Posted by Digital Paladin
When I was a kid, I remember the feeling of utter anticipation as Christmas approached. As the day of ultimate joy and merriment neared, I would become a restless, fidgety zombie, fueled by sugar and plagued by visions of the piles of presents that would await my brother and I on Christmas morning (…in my visions, my present-pile was always larger than his).
Waiting for the release of the next installment in the Elder Scrolls series is just like that…only worse because now I’m an adult, and if I run around in excited circles chanting and foaming at the mouth, someone is going to lock me away or treat me for rabies.
I don’t think there’s a doubt in anyone’s mind that Skyrim is this year’s most anticipated game release. The exceptional talent at Bethesda Studios have been hard at work since 2008 to deliver into our eager hands the fifth chapter in the Elder Scrolls series. Set in the frigid northern reaches of Tamriel, the province of Skyrim is beset with civil unrest over the possibility of seceding from the Empire. As foretold within the pages of prophecies known as the Elder Scrolls, the God of Destruction, Alduin, has arisen and torments the nation with his minions. Black dragons fill the skies, bringing terror and chaos throughout the realm.
Like the series predecessors, you will begin the game in prison for unknown crimes. Your transgressions aren’t really important as you get to start the game with a clean slate absolved of your sins. You are the last of the Dovahkiin, the Dragonborn race. As the name implies, fighting dragons is in your genes and what you do best, and you are humanity’s best hope at quelling the dark forces that threaten to sunder the land.
Skyrim is powered by the all-new Creation engine, built internally by the folks at Bethesda to showcase the game’s breathtaking mechanics. Featuring advanced draw-distance renders, you will be able to openly view the vast scenery that encompasses approximately 16 miles. Dynamic lighting delivers a heightened sense of realism not only in the minutely detailed landscape, but also in the characters and creatures that inhabit the world.
Speaking of creatures…the Radiant AI system that controls NPCs has been improved as well, offering more natural interactions with the locals in the game. Conversations with NPCs will now be delivered real-time, meaning that while you’re grilling the tavern barkeep for the latest rumors in town, he’ll be answering your inquiries while pouring drinks for the drunken bar patrons. Bethesda promises to breathe new life into the way characters and creatures react and interact with the world around them.
Dragons (yes, dragons!) play an integral part of the game as well, for what would be the point of being the last of the Dragonborn if there were no dragons to slay? Encounters with these titanic beasties will be randomly generated and not all meetings will result in a battle, although the ones that do will require you to use all of your skills to be victorious. Doing so will reward you with a powerful form of magic that only a Dovahkiin can use – the Dragon Shout.
The Elder Scrolls series has always been known for its highly detailed and colossal living worlds, and Skyrim will be no exception. With five major cities even larger than the ones featured in Oblivion, not to mention dozens of smaller towns and over 150 dungeons that scale to your level, the hand-crafted world of Skyrim is guaranteed to clock massive amounts of game play hours.
For more information on Skyrim and to check out a drool-worthy trailer, click here. Until then, I’ll be climbing the walls in anxious anticipation and trying hard to stay off of Santa’s shit-list. Christmas comes early this year with the release of Skyrim on 11-11-11.