Robert Raymond Alpizar

My Thoughts On: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Thursday May 14, 2020 8:24pm EST

The first time I can remember encountering The Elder Scrolls franchise was when I was 16, way back in 1999. I had moved to live with my dad in Chicago and for reasons, I wasn't able to get into school. Finding myself with a ton of time and nothing to fill it, I ended up exploring the city. Mos tof the time I would end up at CompUSA or the Borders a few blocks up on Michigan Ave.

It was there that I started picking up PC gaming magazines. I didn't have a console of any kind at the time, but I had access to my dad's PC. It was a couple generations newer than the one I had left back in Miami, so it opened up a better world of games to me.

In the time that I was living in Chicgao, I never actually bought any games. My dad had a couple, Jane's F-15 being the one I remember the most. I spent many a late night just fucking around in that game. But...most of the time I spent with games were with the demo discs that came with those magazines. One of those discs had a demo for The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard.

Here's the thing, I never actually played the game. I had read the articles in the magazines, I'd seen the pictures and saw a couple gameplay trailer clips somewhere at some point in that postage stamp grainy shit video we had back then. But I never actually installed the demo. This was just the first time I'd encountered the franchise.

It wouldn't be until I played Oblivion on the XBOX 360 years later. I had never played this type of open world RPG. This game introduced me to the one thing Bethesda has never failed to impress me with...that blinding light, crawl out of the sewers into the real world for the first time, good luck now fuck off post-tutorial first steps into the game proper. Every game since then that I've played has given me that same awe. It's amazing.

I didn't actually play much of that game either. I'd pick it up from time to time but I just couldn't get into the story, the oblivion gates bored me to death with the rinse & repeat of them. I got more out of doing the faction quests and all the random side quests than anything related to Emperor Picard and his legacy. The first time I heard Martin's voice, I knew he wouldn't be around at the end of the story.

Then, at least for Elder Scrolls, (Fallout will be another story for another time), came Skyrim.

The first time I played it, I ran through the main quest, ignoring everything else. Since I was so underpowered for the later stages of the storyline, I turned on god mode and said fuck it. Oh hey, I killed the dragon or something. Back into the obscurity of my Steam library you go.

I didn't even think about it again until the Special Edition came out. As soon as it went on the first decent sale I picked it up and figured I'd give it a real try.

I didn't give it a real try.

I just dicked around and forgot about the game after awhile. Every time I'd build a new machine, I'd reinstall the game just to see how it looked and ran on the new machine, then forget about it all over again. It wasn't until we moved into the new apartment at the beginning of the year that I found myself sucked into the game again.

I'd gotten the new gaming machine and went insane installing stuff, but Skyrim was in the first batch of games. I tried a few other games I'd never really gotten around to, but found myself going back to Skyrim because of how familiar the interface and everything about it were to me by this point.

For some reason I had kept the same save through each of the aborted attempts at trying the game again. I'd completed a few things here and there, but I'd stopped the main quest at the point where you have to go up to see the Grey Beards and just wandered around doing whatever side quests I could do. Whenever I'd pull up the quest log, I would glance right past the main quest and concentrated on blowing through all the miscellaneous and remaining faction quests. It became a compulsion to try and do all the side garbage.

Then the time came. I ended the war (for the Empire!), was the head of every faction, every guild. I finished the Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLC. The latter was interesting as I had never played Morrowind and didn't even know the game existed until after I'd already started into oblivion. All of the locations and culture of the island were intriguing and I'm kinda of tempted to try out Morrowind, but apprehensive at the retroness of the game at this point.

Anyway, I finished everything BUT the main quest. The time came to finish everything up. I blew through the main quest so quickly that I barely recongnized any of it from the first time around. My memories of the different story lines in the game all blended together. Well, it was done. I'd finished the game as much as I cared to.

Before this final play though, I'd found the game to be...boring. The combat and magic system were dumbed down in the way Bethesda had been trending. The writing of the story lines were not engaging in the least and I found myself finishing them just to say I finished them and to be able to move on to something else. The graphics were still beautiful, the only part of the story that drew me in existed only in books I had to read scattered around the world. It's been a couple of weeks now since I put the game away again and I can't recall a single quest or side story that made any kind of lasting impact on me. Not one.

Skyrim is a good time skink, but it's the worst thing a game can be. Boring.