Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Best or Most Disappointing Game of 2011

Published 3 years ago by

Elder Scrolls 5 Skyrim Anticipated Game 2011

Let me start off by saying that I voted for Skyrim as my number one pick for our list of most anticipated games of 2011. That does not mean I don’t have my own set of concerns for the upcoming title.

The most disappointed I have ever been with a video game was about an hour into Oblivionwhen I realized, despite trying to persuade myself otherwise, that this was exactly what I had feared when Bethesda announced they would be creating a next-gen Elder Scrolls title for the consoles. The visuals were fantastic. The combat was fluid and exciting. Yet I was bored to tears.

Don’t get me wrong. I picked up the game twice in a vain attempt to enjoy myself. After countless character creations and a dozen or so escapes through the sewers into the pristine forests of Cyrodiil, I realized what was missing from Oblivion. Morrowind was missing from Oblivion.

I have spent years of nerd rage-induced conversations discussing the inconsistencies between the two games, and befuddled at how a monolithic game development team with decades of experience could possibly release something I found utterly inferior to a 9-year old PC game.

Then it struck me right on the noggin, like a human who didn’t learn the hovering spell correctly falling from the sky (see: Morrowind). There was no life to Oblivion. The first several months of my experience with Morrowind consisted of me becoming lost in the land of Vvardenfell. I did nothing to stop the evil Dagoth Ur or whatever was making everybody run around in a panic, because the world Bethesda had built was endlessly fascinating, offering me more to do than I had ever seen up to that point. It was Dungeons and Dragons without having to strain my own limited imagination or roll the dice every time I wanted to move and attack.

Unfortunately, despite its high scores and general celebration from virtually every publication online and off, Bethesda saw that it was time to move away from PC development, and began focusing on the consoles. I believe that this is when Oblivion took a turn for the boring.

Morrowind

Bethesda knew that with a more twitch-based, graphics-heavy Elder Scrolls title, they could draw a demographic that is less interested in becoming invested in a video game world. Bethesda saw a chance to combine their market with the Halo and Call of Duty gamers who never would have picked up Morrowind. So after three long years of quiet on the Tamriel front, Oblivion was released for mass consumption. And the masses did indeed consume Oblivion, garnering it countless GOTY awards and even higher scores than its predecessor. I figured there must be something wrong with me – to not enjoy this game as much as everyone else.

Then, as one does in times of struggle, I turned to the internet. Once the initial hyperbole had worn off, the naysayers began to show themselves. Sure, the land of Cyrodiil looks gorgeous, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is almost nothing exciting to do in its enormity. The towns are large and impressive, but the citizens have nearly nothing to say (and only about five voices to say it with). The combat is entertaining, but the enemies scale to the level of the player, making it easier to get through the game at level three than at level twenty. From what I can recall, most of the fun in any RPG is being able to see a challenge off in the distance, and know that one day your character will be able to conquer it.

And therein lies the problem.

Oblivion is not an RPG. It is an action game with a few minor RPG elements, such as dungeons and skills. Bethesda eliminated the soul of the Elder Scrolls to, I assume, please the crowd that they knew would spend only a limited amount of time with the title. They didn’t account for those of us who enjoyed Morrowind‘s unique atmosphere and exploration-friendly world. Instead we are plopped on a grassy field with nothing to do, and a convenient fast-travel so that we don’t get bored of the uninspired scenery.

All of this leads me to my main point… (continue to page 2)

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TAGS: Bethesda, Morrowind, Oblivion, PC, PS3, Skyrim

101 Comments

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  1. V23 pinpoints my exact diaaapointment with the debate towards a “challenging experience” – in skyrim and oblivian there is NONE – oh yeah just turn that difficulty right on up “there that fixes that” well to me and alot of other gamers: it doesnt.

    Morrowind – you venture off into that place where your not supposed to be and WHAM! You get attacked by a lvl 50 so and so (when your lvl 10 and what not) and you manage to escape with some prized daedric armour that would take you ages to aquire! :) THAT my gamers is the excitment of adventure on ONE minor note. In oblivion and skyrim the progression is boring – leather – iron – steel – elven – glass – ebony etc etc as you lvl – all seem repetative and the same compared to morrowind. Just saying. BUT TO ALOT OF YOU THAT ARE YOUNGINS – games were alot different when we were your age and tell you what? For some of us that wasnt that long ago, and yet games have taken a toll for the worse….

  2. You think the ai in morrowind is more exciting than oblivion? Lol if you call walking in one set path exciting.

  3. I really did enjoy Oblivion – hoping in the next gen they add some aspects from Morrowind into it their up coming RPGS :)

  4. @Rhavin

    Not gonna happen. At such a rate, we’ll probably see The Elder Scrolls IX as a modern FPS.

    They have been methodically striping the franchise from all the hardcore pure RPG elements after Morrowind to make it more “accessible”.

