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Skyrim preview: We stumble upon the secret of Pinewatch Sanctuary

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Doesn't Draugr play for Chelsea?

I proceed through the caves, deeper into the bandits' hideout. Along the way, I pass a locked door and then later, several desiccated human-looking corpses of 'Draugr' - pronounced 'drogger' - who have ancient weapons concealed about their icky persons. Later in my time with the game, I meet some of these very much alive, but still dead-looking. A loading screen informs me they are believed to be ancient soldiers, cursed into an eternity of living as punishment for swearing allegiance to the dragons. Awesome.

Above: This Draugr has a particularly nice hat. Kill him and it could be yours. Imagine that

But for now, they're just dead things full of loot, which I take. I soon happen upon my first really difficult encounter - a girl with ice magic. As she throw torrents of ice shards in my direction (in a fashion not dissimilar to my own fire spell), wayward shots leave icicles on the crates around the room.

Several deaths later, I continue onwards. There's a locked chest which gives me my first taste of the new lockpicking system (more like Fallout's than Oblivion, as Mikel mentioned). It's hard, but once you've got the knack, it's definitely doable, though it is hard to remember to breathe when you're doing it.

Are we there yet?

By this point, I'm wondering how much further the caverns go. But I end up in a room with a big wooden screen in one side and some shelves with potions on. As I'm stealing the potions, I hear someone stirring behind the screen, where (as I later discover) there is a bed. This is the bedroom of 'Rigel Strong Arm' – a fierce woman with a big shield and a good line in battle taunts.

She doesn't have any magic, but she's a fierce fighter and, despite the potions, I'm the subject of many cutaway impalement death scenes on her sword. Eventually I face her with her own tactics of a big shield and one-handed sword. Beating her has taken a good 20 minutes and I start to fear that I'm wasting my precious time with the game.

Above: I could be out exploring this, yet I'm getting repeatedly killed by a girl in a cave

But finally, success! After a particularly powerful parry with my shield, she grunts with pain and stumbles, allowing one final smite across her back to finish her off. About her person are two keys, the Pinewatch key and the Pinewatch Treasure Room key. No wonder she was so tough – this was the 'boss' of the dungeon!

But it doesn't end there. I move on, into what can only be described as an Indiana Jones film set. Countless traps line the corridors, triggered by panels in the floor that you can admittedly clearly see once you know what to look for, but easily catch you out until you do.

Call him Dr Jones, Doll

At one point, what looks like a thousand blow darts fly from the walls all at once, whistling past my nose. Another trap has me physically dodge in my seat and exclaim 'aagh!' as I open a door and a spiked ball on a chain swings towards the camera. I'm completely engrossed in the game, possibly helped by the large screen and headphones. This is getting too dangerous, but the treasure must be near now.

It is. Finally, I enter a room with a large table, absolutely covered in wondrous treasure, There are ingots and sapphires lying amidst individually-rendered (and collectable) gold coins. I am, quite literally, rich. I ask the PR rep if I can take a photo to show you, but the answer is sadly no. But just imagine a table laden with treasure – that's what it looked like.

Above: No photos, so here's a picture of a city. You can walk behind those waterfalls - I did

But gold is only gold. And as I finish clearing the table into my inventory, I discover my biggest prize of all - an item called 'Necklace of Waterbreathing'. I've found an enchanted item that allows me to breathe underwater, indefinitely. Woot once more... until I remember my Argonian can breathe underwater anyway. OK, let's revert to "I'm rich!"

I head through the last door with the Pinewatch key (it's the door I passed earlier on) and make my way out of the hideout and into the moonlit woodland. Where now? The whole of Skyrim lies before me. I've beaten just one of its hundreds of incidental quests, and I'm in love. This game is amazing.

Above: WANT!

17 Oct, 2011

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35 comments

  • matt-nold - October 23, 2011 12:26 a.m.

    BF3 coming out Tuesday, that will do more than tide me over till Skyrim, but Skyrim is still going to be my favorite game!
  • gr1m_dan - October 20, 2011 4:14 a.m.

