Birdwatching is a column by Eddie King. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Digixav.
I didn’t manage to impale a sharp projectile into my patella but regardless I have managed to lose my sense of humour over Digixav’s favourite game of 2011, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Yes, the small red flying feathered ball in the sky is going to be taking the big, scaly, fire breathing monster that is Skyrim. It was one of the most highly anticipated games since the release of Oblivion back in 2005 and when it arrived at school on a November morning even the quietest and most reasonable students became national standard rugby players and managed to barge past most of the school to play it. I did observe and despair, and this is why.
A game should stimulate you mentally. It should make you think and feel and it should be an experience. Skyrim is just a way to waste time. The mechanics of the game are repetitive and there are enough side missions to get lost in. Replay value? I think not because the chances are you will never finish the entire game before your mind is reduced to a whimpering mass at the back of your cranium. You play as a violent oaf who can somehow swing some stupidly large piece of some unknown element at some impossibly alive bag of walking bones which can absorb more damage than a Nokia. I guess what I am so angry about is that it claimed to be so good; it claimed to be a vast, open world to lose yourself in. Well yes, I certainly did lose myself in it, the problem being that I didn’t manage to find a way out. The story is just too big and there needs to be an end. An infinite story should not be allowed. I want to be able to enjoy understanding the various intricacies and twists instead of having huge amounts of nonsensical myths and obscure cults that everybody I meet seems to want me to join dropped into my lap and let me wonder what the hell I am supposed to do with it all. This is prominent when you get into the game and you check your mission catalogue, only to find about three pages worth of objectives that you have no intention of completing. Then when finally you do get round to starting AND finishing a quest the formula is the same every single time. Namely go here and talk to this person, pick up another two quests, go there and enter a mildly scary looking cave, wait at loading screen for too long, go inside and navigate a complex array of tunnels, encounter a few enemies which you can get rid of by button bashing which results in the same three moves until they die and finally collect your reward which is the ability to talk to some stars which help you in some practical way. Because stars now control how good we are at stuff, don’t you know.
The game lies to you, and after a few hours you have seen everything you are ever going to see. The combat systems are overly simplistic and movements are very slow. Now at this point those of you who are still reading and haven’t taken offence will note that I admit that Skyrim isn’t all bad as the graphics are insane and certain parts of the story are pretty epic. It is also a very good addition to the Elder Scrolls series and the people who have grown used to this style of game will have no qualms where I was tearing my hair out. Also, despite me claiming that it is a mindless game, some of the puzzles are quite challenging but the end is always inevitable. The slow and unrealistic fighting and repetitiveness of the gameplay unfortunately mean that this game becomes boring by the time you are in desperate need of a pee in front of laptop. Skyrim is a good game but is let down by being hyped up far too much and it isn’t the completely free universe it claims to be.