  5. come on, you really ruined my day for calling oblivion BORING…I have a charaxter with approx. 140 hours on it… If Oblivion was boring what game do you think is fun, tetris? (no personal attack intended)

  6. None taken – thats what discussions are for :P

    I am sorry I have ruined your day but it was a statement of simplicity towards oblivian – not a personal attack towards “oblivion” players in its self. I am one such player and of morrowind as well. D makes a good point. Our once loved rpgs are being stripped of their quality and unique concepts that made them what they are and noticable on the gaming home front, but at what cost? Marketing sadly. These statements are intended for people you can discuss these issues with maturity not for children who will say different at whatever is spoon fed to them these days.

  7. I do like tetris, oblivion and have clocked many hours on skyrim as said but by far on a point of creativity etc etc – morrowind topped for many key aspects that only players “of” will understand.

  8. actually u hit the nail on the spot…oblivion was in deed somewhat boring after a while but when i started to play it many mods were already made so i could fill oblivion with some nice content and mixed with the vast and free world it became one of the best games I have played so far in my 15 years of gaming

  9. I do love morrowind oblivion and skyrim, they each take their own path, while boring to some i enjoyed them all. I understand where the critisism comes from but in the ever changing world of the elder scrolls it seems to be only getting better for these next gen consoles, so enjoy skyrim and get nostolgic for the next game.

  10. So it’s been what, 9 months since I wrote this? Thanks for the response and discussions after all this time! I’ve honestly read every last one, and it’s been a very entertaining discussion.

    Anyway, figured I’d share my thoughts on Skyrim now that I’ve had some time to sit down with it for a couple dozen hours.

    Skyrim, like Oblivion, is not Morrowind. This isn’t a bad thing, and I think I may have stressed too much in this article how much I wanted a brand new game to basically just be a copy-paste job with better graphics. I now realize that I reall did want a new game, just one that tried to move forward, not backwards like Oblivion did (IMO). Skyrim might not be Morrowind, but it’s far more Morrowind than Oblivion. The world is varied, scary, immersive, exciting and surprising. No two missions feel exactly the same and actions seem to have real consequences. The story is engaging, the enemies are challenging, and there are more than twelve voice actors.

    I really don’t have much to complain about. No, Skyrim isn’t quite as fleshed out of a realm as Vvardenfell, but it’s loads more entertaining than evergreen Cyrodiil. The UI is baffling and tedious, but unlike both Oblivion and Morrowind, at least it feels cohesive. I don’t know how I feel about the floaty AI that hasn’t changed much since Arena, but it has become a staple of the series. Not sure it could work any other way in an environment like this.

    Skyrim has not replaced Morrowind for me, but I finally have a worthy companion to the most immersive RPG of the past decade. Who knows, maybe with a few more hours of play Skyrim will surpass Morrowind! (hint: I doubt it)

  11. I don’t see where all this love for Morrowind comes from. I think it is mostly nostalgia. The world in Morrowind was just as bland and lifeless as Oblivion. There were so many dull quests, so much repetitive landscape, so many copy/paste dungeons… and let’s not forget the encylopedia-style dialogue (click on words and people say things, HORRIBLE). Morrowind had a sense of adventure and a great plot, but it had so many huge flaws (don’t even get me started about the unbearably painful combat). Put your nostalgia aside and go back and play Morrowind again — look at the difference, the cities feel so dead compared to Skyrim.

    Skyrim is the first Bethesda game that I feel actually has life; the characters really interact with you, there are unpredictable dragon attacks, the dungeons are epic and unique, and many of the quest chains are absolutely amazing. To say “Skyrim isn’t Morrowind” — what does that even mean? Well of course it’s not, otherwise they’d *gasp* call it “Morrowind”! It’s silly to compare it, you should look at it as its own game…

  12. hahaha, oh dear- never in a 100 million years was morrowind anything close to skyrim . .. the pixels in one shop are more refind than the whole of morrowind, please get over yourselves … sell skyrim and go play morrowind and youll be sat looking at the landscape like ‘urrrrrm- ok wtf is this’ .. .its dated and bland.. and just … oh come on , stop being ridiculus fan boys… i actually feel sorry for you, that your so stuck in the past and want to feel superior by clinging onto something thats old and dated to appear more ‘in the know’ you cant even enjoy it- haha…get a life, get one in skyrim .. . . best game EVER MADE.

    • I understand where they are going with this. Skyrim didnt seem to be “alive”. It was more like a basic video game than an actual adventure. There wern’t enough things going on “behind the curtain”. The world lacked depth and was very 2 dimensional.

