Skyrim is a pretty divisive game. While it received universal critical acclaim and has sold around one billion copies, many die-hard Elder Scrolls aficionados bemoan its "dumbing down" into a more traditional action game. That said, no one can deny that it's an incredibly ambitious game, and, even now, eight years later, it remains a popular open-world experience. That said, a lot of that has to do with the mods, but whatever.
And even though it remains fun, there are a ton of issues stemming from its age. These are ten things about Skyrim that haven't aged well.
10 The Graphics
Well, let's be honest here, the graphics in this game were never really that great, to begin with. Plenty of games looked far better than this in 2011, but we sort of just ignored it because the world was so expansive and immersive.
But now, eight years later, we can't ignore the shoddy graphics any longer. Yeah, the expanses are still gorgeous, but the textures are flat, facial animations are non-existent, and the lighting is pretty artificial. It generally looks like a game released in 2006, not 2011. Slap some mods on this baby, because vanilla Skyrim is borderline ugly.
9 The Physics
Not only does Skyrim look like crap, it... well, looks like crap, but in a different way. The physics are borderline atrocious, and it results in a game that feels very wooden and artificial. Today, we have games like Red Dead Redemption II where everything feels suitably heavy, weighty, and realistic.
In Skyrim, characters walk like they're made of wood, enemies fly back at a thousand miles per hour, and weapons have the weight of a 500-pound barbell. Oh, and you can seemingly scale an entire mountain on a horse. Yeah, the goofy physics make for fun YouTube compilations, but nothing takes us out of the moment faster.
8 The Animations
In a similar vein, let's mention the shoddy animations. We've already mentioned the characters who walk like wood and the non-existent facial animations, but that's just a drop in the bucket. The entire world has a very flat feeling to it, as nothing seems to react in a realistic or immersive manner. The worst is when characters are defeated and fall down in a goofy way, either flying back like a rocket or falling like a motionless brick. We can't wait for the new Elder Scrolls game, because this one looks like total garbage. We're sorry, but it's true.
7 The Glitches
The glitches have remained a Skyrim staple and one of its most endearing qualities. This problem has been with the game from the start, and, much like the boring graphics, we all learned to ignore them. In fact, we embraced them, making funny YouTube compilations and turning a major eyesore into a meme.
In short, the glitches became one of Skyrim's quirks, but, to be honest, we're kind of fed up at this point. A mammoth floating through the air is only funny for so long, you know? At this point, we just want to play the game it was meant to be played, and we don't think flying mammoths belong in it.
6 The Open World
Once upon a time, Skyrim contained the greatest open world in all of gaming. Yes, it's still gorgeous, imaginative, and filled with creative opportunities, but it's also eight years old, and, in that time, we've been gifted some of the greatest open worlds in gaming, including those of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption II.
By comparison, Skyrim's world feels entirely lifeless. There are large swathes where nothing really happens, it doesn't seem as big as it once did, and the graphics have dulled, making the world feel dated and unimpressive. Still good, maybe even great, but no longer revolutionary.
5 Combat System
Let's be honest here, Skyrim's combat system is some hot garbage. It wasn't really that great back in the day, but it's even worse now. We've covered the shoddy animations and clunky movements, both of which significantly hinder the physical feel of the combat.
However, enemy AI is also atrocious (borderline laughable), there's not really any creativity or strategy involved, there are very few customization options to make your combat feel experience feel unique, and the boss fights are just elongated enemy fights. It's garbage, and quite honestly, it's pretty painful to experience in 2019.
4 Character Customization
The character customization seemed kind of cool once upon a time, but, eight years later, it just seems relatively shallow and predictable. Throughout the game, you have eighteen skills divided over three schools—combat, magic, and stealth. That may seem pretty cool, but you quickly realize that the game is essentially forcing you into one of just three gameplay types.
Yeah, you can mix it up a little bit, but, at the end of the day, you are essentially just one of three potential character types. Customization has gotten a lot better and a lot deeper over the years, and Skyrim's now pales in comparison.
3 The Writing/Story
Once upon a time, Skyrim's story seemed expansive and wonderfully creative, a fantastical addition to the video game canon. But that was in 2011 when video games were sorely lacking in the whole story department.
In that time, we've gotten some of the greatest stories in gaming history, some of which are RPGs (The Witcher III anyone?). As the writing and storytelling in gaming has gotten better, Skyrim has gotten weaker, a pale imitation of its once wondrous self. Yeah, it's cool and can be interesting, but, let's face it, this is one shallow and cliché story we've seen a thousand times before.
2 The Boss Battles
Skyrim contains some truly beautiful boss battles. Ancano requires some creativity to battle, uses magic effectively, summons entities, and prevents you from obtaining help. Lord Harkon is another interesting boss, as it takes place in a cool environment and mixes up the combat system a little.
That said, this still goes hand in hand with the dated combat system itself. These boss fights are like Citizen Kane; once amazing and revolutionary, but they've been bettered so often that they now seem pale in comparison. Show a young person these fights and they'll probably raise their eyebrows and call you grandpa.
1 The Length
We don't know if this necessarily qualifies as "dated," but it certainly makes the game feel older than it really is. You remember when you were a kid and you were fully engrossed in a game and it took you literal months to beat? And then you played it again as an adult and discovered it was actually quite rudimentary and basic and you finish it over a weekend?
That's Skyrim. The entire main quest—this epic, imaginative, fantastical story—can be finished in about 20 hours, which is basically the same length as Naughty Dog games. In today's gaming landscape, when open-world stories can take well over 50 hours to complete, Skyrim's seems like a mere baby in comparison.