Then I Took An Arrow to the Knee

What I'm Playing: Skyrim

I got an Amazon gift certificate over the holidays, and I wanted to spend it on something I knew I was interested in trying out, but wasn't willing to bet my own money on liking. I've always been a fan of sword-and-sorcery RPGs, but they cost a pretty penny, so I decided to use my newfound wealth to get Skyrim. I was a little suspicious, given how much I hated its precursor Morrowind. It got tons of good press, though, and several people declared it their Game of the Year.

I'm not very far into it yet, but I can see what they like. It's visually stunning, and rather than being stuck in a rigidly-assigned role, your character can improve in any skill that you wish, from fire-blasting to crafting armor.

It may be a little too much of a good thing. The realism and freedom are taken to such a degree that this is one of the most difficult games I've played lately. I often need a lot more guidance than the AI in this world is willing to offer me. I have so much freedom here, that I'm not really sure I know what I'm trying to accomplish, and often wander into an area where an enemy can take me out with a single smack to the head.

The training wheels are off as far as this game is concerned. Want a side quest? Go figure out who offers them. Want to train yourself to be a power mage? Take your best guess as to which skills to improve. Need to find a distant town? Blaze your own path. It's a little daunting, but an interesting digression from my usual style of play. Normally, I'd be somewhat frustrated with how challenging it is to blindly pick my way through this vast game, but you'd be amazed how much that frustration is eased when you're playing on someone else's dime.


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