  13. I was disappointed with the overall performance of skyrim. It didn’t seem to involve enough to be that demanding on the CPU. I wish they optimized the engine a little more to use more GPU power. It was buggy as all heck too!
    The gameplay was ok. It was way too easy to annihilate this game. Turning the difficulty up helps but the quest lines seemed very short and limited. Also there seemed to be less time related events, the events seem to unravel as you visit the locations instead of an actual set time. They removed many features from oblivion that I really enjoyed, and Skyrim lacks that certain depth that we saw in the older games. All in all i give it about a 7/10.

  14. how anyone could be dissapointed by skyrim I don’t know, I have played it as much as possible since I got it and doubt i have scratched the surface of how much there is to do and the gameplay is great and as for a challenge, go fight a giant at level one and watch what happens

  15. Lol giant fight at level one. Welcome to tamriel space academy, dragonborn 1 ready for lift off.

  16. Wow…noob gamers always go on about graphics…the reality is that its not about graphics. Games with top graphics but crap gameplay is just a silly childs notion called distraction :P Leave gameplay to adults then and the kids and sit and look at pretty colours no different to fingerpainting rofl

  17. I don’t know where all this hate for morrowind is comming from but it is obviously from people who have no idea what their talkng about. A good game is not defined by the amout of pixels and resolution a developer can pack into a screen, and even if it were there are mods for morrowind that you can very easily download to quell the sighs of all you graphic freaks. morrowind was a much more immersive and challenging experience than skyrim and oblivion could ever be, granting that oblivion definately comes closer. Skyrim is a flashy action game that is so far from the roots of what made elder scrolls and bethesda famous for their rpg crafting ability that it sickens me to see all these people who have nothing but good things to say about it. but then again skyrim was built to appeal to the masses which is why it has sold better than any elder scrolls game by far, and to appeal to the masses it cant be too hard and it cant be unflashy or lengthy or else people would lose interest and go play call of duty. And as for all the comments about nostalgia love for morrowind, I played that game after i played oblivion, and then I played Daggerfall after skyrim, and guess what? Despite the fact that the graphics suck by comparison and the fact that their full of flaws like repetitive landscapes, menial tasks (which in my mind isn’t really a flaw, not everyone in the world has an enchanted sword they lost in a fight with a dragon that only you can recover. that would be ridiculous.)and dated AI and gameplay mechanics I enjoyed the immersion into those worlds so much that im openly willing to say that either one of them are all and all better rpgs then skyrim is. Skyrim fails to meet the one requirement I had for it from the start, being that it is hardly definable as a full fledged rpg. skyrim is an action adventure game full of flashy story lines lived out by a charachter that, lets be honest with ourselves here, starts out way ahead of the curve by comparison to everyone else in the world in both ability and undeserved and mostly unearned importance. Thats not to say that skyrim isn’t a good game. it is. its a really good game. its probably one of if not the best games of 2011 and had it been released by a different company with little or no history to them or by a company that didn’t have a laundry list of high quality prequels to thier series then I wouldn’t have much to say about it. But the fact that it came from bethesda and the fact that it’s and elder scrolls game is where all of my strife comes from. Im not disappointed because skyrim is a bad game, im disappointed because the first words in the the title are “Elder Scrolls”. I had expectations for a world that I could really get lost in, not throw 100 hours into before I start building up a long list of flaws with plots and gameplay. case in point, the dark brotherhood. You kill a few hobos and a miners only to find out your the most important person there and then you get to kill the emperor and take over the whole organization with no dispute from any of the long time members that survive to the end, which pretty much sums up how the rest of the guilds, the civil war and the main story line play out. Thats not the kind of story telling that I expect from bethesda and the elder scrolls series and even though I have some serious problems with every other game in the series, it’s the utter lack of plot depth that was always present, even in oblivion, that keeps skyrim from becoming the great sequel that I wanted it to be from a producer that I love so much. Bethesda needs to take what theyve learned about making a game look good and play well and get back to the mindset they had in their earlier games when they didn’t have so much commercial success, when to win over an audience they had to go as far to craft not just a game, but real fanatsy world to set themselves apart from the sea of rpgs on the market. Unless I see some serious change in the way bethesda goes about making their games, I fear that the kind of immersion that I really have come to expect from thier games I might be confined to trying to mod morrowind into something that can never really compete with the gameplay of newer titles. Thank god for the modding community for skyrim, because if theyre as good as they’ve always been in the past with morrowind and oblivion they may just be able to make skyrim into the world i dreamed it would be.

  18. “Oblivion is not an RPG. It is an action game with a few minor RPG elements”
    b******* , Oblivion , Skyrim and Morrowind are the 3 best fantasy RPG’s ever created. In Oblivion , as with all the TES games , after the first mission your free to do whatever you want , It has a perfectly balanced character customization , a variety of side-missions and guilds. Oblivion has a massive expansive world in what I think is the best setting for any TES game. There are many things to do in the game like any RPG , talk to NPC’s , develop your character , Travel the world . It has statistics , a bounty system , different levels and attributes . To say Oblivion is not an RPG is stupid.

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