Monday, September 10, 2012

Back to Skyrim

After finishing Fallout New Vegas, it's back to Skyrim for a few months. I bought Dawnguard and I'm sure I'll plunk down a few bucks on the Hearthsim expansion at some point. Weighty sigh.

So much unfinished business from my last play-through. I only got to maybe a third of the Daedric quests, I really only finished the Mage College faction quests and I didn't even bother with the Civil War story arc. This game is enormous.

But it's also surprisingly compact. I remember in my first play through wandering through the tundra and coming across one astonishing ruin after the other and basically feeling depressed that I would never get to every site again. This time I've paid more attention to how the game achieves that sense of a vast untrammeled wilderness while still piling up all sorts of interesting places to go. One way it does this is by clever world design. As the crow flies, Riverwood is not far from Whiterun, certainly not as far as Helgen is from Riverwood and yet the journey seems to take long because the path the game offers up is filled with these coiling series of switchbacks. By the time you get to the plains around Whiterun you  feel like you've walked across an entire province when in actuality you walked up one side of a hill and then down the other.

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