10 things about Skyrim that might suck

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11. 11. 11. 1111111!  Hooh! Haah! I can practically hear millions of gamer geeks chanting at their desks, viewing screenshots, hands on their.. uhh.. mice. 11! Hooh! 11! Haah! 11! Dragonbornnnnnne!

It’s gonna sell a bazongajillion copies, I’m sure. And it’s probably gonna be good. But what if it’s not?

The UI and menu system

Described here as ‘pure sex’ could be really, really clunky and annoying. It looks like it’ll be great on consoles, but on a PC? Probably not so much.

I suspect it may be annoying to have to constantly jump in and out of submenus to view, compare, or equip items. Think of it this way: Todd Howard (Todd, from now on. Like we’re buddies.) described it by saying that they have ‘thousands of these things, and what’s really cool is that they’re all in 3D. … Literally thousands of objects.” I think this is a Great Thing™. Really, I do. I just don’t want to have to spend an hour finding that wheatgrass I just picked up. We’ll see if the UI and menus are as quick and simple to use as they are pure sexy.

The dumbing down of my RPG

27 skills in Morrowind. 21 skills in Oblivion. 18 skills in Skyrim. Let me jump over a house, goddammit! This is a disturbing trend that is evident in most big RPG franchises nowadays. Less skills, less customization, less… everything… in the ungodly name of ‘streamlining’. Now, I’m all for cutting to make a game better. Which this may do. It might be that they have ferreted out the exact skills that were pointless in Oblivion and kept in all the ones that are useful and fun and made sense in your character progression.

But I guarantee people are still gonna bitch that they can’t jump over a house with their acrobatics maxed. Or beat the tar out of everyone in the game with Hand to Hand. I might not notice they’re missing, but I’m sure some people will.

Level-scaling

This was glazed over awfully quickly in the longest video interview Todd gave with G4TV. He basically says it’ll be a lot like Fallout 3, so level-scaling is still in, but with some areas with random-leveled mobs and some areas with harder mobs, some easier. This is okay, but still not the best solution, in my opinion. Maybe it’s been tweaked and improved since Fallout 3? We’ll see.

Minimum specs from the future

How Skyrim runs on the 360 and PS3 is oh-so-likely to suck. How it’s going to run on my brand-new computer? Still sucky, probably. Back when Oblivion came out, it was like you needed a freaking Cray Supercomputer to run the damn thing. All that grass moving made my computer just start crying randomly. I swear if it could have, it would have renamed the Oblivion shortcut to ‘fuck that, it hurts’.

And here I just went and built a new computer, 4 months too early. Anything that doesn’t come from the future is probably going to run Skyrim like shit. And I know that Bethesda’s probably got the 360 and PS3 all figured out now (right? right?), but it’s probably either going to look like crap or run like crap, one or the other. You can’t push the limits of a platform without some sort of give.

Third-person view slo-mo ‘finishing’ move videos

I’m not sure why I haven’t heard anyone mentioning anything about this, but in that now-mythical 14 minute gameplay video seen below, it clearly jumps to a slow motion ‘finishing move’ when he takes out the last wolf. Now I hope to all of the gods in Skyrim that this is optional. Please, for the love of Akatosh, let me skip these or turn them off entirely. Maybe it was a demo thing.

No minimap

This might not be to everyone’s tastes, but I prefer a minimap to the compass. The compass is just so half-assed. Most of the time in the previous games, I didn’t know what the markers were even for, so I just ignored it entirely. Occasionally I’d decide to use it and end up going towards the wrong quest marker. Bah. Give me a minimap please, or at the very least, make my map marker and/or quest markers unique so I can tell them apart. Why is this so hard?

Where’s my inventory comparison info?

Sure to come in one of the first mods – currently equipped comparison info when viewing items in your inventory. Another personal beef, but it’s in so many games nowadays, why couldn’t they find room for it? Perhaps that’s what the little ^ marks are for in the inventory lists? I dunno. But if it takes me 10 seconds to find and equip an item only to discover it’s worse than the one I had previously, then another ten to go find the original one…

Skyrim Inventory 1

Skyrim Inventory 2

You get the picture. Modders? Please make us all happy.

Radiant stuff… again. This time, Radiant Story

It didn’t work so hot in the last game. Something Awful spent many words telling you what they thought. Go read what they wrote.

‘Nuff said.

Unproven Third Person view

Bethesda’s never been good at this and up until now, the third person view option has always felt tacked on so few people used it unless it was supplemented with a mod that improved it.

I generally prefer to play in third person view, but I’ve never been able to in a Bethesda game. They’re just… awkward, somehow. They’ve never felt right, from the slightly off-center camera to the strange running animations. There’s a slew of mods out there that’ll fix it and let you customize it to your heart’s content, but despite rumors (and comments in interviews) to the contrary, consolers are likely to be shit out of luck. Please get this right on the first try, Bethesda.

Reality < Hype

Todd, we know you believe in your game. And I’m sold, really. I’ll buy it. But when the hype machine begins in such earnest more than 6 months in advance of release, I start to get a bit squirmy. I know it’s probably going to be good. Heck, it’s probably going to be really damn good. But the higher my expectations mean that they’ve got a lot farther to fall if I’m disappointed.

Am I being overly cynical? Maybe. But I’d rather be slightly skeptical and end up pleasantly surprised than go in proclaiming ‘Game of the Year’ and be disappointed. What are your thoughts?

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