Going into this game, the only things I knew about Skyrim were "I used to be an adventurer like you", and that Aela is apparently a strong contender for "best girl." That's it.
My experience with the open-world genre is extremely limited, with my only two excursions into it being Shadow of Mordor and Assassin's Creed: Black Flag. Both of which I'm told are among the more "contained" open-world titles. So you can imagine I was surprised when, after initially reaching Whiterun, I was essentially given the map to explore at will. One moment I'm asking Whiterun's Jarl to send some guards to Riverwood, the next, I'm waking up in Markarth after a night of debauchery in Falkreath.
Speaking of Markarth. Out of the Holds I've visited thus far, Markarth is by far my favorite. I am a huge fan of vertical levels and locales built into mountainsides, and Markarth checks both of those boxes.
Considering this is my first run of Skyrim, I took the Dark Souls approach to my character – sword and shield, archery, some dabbling in two-handed weapons. Nothing fancy. And I have to say, I have found myself absolutely loving Skyrim's archery. It's extremely satisfying sneaking onto the highest tower in a hostile outpost just to snipe most of the enemies from above. I look forward to giving magic a swing on a future character, considering how many times I've gotten my ass kicked by sorcerers and summoners. Also, I rather enjoy the lockpicking system. It can be frustrating at times, but I've had fun with it for the most part.
As much as I'm loving the open world Skyrim has to offer, I've found that it's also the bane of my existence. I'm the kind of person who simply has to have all my quests checked on, I have to. As such, my compass and map hosts an infestation of quest markers, and it feels as if every time I complete one side quest, two more take its place.
As far as enemies go, the game feels fair (playing on Adept difficulty). If they look like an enemy I can take, I usually can. If they look like an enemy that can kick my ass, they usually do. That said, I've found that the AI simply hates when you jump onto a rock or roof that they can't, and I've certainly used this to my benefit on multiple bears and giants.
I don't know why I didn't think a fantasy game like Skyrim wouldn't have giant fucking spiders as enemies, but boy howdy was that a mistake on my part. I absolutely despise entering caves where giant webs cover the entire doorway. Even if there are no spider enemies to be found, I can't shake the paranoia. Seriously, fuck those Frostbite Spiders.
All in all, it's been a very solid experience so far and I can't wait to get back into it. Man! It's been some time since any piece of media has sunk its claws into me like Skyrim has. I just can't seem to get away from the game.
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© Post "First time Skyrim player – some thoughts thus far." for game The Elder Scrolls.
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