Monday, January 7, 2013

Bwogyrim #4 (Just Chatting With Luke Skywalker)

Just a little bwog for you today, courtesy of a chat conversation I had with a friend the other night. I'm not using his real name but this is otherwise unedited (to my typo-hating regret). I'll bwog portions over the next couple days - feel free to comment with your own thoughts!

BWS2K: I'm still not decided on it yet, it's too early to give a fair critique. I think something I expected, and which seems to be the case, is that it really just looks like Morrowind with snow. No real trees to speak of, everything sort of monotone ash colored, and sometimes just really dark.
LukeSkywalker: I don't know the 2 games enough to know how varied they are
BWS2K: I haven't played it enough for some of those things but I tend to agree. My horse was pretty slow, and the map is more of a best-guess experience.
LukeSkywalker: yeah the map and ui are the ones I'm most interested in
LukeSkywalker: there are 2 more articles about it though with more mods
LukeSkywalker: I'll have to peek back through
BWS2K: And yeah, lockpicking is so clearly meant to have a rumble pack or whatever.
BWS2K: I understand atmosphere and everything, but Oblivion was better in terms of just roaming the countryside. So far, the only baddies I run into are next to caves or something. There aren't really any bad guys out and about that I've found, which disappoints. But I only made level 10 last night, so we'll see.
BWS2K: And
BWS2K: The biggest I TOLD YO USO
BWS2K: is that they're praising things that Morrowind had.
BWS2K: The mods, specifically.
BWS2K: Or ease of modding.
LukeSkywalker: who's they?
BWS2K: That's how they do things - they do one thing, then "improve it" then "improve it again" by going back to the first thing they did.
BWS2K: Bethesda.
BWS2K: I never played Fallout NV, but everything they had in that game that was different (craftable stuff, hardcore mode) should have been in the first one. It's not like they used a new engine or anything, so it was really just a huge mod.
LukeSkywalker: sequalitis
BWS2K: Morrowind had tons of armor slots, Oblivion had three, Skyrim has... wait for it... four?
BWS2K: More than Oblivion! They say.
BWS2K: That's just lame to me.
So here we have the beginning of an on-the-fly Skyrim critique. I've already mentioned a couple things in previous bwogs (you've been keeping up, right?) that irk me and now I've got just a little more playtime under my gaming belt. The article cited above actually does a decent job of highlighting some of the things I mention but I was really surprised to see that lockpicking was such a big topic in the comments section. I think if lockpicking is a skill then it shouldn't be left up to us to try and play a mini-game - my "skill" at moving a mouse until I get it the pick in the right position and quick-loading if it doesn't work should be independent from any sort of check the game does on my character's stats. It's like in MW when they had the block skill being auto-checked instead of having a block button. That doesn't really make a good video game but it's exactly what's going on in most roleplaying games - you miss the die roll, you get hit. You can pretend it's because you didn't get your shield up in time or because it was up but the shock of the enemy's weapon against your shield still hurt your arm or because... whatever. It's supposed to make you use your imagination - which is something you know you're already doing just by playing a game as an elf, right?

I'm kind of all over the place in the chat but it mostly breaks down to these points:

1) "No real trees to speak of, everything sort of monotone ash colored, and sometimes just really dark."

That's pretty straightforward - the landscape looks a little too post-apocalypse to me. It's supposed to be a land that gets lots of snow, not a nuclear winter.

2) "So far, the only baddies I run into are next to caves or something."

Granted, it depends on where you've been - but I've seen plenty of rabbits, foxes, elk, butterflies - and not a whole lot of bad guys. The occasional wolf pack has jumped out at me (I think three so far in total) but when you couple this with the lack of any real foliage it just means staring out across a sort of passive lifeless wasteland of not-Oblivion landscape (and no, we can't all play on Ultra graphics settings). That's less original and more vanilla bland grossness. Maybe they thought we'd be looking up more often for dragons, I don't know.

3) "Morrowind had tons of armor slots, Oblivion had three, Skyrim has... wait for it... four?"

The chat goes in the direction of defining a roleplaying game in general but this is a huge one for me. How can you take a game that offers you eight armor slots and "improve" it by halving that amount? It's just so totally wrong in so many ways. I want boots, greaves, breastplate, pauldrons, gauntlets, and helm at the minimum. We'll take about why you thought that changing the slant of my character's chin was a good trade-off for that another time.

With Brightest of (Low Graphic Setting) Greens,

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