Everyone who plays The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim will have a different experience based on how they want to play. Some players will cruise through the story missions without going off the beaten path; others will complete everything there is to complete; while many will simply mess around, exploring and enjoying the brilliant world Bethesda has created. For those willing to wander there are a lot of interesting things to see and find, and that's how we approached a recent session with the game. What sort of things will they discover? Well, after sitting down with the game for a few hours, we’ve assembled a list of some of the things we did, so that you might be able to get a good idea of what you can do when the game releases next month(opens in new tab)
Above: There's a quick time event to kiss this enemy.
- We witnessed a murder in a town square, where a lady called Margret was viciously stabbed to death before our very eyes.
- We killed the assailant, and then went into a shop where people were talking about the noise outside. It was a scripted event (and that start of a side-quest), but happened in a brilliantly organic way.
- We killed an Elk with massive antlers (obviously head of the small group he was with). When he was dead we were able to keep the antlers, which we would no doubt have displayed in our house as soon as we'd bought one in one of the cities.
- We were able to look at characters' facial expressions without cringing at the old engine. They’re much improved, and suspicious looks from a town leader's bodyguards work brilliantly with the dialogue to set a mood that we should mind our Ps and Qs.
- We dual-wielded magic. It's possible to have two of the same spell or even different spells mapped to the triggers.
- We went swimming in a river and almost fell down a big waterfall, and let out an audible gasp when we climbed to safety.
- We caught Riverbetty fish and Salmon while swimming with our bare hands.
- We waited in the middle of a field just to see the day/night transition unfold before your very eyes. It was much like Shenmue II.
- We went to the nearest city and took a carriage to a city that was further away. It could take us to any of the game’s cities – even the ones we hadn’t been to.
- We heard people shout for help in the wilderness in a fashion not dissimilar to Red Dead Redemption, except instead of needing to be defended from outlaws, they’re running from dire wolves or Orcs. Or dragons.
- We stared in awe at the mist around mountains. It looks phenomenal.
Above: So I'm packing my bags for the Misty Mountains
- We went into someone’s house and were asked politely to leave. Then firmly. Then they started calling for the guards. So long, old RPG tropes!
- We were happy to see that the “over-encumbered” message was gone, replaced with “You are carrying too much to be able to run,” which, crucially, still allows you to move, only very slowly. Very… very slowly.
- We explored the tops of mountains, and noticed that the snowfall increased as we got higher. It’s all rendered in 3D.
- We slowly climbed down a steep mountain, jumping from rock to rock to avoid taking damage.
- We tried to climb slowly down a steep mountain, but then fell to our death.
- We stole a horse and had people yell at us as we rode away.
- We saw a woolly mammoth lay dead, but just as we were about to get off our horse and have a look, we saw a bear that had been feeding off it. He'd seen us too. Run!
- We spent 20 minutes riding from one spot on the map to another. Skyrim is freakin' humongous, and much of it in wide-open areas populated by mammoths and giants.
- We learned the difference between riding on the road with a horse (they can gallop at full-speed) and riding in the hills on a horse (they can only trot, never building speed).
- We fell off a cliff with our horse several times. Most of the times it killed us, but once we saw our character slowly climb to his feet and continue after a particularly unfortunate fall.
- We were amazed as we rode through shallow water with a horse. Water ripples are brilliantly rendered in real time, and look straight out of a Pixar movie.
- We had the horse shot out from under us. Enemies will always attack your steed first before they start attacking you. Once your horse is down... you ain't goin' nowhere, son.
- We mistakenly hit the wrong button to jump, because it’s now mapped to A, which is where it always should have been.
- We collected glow worms called “torchbugs,” which fly around. But sadly, collecting them kills them (and butterflies too) and adds their thoraxes and wings respectively as ingredients for alchemy in your inventory. Shame. But they look lovely while they're alive.
- We cried about killing torchbugs.
- We spent several minutes looting a large laboratory of ingredients.
- We crafted the crap out of potions. Once we found an Alchemy bench we filled out inventory with alchemical potions.
- We found Nirnroot. Hey! Nirnroot is back!
- We learned which ingredients do what. Snowberries and Silverside Perch resist frost; Dragon's Tongue and Strawberries both resist fire; Deathbell and Bleeding Crown both contain weakness to poison. When we mixed Snowberries, Silverside Perch, and Dragon's Tongue we created a Potion of Resist Frost.
- We also tried to improve our weapons using Grindstones, but we didn’t have any of the ingredients.
- We swung our axe at the Grindstone in frustration – it bounced off.
Click the next page to find out why we get thrown in jail and how we break out...