I’m taking a big of a diversion here to talk a out a game I’ve been playing a lot of recently. It is a bit relevant though, promise.
Skyrim, for those of you who don’t know, is a large scale role playing game (RPG) set in the mythical world of Tamriel. There have been several games set here forming the Elder Scrolls series, named after important magical prophecy Scrolls in the game. Skyrim is the latest main title focusing on the snowy mountains to the north of Tamriel, an area called Skyrim, unsurprisingly.
This game was released 11/11/11 making it over 7 years old now. There’s a bit of a running joke that although it was released on PS3 and Xbox 360 it has since been ported to all consoles, PC twice, Nintendo switch, and just about everything you can buy games on (Skyrim on Samsung Fridge coming 2020).
I originally bought Skyrim on release day, I got a special edition with a statue of the games main bad guy Alduin. I played it a lot after that. I had a main character who I sunk over 300 hours into, doing quest after quest, finishing the story, doing bits of the DLC…. Since then I have accumulated Skyrim on other systems, I own 2 versions on Steam from Humble Bundles, I own a special edition on PS4 as well as my original PS3 version, so why on earth did I get another copy on VR?
I got VR as a birthday present to me from me, using all my birthday funds and a bit more. I’d played VR round a friend’s house but lacked the computer to use something like the Rift or Vive, so I went with the PS VR for the PlayStation I already owned. The first pair of games I got for it were Star Trek Bridge Crew and Playroom. It was brilliant!
When I saw Skyrim was coming to VR I was sceptical and a bit tired of the constant Skyrim re-releases, but I got a chance to try it for a half hour for free so I thought I might as well have a go.
I was pretty impressed with it, it was fun to swing swords around, it didn’t make me nauseous, and it was nice to get back to good old Skyrim.
I’ll mention at this point the problem with mods. Mods are brilliant, the Elder Scrolls community has always been good at making add-ons and changes to the core games. Some are huge enough to be whole games on their own, others just re-texture weapons to look different, some add famous items from fantasy like the One Ring, and then there’s the “all dragons are Thomas the tank engine” mod. Some of the most practical are just massive bug-fixing mods that tidy up all the work Bethesda couldn’t/didn’t do before launch.
The trouble with mods is they’re very easy to get hooked on, installing dozens and dozens, then messing around with them. Once you start it’s hard to not install a few cheat mods to give you infinite health or invincible armour, and pretty soon you’re a Goddess amongst mortals.
That usually takes me an afternoon, then I get bored.
Sadly there are a lot of good mods, I just don’t have the self control to install them and wade through hours of content to get to the new bits.
So when I say it’s nice to get back to good old Skyrim I also mean it’s nice to play the game as it was originally made. No mods, no PC cheats, just Skyrim and the official expansions.
I let it load up and sat through the opening scene as you’re lead through a mountain pass to be executed. It was only at this point I realised just how badly done everyone’s feet were. Horrible pointy things with perfectly triangular arches.
I got to character creation and created a young Bosmer (wood elf) girl, about my height, long brown hair tied back, sleight build, a cute face with piercing violet eyes…. She may have been rendered in 2011 graphics but she was beautiful to me.
Then I got to play as her, it wasn’t a particularly powerful moment because they don’t refer to you as “her” or “she” much. You’re “The Dragonborn” to most people, but every now and then they’ll chuck in a “ma’am” or “sister” and bring a little smile to my face.
The part that really made me pause and realise I was going to get sucked into this game again was standing in one of the first cities and looking around. I caught sight of the Throat of the World, the tallest mountain in the game and important Plot Point later. You really don’t get a scale playing the game normally, but in VR… holy fuck that mountain is big.
I’ve been playing it for a few months now, I took a break but am back on it now. I’ve done a lot of the major quest lines; the Thieves, Mages, become Thane of all of the Holds and bought all the houses I can… I’ve explored the Hearthfire DLC to build a house of my own and adopted two children, and married a lovely elf lass who hangs out in my house with my bard, housecarl and children.
I’ve gone for my typical build; bow and arrow. Especially deadly in the VR version where there is no time delay as you draw your bow, meaning you can just pummel people with arrows. I like to sprint up to enemies at full speed and shoot arrows into their heads. Lockpicking is maxed, bow and arrow is maxed, and heavy armour is pretty high because I get shot a lot.
I’m currently murdering my way through the assassins quest whilst also doing the second DLC Dawnguard. I realised I never finished the third DLC when it came out so that’s something I’ll really have to do next, and I’ve not technically completed the story yet so I’ve got plenty to go. And I’ve already sunk over 100 hours in….
And I’m going to keep enjoying my pretty Bosmer, slaughtering her way through the mountains and snow.