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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Skyrimin'


Yes, I have a beef with November; then again, this November is a great month for PC gamers. Just look at this month’s releases: Modern Warfare 3, from the franchise that has left many wives and girlfriends doubting the wisdom of having a relationship with a gamer; and Skyrim. I needn’t go beyond Skyrim.
The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim (to give the game its full name) is as immersive as any video game can get. It has a vast, complex game world, numerous quests, and in-game details that can turn a gamer into an obsessive-compulsive asshole.  Yes, pretty standard for an RPG, but this game compels you to actually finish it.

I’ve played Bethesda’s Morrowind and Oblivion (both in the Elder Scrolls universe), but those games quickly turn into a bore-fest, at least for me. The time I played Morrowind, I followed the storyline for awhile, did a few side quests, and when I realized that I am not getting paid to do this mind-numbing chore (I already have my job for that), I quit the game faster than Kim Kardashian quit her "marriage."  The same pattern happened when I played Oblivion.
I usually avoid games that are described as open ended, a game description that reminds me of all those hours I will never get back playing those Bethesda games. But when it comes to games, I am a forgiving sort; and this flaw in my character led me to play Bethesda’s Fallout: New Vegas last year.
I stopped playing it when I began to question what my priorities were in life. You’d think that too when you find yourself wandering around yet another vault/cave for hours, with nothing happening, because you got lost (again!)  and can’t find the exit. 
Although to be fair to the Fallout franchise, I’ve played and finished Fallout 3, some years ago.
But Skyrim has a game world that practically begs to be explored, and with an engaging storyline to boot. Plus, I didn’t get lost! At least not for very long. This makes me optimistic that I might actually finish an Elder Scrolls game. 
And talk to more dragons!
The game is not without bugs and glitches, of course. For example, in a quest (A Cornered Rat) where you have to find Esbern to talk to him to advance the storyline, the player will find himself standing in front of a room with a door that refuses to open, preventing the player from completing the quest. An annoying bug, but a workaround is available here.
Also, if you are the sort of gamer who has no qualms about using cheats, the good folks at Bethesda have thoughtfully provided cheat codes.  
You don’t have to use Cheat Engine, like a certain gamer I know who used it to increase money and ability points in games like Rage, NBA 2k12 and many others. Cheating bastard.
Skyrim plays at a steady 60 frames per second, whether you turn off V-Sync or not, with settings at Ultra High--I play on a rig with a Core i5 750 processor, 4GB Ripjaw RAM, Nvidia GTX 460 (1GB), Asus P7 P55D mobo, and powered by Corsair 650 watts; my monitor has a 1600x900 resolution. Pretty average, for a weekend gamer like me. 

And with Skyrim, I will be dead to the world again this coming weekend.

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