I've posted my review of Rage here. Rage is one of the best looking games around, but has the focus on graphics taken away from the experience? Find out by clicking the link!
Ever since beating The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion years ago, I patiently waited for Bethesda's next entry in the Elder Scrolls series. Sure, Fallout 3 was an excellent diversion and one of my favorite recent games, but Tamriel is where my heart truly resides. The fact that a game as addicting and expansive as Fallout 3 was a mere diversion is a testament to my excitement for the latest game in Bethesda's fantasy role playing series. After forcing myself to complete Portal 2 before buying Skyrim - yes, what a burden - I scooped it up last night after work.
I eagerly popped in the disc, briefly listened to the music on the XMB, waited for the install, (sigh) and jumped right in. Admittedly, the game doesn't start with the bang I was expecting. Bethesda's characteristic stilted animation and awkward AI routing issues aren't exactly conducive to an epic opening cut-scene. The game isn't exactly leaps and bounds ahead of Oblivion in the looks department, and the feeling of deja vu started creeping in as I watched the stiff characters interact at the scene of my character's imminent execution. Did Bethesda really fail to address the most glaring issues in their past games? I wasn't exactly disappointed, but Skyrim now had something to prove. After playing for thirty minutes and making it past the initial bout of exposition, I can safely say that Skyrim has lived up to my expectations.
This is not a game that stands out because of flashy graphics, super-realistic animations, or feature-length cut-scenes. Skyrim certainly looks great, but under a microscope, it can't compete with the industry leaders like Uncharted and Rage. That's because it doesn't need to. Skyrim is much more subtle than all of that. This is a world where every action feels like a part of the quest. The land of Skyrim is yours for the taking. You can spend more hours exploring the world and taking on side quests than you can completing the main storyline, and it's all fun. The quest design, UI, and combat are head and shoulders above Oblivion. It's obvious that Bethesda has grown immensely in the years since Oblivion and I'm glad to see the positive influence that Fallout 3 has had on the design of this game.
I'll save the rest for my review, but so far, I think this is the successor I was waiting for!
Dark Souls isn't for everyone, but if you liked Demon's Souls, it's everything you could want in a sequel. The repetition and focus on trial and error will turn many away, but gamers who remember the days when games required you to figure things out for yourself will feel right at home. Check out the review here!