The most startling Skyrim detail revealed to date was the complete removal of any formal player classes. Players would no longer choose the type of fighter they wished to be, instead forming their own unique character over the course of the story. The biggest question on this change was how the idea would succeed in granting players even more control, or if every player would advance utilizing the same skills and techniques.
From the few moments seen in the trailer, it’s apparent that the choice is still very much up to the player. The video features the Viking-like hero from the leaked Skyrim scans, a stealth character assassinating someone in a bar, a fully armored knight and even a partially-armored rogue creeping through a dungeon. Any fears that you were holding onto concerning the wide-open variety of the player leveling should now be dropped.
There are still some lingering questions concerning the new combat mechanics like wobbling, being stunned or moving with greater speed in battle. There were a few shots of combat in both first and third-person, but aside from som fancy footwork and the much-talked about execution, the trailer didn’t reveal much. We are in favor of any system that allows players to actually choose their strikes against an enemy as large as a dragon, so we’ll reserve judgement until we get a deeper look.
We do wonder though if any of that particular dragon fight was player-controlled. The angles suggest it was a cinematic, so in first-person/third-person, it will be quite different.
And finally, the dragon shouts and soul gathering – It doesn’t take too much imagination to wrap your head around Bethesda’s idea of dragon shouts; magic words that give the Dragonborn ability to manipulate dragons and their surroundings when in combat. To see the word uttered with a wave of impact is satisfying, but the gathering of souls from fallen dragons takes the cake.
The process was previously described in detail, but to actually see the soul finding its way out of the dragon’s form and into that of the main character is, simply put, incredible. With each fallen dragon, the player’s fully-customizable character becomes even more powerful, and closer to wielding all of the possible dragon shouts required to destroy the greatest and most evil dragon, Alduin.
Ah yes, Alduin. The main antagonist of the game, who has risen as prophecies foretold is notably absent from either the story or action portions of the trailer. What are we supposed to take from that? Bethesda is keeping some of their cards close to their chest. With so many details on the game’s quests, combat and technology, the developer has to keep something to surprise fans.
If that is the motivations, missions and impact that the mythology of the game will have, then we’re all in for a pleasant surprise.
So even with more than a few nagging questions still left unanswered, we can at least now breathe a sigh of relief that Skyrim is, in fact, a video game that looks stunning and isn’t going to be unrecognizable. With Dragon Age 2 and The Witcher 2 prepared to scratch the swords-and-sorcery itch, it’s nice to know that we can still count on Bethesda to give us a comparable experience.
What questions of yours were answered by the first glimpses of gameplay? There were no shortage of reveals that might evoke worry and fear as opposed to confidence, but for now at least, the game looks like one that we wouldn’t mind being reminded of everyday.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Bethesda will be as open about the game’s development as they have been already, since the wait until November is going to be an excruciating one.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be making its way onto the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC on November 11, 2011. Is it asking too much to hope for a demo?