I had the idea a few weeks ago that I might keep some kind of running commentary on my experiences playing Bethesda's latest sprawling monster of a video game epic, Skyrim. One problem: I've been way too busy playing the hell out of Skyrim to do it. Perhaps writing a brief overview will galvanize me to make this a regular thing, as I had originally intended.
I had to wait nearly two weeks after the game's release to play it. I received it on December 1 as an early Xmas gift from my wonderful girlfriend. Suddenly, all the time she spends doing various things online for her church seemed like a blessing, as it enabled me to keep playing Skyrim when she is over at my house. She witnessed the creation of my first character, Valkara the Reaver, a gigantic Nord woman with flaming red hair, piercing blue eyes, and a bevvy of scars that serve as reminders of all the battles she's experienced prior to her experiences in Skyrim.
(Readers of some of my stories will probably remember the name; this character is indeed based on the character of the same name who appears in them.)
The character creation is much better than in earlier games in the series, although the customization options are still not up to the level as games such as the WWE series; for example, you cannot adjust your character's height. Still, with the sliders for facial features, and adjusting the character's physique, you could make a very realistic version of yourself, if you were so inclined. Personally, I often play as a female character in these games simply for change of pace, as the majority of video games have you playing the role of a big hairy guy. It's nice to be able to go the other direction sometimes.
Thankfully, I haven't experienced many of the bugs and glitches that have plagued some people. I'm playing on the Xbox 360, and have not installed a single patch for the game, so I'm not bothered by the issues introduced by some of them. Aside from a few graphical glitches-- such as the horse whose front half was embedded in the ground-- the only problems I've experienced are weapons plaques in one of my houses that will not work, and once the door to the cistern in the headquarters of the Thieves' Guild would not open. In that case, thankfully, I had literally just saved my game, so I just reloaded the save, and it worked fine from that point on.
I currently have two characters, as I made a second one a few days ago. I am by no means done with my original character, but I usually like to have two characters in these games with focuses on different skill sets, and therefore, different play styles. I alternate between them depending on my mood. Whereas Valkara is a virtuous hero, an unstoppable beast in combat, and knows only a few essential spells, Keldor the Unbroken is a sinister Dark Elf who relishes the kind of action he gets in the Dark Brotherhood, and is more of a battlemage. He roams the land with a spell ready in each hand, and a nasty sword at hand just in case he needs it. It is testament to the depth of the game that each of these characters offers a very different experience in playing it.
So, those are some quick thoughts about my experiences in Skyrim so far. Now, I'm off to make some more!