The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim makes me feel like Eric Cartman when he wanted a Wii

Being of Norwegian heritage, I can personally say that  Skyrim does a fantastic job at recreating my everyday duties. I wear helmets, use magic, sword fight, and slay dragons. And it’s hard to believe anything can be grander than The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, but as I learned at E3 this year, a challenger approaches…

I’m also a sci-fi and fantasy nerd, and Bethesda has grown to be a powerhouse of science and fantasy RPGs, so naturally, I’m a big fan. That said, Bethesda has a video game mechanic that has really annoyed a lot of people, and it no doubt has given their games a calling card. What I’m referring to, is a still camera on the NPC (non-playable character) the main character is having a conversation with. Their faces look blankly at you and their eyes shift from side-to-side as if they’re reading from a cue card.

Thankfully, characters in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will have a more personable approach to conversations. Some might even do other tasks while talking to you. [Shouldn’t Bethesda’s games have been doing this since about 2004? – Adam]. It’s one small step for gamers, one giant leap for The Elder Scrolls – and hopefully they’ll stick with this throughout the game and not just have it peppered at the beginning.

Bethesda's put a bit of effort into NPCs this time

If you’ve ever played an RPG, you’ll understand the concept of classes. You start a new game, get past the opening cinematic that gets you pumped for an epic bashing of orcs, robots or dinosaurs toting machine guns, only to find out there is a giant red “STOP” sign. This is where the game usually takes a dive into boredom-ville – you have to completely customize a character head-to-toe. Pick class, pick what type of weapon, and even customize your character’s face. So you better know exactly how you want to spend the next 100 hours.

Skyrim saves us from all of that [thank Christ – Adam]. From the moment the opening cinematic ends, you get to – how did the developers put it – oh yes, PLAY! You don’t pick class, race, weapon fighting styles – it’s more realistic if over time, you get to become the character that you like to be. Two-handed weapon wielder? Fine, just use two-handed weapons a lot and your character will adapt. Or are you like myself and are a Spellsword? You know, magic in one, sword in the other? Well Fine! Just practice one-handed weapons coinciding with spells. If you aren’t sure what you like then just play around and find out.

As an extra bonus, throughout the land in Skyrim, there are large stones with temporary additions to your character. I was told you only get one at a time, so choose wisely.

And I want to talk about dragons – large winged beasts that breathe fire when they speak (not to be confused with mother-in-laws). Within the story of Skyrim, dragons are in both scripted and random events. Killing a dragon, and also being dragon-born yourself, you’re able to absorb a dragon’s soul, which proves quite useful when you’re trying to master certain phrases in “Dragon Shout” – the native tongue of a dragon – to cast magical projections. So don’t run away – be a man and take the beast down.

How about if you wanted to check the status on your existing attributes? Look to the stars! No seriously, look up there. Skyrim offers a leveling menu from the heavens – constellations are made up especially for the game, each representing a different attribute. The constellations will have experience lines leading from star to star showing how far you’ve progressed; each star is an upgrade to the character. It reminds me of the leveling system in any of the Final Fantasy games (from 10 on), but way less confusing.

I’m so excited about this game I’ve lost sleep over it. It arrives 11/11/11. Somebody, please freeze me!

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