My name is Jim, and like you, since early last year I've been forced to consume entertainment from my home. Coronavirus – pandemic – sickness – awfulness! But within it lay a gift. I stopped self shaming about being a hermit, and I stopped being critical of "gamers" and "gaming culture" as I grew older – I used to frown upon the aging gamer, even when I was in my early teens. This idea is ridiculous, archaic, and ultimately whispered down from boomers and parents. I'm certain most people of my relative age will continue to game into their twilight years.
Because of Coronavirus I've been bored. Very bored. I recently seperated with common law, close friends have both moved away, and my family relationships are strained (at best)… The pandemic took the chance of something new away from me, I had to stay inside, and look at something old… Rapture.
I replayed Bioshock. It was completely different than what I remembered as a kid. It was complex, completely brilliant, and the characters and nuances and philosophy of the storytelling were only present to a more learn-ed me. I was in no way mature enough to understand the weight of these stories.
After my amazing experience with a game "I felt like I knew" I said damn it all! And just went with it! Haymaker after haymaker – I'm quarantined after all! I'm going to play the best games of my memory, and even some of the best that I've missed!
I replayed the first Red Dead Redemption (John Marston is the best protagonist and that is the most all-killer-no-filler story ever written with brilliant conversation on if one can change, if redemption is even possible), then I replayed Oblivion (oh my dear god, I knew every character by name and the lore surrounding them even though I haven't thought about the game in close to a decade and was immediately in love with the art and soundtrack – it was like it was brand new), and then I never played it before, but I played The Witcher 3 and Fallout New Vegas for the first time… and those games… Geralt Of Rivian and The Courier – my mind blew open.
I was in such awe of Witcher, and New Vegas, I kicked myself – what the hell have I been doing! They felt like some of the best pieces of storytelling, nevermind, they were some of the best experiences with gaming I had ever had – and I had abandoned gaming as a teen and completely refused to acknowledge the art form! Games are brilliant, emotional, moving, engaging, and often intense forms of storytelling.
That brought me to Skyrim. I spent so much money on the game and DLC. It was hyped to infinity. It was deafening hearing people sing it's praises – and I listened! I was so ready! I was so ready to be immersed, engaged, to fall in love with a game again…
People said that of the Witcher. I didnt listen. Of fallout, I didnt listen. So, I went back to where I thought I had missed something brilliant.
And it was… over. I put sixty hours in, waiting for "it" to happen. I completed all the DLCs, I went out of my way to do as many misc quests as I could. I involved myself with the lore (a mechanic I learned from New Vegas because I thought knowing things would affect decision making), but none of it mattered.
I killed a dragon god and it had no weight. I met all these characters and liked none. The companions had no weight, the terrifying red palm of Sithis was a corpse sitting straight up and motionless – and here I am, at the end, wondering what the hell did anyone see in this game.
I expect some responses, so I'll address them before they're written. "The game is like ten years old, storytelling and game mechanics have evolved."
In replaying my collection I replayed SanAndreas, Bioshock, Halo 1 and 2, Fallout New Vegas and… Oblivion! And they weren't just as, they were more amazing than when I played them the first time! (Excluding Vegas, that was my first playthrough)
I really want to understand. I love characters, I love storytelling, vibes and environment – I love impactful beginnings and ends, Skyrim has none of this.
It's not the worst experience gaming I've ever had, but it is the most dissapointing gaming experience I've ever had. I really fell in love with video games again, and had complete faith in this game… and I'm a bit disillusioned and cynical after it.
Oh, yeah, I also played GTA IV because of it's "universal acclaim" – Niko Bellic, Brucie, and the Dragonborn were so, so, so dissapointing.
I really can't be alone in this. I feel like Skyrim has this cult-like following, it has people with stockholm syndrome – "it loves me and I love it" sort of insanity.
I'm sorry, i just spent so much on this. And I didn't like a second of it, a character, a philosophy, a gameplay mechanic, really, I didn't like anything.
Oblivion's gates consumed me, with better characters, better story, better atmosphere and more interesting quests and gameplay – I'm actually a bit let down by this experience. I'm sure some of you get it.
That being said I have other Bethesda in my catalogue to go through – Doom and Morrowind, and I just hope they make up and reignite that enthusiasm I had. Enthusiasm Skyrim, kind of, diminished.
That being said, if you love the game and think I'm missing something please tell me or respond in the comments. I genuinely want to love and understand this thing – I just don't.
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© Post "VERY, VERY, HOT TAKE – SKYRIM" for game The Elder Scrolls.
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