    Two games that I am really looking forward to coming out with days of each other. Battlefield 3 and Skyrim...although after all the videos I am sorry to say BF3 will be shelved on the 11th of November!!! I've recently moved to Xbox from PC and whilst I know the graphics won't be as good they still look absolutely mind blowing :-O A lot better than Oblivion on it. Misty mountains = £40 lighter in my wallet!
  • Detonation44 - October 19, 2011 12:08 p.m.

    I don't think I've ever wanted a game so much! Forget waiting for the Game of The Year addition! I've waited long enough! I'll pay full price for all the expansions, I don't care any more! Even if I waste 50$ I can't wait longer than 20 days!!!!
  • ParanoidAndroid64 - October 17, 2011 8:10 p.m.

    Jesus. I didn't think I could look forward to a game this much.
  • I-Is-Kilr0y - October 17, 2011 4:35 p.m.

    does anyone else think that castle looks like the one from highlander...
  • sweetchiliheat - October 17, 2011 4:34 p.m.

    A water breathing amulet? For us non-argonian players that's an invaluable item right there. I remember the Fin gleam helmet in Oblivion. Nighteye & waterbreathing together. Not like you need night eye underwater...
  • lilspooky - October 17, 2011 4:04 p.m.

    WANT! WANT! WANT! I am so excited for Skyrim. I pre-ordered and asked for 11-11-11 off work. I hope the SDK is released day one also. I'm sure I'll want to mod a few things right away.
  • joshdaman123 - October 17, 2011 3:51 p.m.

    does anybody else notice that impossibly badass battelaxe that the player is using in the draugr picture?
  • Evanesco - October 17, 2011 3:03 p.m.

    GR, I just want you to know that the expanding Skyrim add on the top of this page said "in stores now" when it ended.
  • TheZigMan - October 17, 2011 12:55 p.m.

    Easily my most anticipated game of the year. I'm sorry, but even arkham City doesn't look as good as this
  • Fetalspray - October 17, 2011 11:13 a.m.

    In the unlikely event they sell my pre-order there will literally be no means of identification.
  • calebgerbs - October 17, 2011 11:11 a.m.

    DID HE JUST GET PICKED UP BY A F***ING DRAGON?!?!?! yup.
  • mothbanquet - October 17, 2011 9:59 a.m.

    And there goes another forty quid
  • AwesomeMan - October 17, 2011 9:50 a.m.

    AHHHH SKYRIM!!!!! I literally cannot wait for this game!
  • Odis - October 17, 2011 9:48 a.m.

    Has no one noticed the big ol' non-material bow with the non-material arrows that you can shoot. That's a good reason to buy the game right there. Not even mentioning the side-quest, which sounds amazing. That the awesome thing about Elder Scrolls. I remember that while I didn't finish Oblivion, my favorite part was when I was walking, saw a little shelf on knee level, and after looking, found a sapphire. Talk about hidden in plain site. I just hope Skyrim gives me many more of those.
  • FuperFaiyanFeth - October 17, 2011 9:47 a.m.

    I am jizzing pure excitement right now.
  • Manguy17 - October 17, 2011 9:33 a.m.

    Awesome article, its wierd, now i REALLY want to do that quest, but the knowledge that there are so many more like it makes me even happier.
  • PopeBenedictXVI - October 17, 2011 9:22 a.m.

    Want, want, want! But please, no more oblivion gates. Ahhhhh!
  • kor2disturbed - October 17, 2011 9:20 a.m.

    This may seem stupid but, how does the movement feel? Like does walking and attacking feel weightier, or does it still feel like you're walking on air like in Oblivion and Fallout 3?
  • matt-nold - October 23, 2011 12:25 a.m.

    Judging by what i have seen and played (Played 20 min at Pax) i would say it feels weightier. I did not feel like i was floating, then again i was mostly in third person, which looks amazing! Anyways, you can now Sprint so thats way different from Fallout or Oblivion, and i absolutely love it. No more being over powered, but we get to sprint now. Thanks Bethesda. Anyways i sadly had no time to actually go into any dungeons but the outside environments looked great. I almost made it to river wood (Started going one way then turned around and went towards river wood), but it was too late. My time was up right as River Wood came on screen from behind a rock. No more than 100m away from me.

Showing 1-20 of 35 comments

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