Tag Archives: Skyrim
Dragon Age 3: Inquisition will take notes from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s balance of a huge, explorable world with significant player actions. BioWare’s Aaryn Flynn spoke to Game Informer (via Kotaku) about the next in BioWare’s fantasy RPG series.
“You can’t look at a game like Skyrim and not think about how impressive what they’ve accomplished is—or [think] that’s an interesting new direction or that there was something that didn’t work well for them that we could take in a new direction,” Flynn said. “So, we’re always influenced by these games, especially in a relatively tight-knight genre like RPGs.”
Flynn said that RPGs should return to a greater emphasis on exploration, as BioWare itself did in games like Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights. BioWare has strayed from the open path in both Mass Effect and Dragon Age, Flynn said, but that’s one way he wants Dragon Age 3 to return to its roots.
Inquisition is still early in development, with no confirmed release date. Reports have surfaced that it may be targeted to appear early on Sony and Microsoft’s next-gen consoles.
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Cliff Bleszinski is a big fan of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and he thinks its open-world exploration could be a great fit for a potential Unreal reboot. Bleszinski, Epic Games’ design director, responded to several questions on a Reddit ask-me-anything thread, laying out what he’d like to see in the future of the first first-person shooter franchise he co-created.
“I couldn’t help but wonder what a reboot of Unreal would be like if it was more ‘SciFi-Rim,’” Bleszinski said. “Sure, there would be shooting involved, but exploration would almost be more important. Get back to that sense of wonder that the first game had … Put it on a high end PC and prepare yourself for amazing visuals never before seen in real time.”
Bleszinski also commented on the difficulty of reviving old franchises, balancing hardcore fans who just want an updated version as close to the original as possible, and others who would complain about lack of changes. But for the moment, Epic remains “slaves to our success” of Gears of War and Infinity Blade.
“We’re understaffed right now for all of the projects we’ve got going on so I can’t say if or when it may happen. I do love that IP and do hope to return to Na Pali some day.”
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim excelled at providing a vast array of different environments to explore. The role-playing game’s first downloadable add-on, Dawnguard, ups the ante. One of this mini-expansion’s greatest joys is its new areas. You investigate a portion of the oblivion realm, which has an otherworldly beauty, and travel through a chilly glacial retreat replete with gorgeous waterfalls and frozen lakes. You traverse suspended walkways and fight pointy-eared falmer upon them, and get swept away by rushing waters too strong to struggle against. Dawnguard is lovely and atmospheric, and traveling these new regions is a pleasure.
The Dawnguard referred to in the title is a faction of vampire hunters out to expel the bloodsuckers from the land. Once the new quest line is initiated (by speaking to guards, or by the sudden appearance of a courier), you set off to speak with this ancient order. Soon, you must make a decision: side with the Dawnguard or ally with the vampires themselves. In either case, the main quest line sends you through most of the same areas with most of the same goals, though the details differ, and there are plenty of faction-specific side quests to take on. There is a nice slice of vampire family drama that provides intriguing and thoughtful context, though as is ever the case with Skyrim, Dawnguard is more about making your own adventure than getting swept up in a linear story.
Should you side with the vamps, you get one of the DLC’s more intriguing features: the ability to morph into a vampire lord. In this form, you can hover over the ground and fling magic at enemies, which sucks life from them and grants it to you. You have other abilities in this form, too: a short-range teleport in which you zoom forward in a flutter of bats, the ability to magically grab your foes and fling them elsewhere, and so forth. There’s also a full perk tree for vampire lords, and it doesn’t take too much effort to tear through it and be treated to some of the vampire lord’s finer skills. (One high-level perk has you permanently surrounded by a colony of bats.) You don’t earn new perks by gaining levels. Rather, you earn them after defeating enough enemies by usurping their life energy.
In many ways, roving as a vampire lord is a treat. The form is visually striking (you cannot play as a vampire lord in first-person view), and the array of vicious attacks can make you feel deliciously evil. It’s grotesque fun to fling a falmer around, or to raise a gargoyle from the dead and have him join the fray. It’s also a joy to take wing and glide: it’s faster than sprinting, and you get a nice stamina boost to keep you floating forward. But transforming has its downsides. Many areas, including the first ones you visit after earning the ability, have tight passageways that you can’t fit through as a vampire lord. It’s an odd disconnect between the level design and a new feature you’ll want to play with as soon as you have it. As a result, you frequently morph between normal and lord forms, which can be an annoyance. It takes several seconds for the transformation to even begin after you hit the associated bumper, making you wonder if your button tap even worked. After that, there’s still a long animation to wait through, during which the game stutters.
