I finally started playing Skyrim. I put off buying until this winter because I knew it would hook me. Even after I bought it I put off playing it for months. I finally loaded it up over the holidays, and I have been steadily playing it ever since. Skyrim gets so many things right. For one thing, the leveling system is amazing. You level not by getting experience points for killing bad guys, but for using your various skills. This encourages you to explore the different skill trees in the game, and rewards you for playing the game. The exploration element is also amazing. When I load up the game I can sometimes just wander around a new area to see what’s there. It’s like playing a George R.R. Martin book. The quest system also insures that there is a ton for you to do so you never get bored or stuck on a single mission. And if you don’t feel like questing, you can collect things to use to make new armor or potions. I’ve spent a playing session just making armor to level up my smithing skill. It is a game you can totally fall into.
All of these strengths come at some cost. For one thing, the story and characters aren’t great. With Dragon Age, I cared about finding out what was going on and getting to know the different characters. I don’t care in Skyrim. Like Dragon Age, there are frequent long loading times – usually between 15 to 20 seconds when entering a new room, and longer when entering a new area or fast traveling. It makes the game drag. The game is also glitchy. I played for about an hour before I realized I couldn’t save, and had to restart. I’ve gotten stuck in places, and there are numerous graphical glitches – characters appearing or disappearing, etc. Combat is a little clunky but still fun.
I’m loving it, but I’m scared at how much time I’ll need to put into it. Considering that I play for 30-60 minutes 4-5 times a week, that means that a hundred hour came will take me half a year to finish at least. And that’s if I don’t get bored of it before then.