I don’t think I can keep playing Skyrim. It’s not that it’s a bad game or that I’ve completely disliked my experience with the game. I was really enjoying the game early on. Now I’ve just hit a bit of a Bethesda slump. No, this is not a syndrome unique to Skyrim for me. It’s a sort of Bethesda hallmark. I took a long break from Fallout 3 before I finally came back and finished it. I never finished Fallout: New Vegas. So what exactly has broken me down with Skyrim? Well here, let me tell you.
It really boils down to two things: the indoor environments where the actual game takes place, and the overall length of things. Now before you got taking those as some kind if overarching criticism, just let me explain. These might be things that just get to me and maybe not in the ways you think.
So you’ve got this giant, beautiful open world. Animals and giants roam, and cities appear all majestic in the distance over hills or atop mountains. You know what doesn’t happen in this open world? Anything… anything at all. All of your quests are relegated to hopping down into a cave that looks a lot like the last cave and killing shit in a dark, damp rock enclosure. Come on guys… you made this whole fucking world. You can’t give me quests where I fight out in the open plains? You can’t put me in a mountain valley? At least then the sky would be overhead. I don’t know why I’m surprised. The Fallout games used much of the same formula with buildings, and I assume Oblivion did as well. It’s just that you have this world that is expansive and impressive and alive, but for whatever reason the actual game doesn’t take place there. It’s disappointing and the cave grinding has started to wear on me. I have started to audibly sigh every time I get to my quest marker and see the entrance to whatever underground thing I’m about to have to navigate. That’s not good, right?
I would like to take a moment to say that the Dwemer were some crazy mother fuckers. I imagine being a young person living in one of their caves was terrifying. Everything is rigged with a trap. And I’m not talking some bear trap that you see on the ground. I’m talking about obstacle courses of sharp steel and fire plumes. There is probably a book somewhere in the game that explains what really happened to their society, but I’m just going to assume they slowly died off by coming home after a bit too much mead and forgetting where they put that giant spinning blade.
The second obstacle in my completion of the game as I mentioned earlier is just the general length. This game is really long if you want to really experience all (or most?) of what it has to offer. I know I could just skip all the side quests, but I wanted to see what everybody else saw. My friends would talk about the Mage’s College and the Thieves Guild. I want to talk about those to, or at the very least have some frame of reference. I have trouble just skipping side quests. I feel like I might miss something. But, it also means that I’ve burnt out. I’ve been staring at that sword and shield bobbing from left to right as I walk for way too long. I’ve got other games to play, Skyrim. Don’t take it personally. It’s entirely probable that this is a problem with me and not the game. I’m OK with that. It doesn’t change my feelings or make me not burnt out. This is where I am.
I know it’s a short list there. I mean it’s only two items, but they are two really big items. In conjunction, they’ve done what every Bethesda game has done to me: broken my will to keep going. Now I need to find something to cleanse the ol’ palette. The real victims here are Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. After Skyrim, I’m not sure I can embark on another journey that requires as much from me as either of those games surely will right now. So what did I do? I picked up Rayman Origins and Warp. I’ve also got Halo Anniversary sitting around unfinished. I’m hoping these will be the smaller, simpler experiences I need to get me ready to invest in another epic journey. Oh, and don’t worry Mass Effect 3, I will always make time for you. You’re special.