Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, out November 11th

Currently in development by Bethesda Softworks, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim promises to plunge the player into a breathtaking fantasy world populated with armed enemies and fire-breathing dragons.

Granted, these games always promise lavish graphics and elegant gameplay, but Skyrim really looks to be raising the bar and is earning its fans well ahead of its scheduled November 11th release date.

Moments of genius from the design team at Bethesda include the ability to look to the sky and see your character's abilities plotted out as stars in constellations, the heavens literally reordered as your game progresses and you learn new skills.

It's also nice to see two-handedness as a feature, with some spells able to be enhanced by equipping them to both hands of your character and firing both controller triggers together.

As the video above explains, the distant scenery is not just a background image - you can walk to it and, in the case of mountains, climb them.

This makes for seamless gameplay and is given a further boost by close-up details such as drifting snow at high altitudes, not to mention the in-game map - reached simply by zooming out until you can see the entire Skyrim world.

Bethesda's second preview clip shows more of the gameplay of Skyrim, and while it looks pretty impressive, I'm not fully convinced as yet.

A lot of the time it appears as though the character is on a fairly restricted path - a trail down a mountainside in the first clip, passageways through dungeons in the second. I'd like to see a less linear approach, both in terms of movement and story progression.

However, it's good to see some traditional elements in place - the combination of weapon-based combat and spell-casting, treasure chests that line the dungeon routes, and logic puzzles to solve in order to progress.

These are only sneak previews, but I suspect the highly detailed graphics of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim could overshadow the game itself. Come November 11th, we'll all be able to tell for sure.

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