Stutters aren’t the only glitches you might face. Your companion, or members of your faction, might turn on you for no reason. The only fix? Reload a saved game. Several waypoints are flat-out busted, slowdown is an occasional issue, and you might try to activate an object only to be told you’re in combat. It’s not always clear whether the troubles relate to Dawnguard or originate from the main game. Either way, don’t expect respite from companion AI troubles and other foibles.
In spite of these annoyances, there are moments that greatly shine in the dozen or so hours it takes to complete Dawnguard as either faction. You do battle versus two gigantic foes on top of a precarious frozen lake. You converse with morose spirits and glimpse a spectral horse before it dissipates into the ether. A sycophant praises your every deed as though you were God himself, and later apologizes for his own victimhood. Certain tasks have you traversing large landscapes with too few battles to break up the pace. But the diversity of the landscapes might still draw you to their most attractive corners, seeking new sights–and the possibility of hidden treasure. (Sometimes, you may find such treasure, though it may very well be guarded by a lumbering frost giant.)
Like Skyrim proper, Dawnguard provides a good mix of conversation, combat, and exploration, and it integrates well with the main game. You learn new dragon shouts, solve puzzles, discover tomes that you might return to the College of Winterhold for a tidy sum, and so forth. If you are a werewolf (which means joining the Dawnguard and forgoing lording over others as a vampire), you too get a set of perks all to yourself, and there is all-new armor to don and weapons to use, like the new crossbows. You can even now do battle while mounted, which feels a bit loose and clumsy, but is a nice touch nonetheless, since you don’t need to dismount every time a wolf chomps at your steed’s legs.
It’s too bad Dawnguard arrives with its own set of bugs, though it’s not necessarily a surprising turn of events given the glitchy game it expands. The issues don’t fully pull your focus from the add-on’s main strengths, however. The new areas and quests make for an attractive and varied journey, and there are fun battles that punctuate an enjoyable and worthwhile addition to a wonderful game. Whether you prefer to avoid the darkness or embrace it, Dawnguard is a fine reason to return to Skyrim’s wintry paradise.
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If you’re anything like me,
hearing the word “Kinect” immediately
brings to mind images of people embarrassing themselves as they
foolishly pantomime various actions in the middle of their living
rooms. Honestly, using theatrical gestures to control a video game has
very little appeal to me. There are some obvious examples of
experiences that benefited from the use of motion controls, including href="http://www.1up.com/games/xbox360/gunstringer">The
Gunstringer and href="http://www.1up.com/games/xbox360/fruit-ninja">Fruit
Ninja Kinect. These games
succeeded on a design level by providing simple and immersive pleasures
that quite frankly could not be replicated via a controller. Sadly,
most Kinect titles end up transforming into frustration simulators
(yes, we’re looking at you, href="http://www.1up.com/games/xbox360/kinect-star-wars">Kinect
Star Wars). With the news that
Bethesda was preparing to release a patch for href="http://www.1up.com/games/pc/elder-scrolls-v">Skyrim
that weaves Kinect functionality into the game, many of us worried that
we’d end up looking like jackasses as we played through one of 2011′s
finest titles. Thankfully, these fears were quickly squashed when we
saw how refined and subtle the new non-traditional method of control is
Bethesda was wise to forgo the
obvious route of having players flail their arms like a Dovahkiin in a
slap fight. You won’t find yourself using your Kinect to swing a battle
ax or target specific enemies in the the middle of a fracas. In fact,
Skyrim doesn’t even make use of the technology’s camera function
whatsoever, instead focusing on the use of voice commands to streamline
the experience and help maintain a steady tempo to the game. You can
assign specific arms to every class of weapon, allowing you to pull out
out your favorite sword when you say, “sword,” and equip your favorite
bow when you say, “bow.” This simple shortcut does an amazing job of
maintaining the tempo and rhythm of the game in the middle of combat by
not forcing you to navigate a series of menus as soon as you spot a
tough enemy on the horizon.
While everyone on the internet is busy running Madden simulations to predict the Super Bowl we thought we’d take a different approach. In order to determine the winner between the Patriots and the Giants, we’re taking Skyrim‘s home-grown patriots, the Stormcloaks, and pitting them against the country’s giants.