda who keep giving us fantastic games :)


  1. You still forgot the most glaring flaw in the game - Level-scaling.
    Nothing more annoying than killing a couple of two-bit bandits (Who are strangely powerful, no less) in a podunk cave, only to discover their treasure consisting of enchanted ebony weapons and flawless jewels.

  2. You got that one right! Also surprising is a simple Iron Shield after clearing 4 full areas of Draugr Demigods and their Dragonpriest boss!