Five Reasons Skyrim Might Disappoint
Skyrim is wonderful and amazing and the best PC game of all time and all that sort of jazz. I pre-ordered it on Steam and have put more hours than I should have into it, but there are a few problem areas that I feel bound to address. This article may contain some spoilers, so beware.
Limited NPC Dialog / Limited AI
Would it have killed someone to write a few extra lines of dialog for the NPC's to say after significant events have transpired? I'm the Thane of Whiterun and I still have snotty guards saying 'Let me guess... someone stole your sweet roll?' It would also make sense for the Thane to have an additional wardrobe to choose from, but all I get is an axe. No wonder the guards have no idea who I am until I inform them personally.
Marriage Not All It's Cracked Up To Be
NPC interaction in general is shallow. That might be expected with general passerby NPCs, but I find it deeply disappointing that my only interaction with my husband or wife in the game is asking them for money and home cooked meals. It would have been nice for there to have been additional storylines associated with the NPCs one is able to marry, so that one can get a sense of a deeper relationship. Not to mention some ability to have some kind of physical, romantic interaction with them. You don't even kiss on your wedding day, your new bride or groom just turns around once the ceremony is over and walks out of the chapel before the priest has even finished speaking. The same can be said for NPC companions. You can get to know them in five minutes and that's the end of it. It's strange that Bethesda went this route, as NPC interaction was far more advanced in Fallout: New Vegas. All in all, it feels like a big step back.
Rule All The Factions
I don't need to be the king of the world. The Thane of Whiterun was the first and last quest that made sense to me. The Companions' quest line, which is awesome, ends with Kodlak being killed whilst you're out of town and who becomes the leader of the Companions? That's right – you do! You also become the Arch Mage of the Mage's College and so on and so forth. It strikes me as ridiculous that someone new to a group that has existed for hundreds of years and has established senior members would become the leader of it upon the death of its existing leader. It is an immersion breaker for me, it just feels silly – especially when I still have to ask Aela and Vilkas for 'jobs' after the fact. I'm the Harbinger, but they see no issue with sending me off to take care of a Saber Cat in someone's cottage. I would have no problem with eventually becoming the head of these groups after sufficient time, but you can become the Harbinger of the Companions, for instance, within a couple of hours of play. That's just silly.
Not So Radiant AI
The Radiant AI was a big draw for Skyrim. Bethesda were quite insistent that you'd be able to get quests from different NPC's, so you could get rid of some if they irked you. Unfortunately, that leeway doesn't extend to 'critical' NPCs, who are often the ones you most want to get rid of. The claim that you can shape the world by your actions has quite restrictive limits, as I discovered when I put an arrow through Ancano's head and he merely sniffed at me and went on his way. I dislike the way the game forces you into preventable tragedy for its own ends. If we're supposed to be able to shape the world our own way, then no NPC should be off-limits.
Little Love For PC
The PC interface is somewhat broken. Sometimes you can press 'E' to achieve an action, sometimes you have to use the mouse. The scrolling menus aren't always convenient and the slidey mechanics of much of the interface probably works wonderfully on a console, but feels clunky on the PC. We all knew it was going to be a console port to some extent, but not even putting in the time to make a decent GUI for the PC version just feels insulting to be honest, especially given that Skyrim broke records as the most played game on Steam after it's release, with over 280,000 players playing concurrently. When you're selling (at least) a quarter of a million titles to the PC market within the first couple of days of sale, is it not worth making sure that the interface makes some sort of sense for them? This is probably my biggest quibble, and though it will probably fixed by a mod soon, I can't help but feel that it isn't quite good enough. Skyrim is highly likely to sell millions of copies to PC users and we deserve to have some care taken to ensure that our experience is tailored to our plaform too.