The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR

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    • #3852

      It was the night before a huge show in Philadelphia, and at ten in the morning everyone was exhausted but excited. My fellow gamers, including a certain young lady with the bright red hair, were just getting started. I was eager to check out Fallout 4, which my fellow cosplayers had set up a little ahead of time.

      After the show, we spent the day at Bethesda‒s booth, where we got to look at what the team has been working on so far. We spent a little time walking around the game, and were able to play the multiplayer portion of the game, but it was too early to try it on my own.

      But with one hour to play, I decided to try it anyway, as the game is so good that it’s hard to put a negative comment on it.

      I started looking at photos online and realized the most recent photo was a little outdated. For me, at least. Because I’d seen several images like it in my Twitter timeline since last week. I was reminded how big Skyrim has become over the past two years and how much I missed seeing the game on a VR headset. Plus, having a new version of the game that looks and runs better in VR was a great excuse to see it again.

      The new version of the game came out last April but it was so recently I hadn’t played it. It was made available on Steam in September 2015, and was called Skyrim: Special Edition, but the game isn’t just a re-release—it’s entirely new content. Everything—from the art style to the music to the story—had been rewritten from scratch.

      It’s easy to imagine the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim virtual reality feeling “familiar,” but there’s so much left out of the experience for me that I wish I could give it more love. What’s missing? There’s just no way to make it feel any less like Skyrim. Here’s why.

      The Dialogue is awful

      The first hour of Elder Scrolls VR takes place in a cave, and all the dialogue from that time, and its sequels, comes from your character’s mouth. But you already know that by the end of the first hour. Your avatar has already memorized the first line of dialogue from every single NPC.

      The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim virtual reality has been remastered and re-released so many times it’s an inside joke at this point, and yet I haven’t really felt drawn to go back—until last night. It was the most incredible and beautiful feeling, and I’d still be playing if I didn’t have this to remind me of its significance. The last time I’d played Skyrim VR was about two years ago, and my memory wasn’t clear at all. In the intervening time, some of its systems—the tracking and the depth-of-field—have all but decayed from being as good as they are today. I didn’t have a choice about playing Skyrim VR, as I had played it in the years before and was ready to give it any one-handed motion control that the technology offered, but, in this case, I chose to skip the motion-heavy approach and just get into the VR experience. Skyrim VR is more than any one-hand motion controls—it takes you in the world of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and the experience is the whole of it.

    • #3881

      I can’t even remember the specifics, but I can tell you I was standing in the middle of an empty city square, the game’s UI all rendered out on the ground. I was surrounded on all sides by men in full armor and wielding enormous swords. It was a virtual reality walk through an empty city.

      A few times I could see Ralof in various states of arousal. I would crouch on a ledge and stare intently at him, my hands moving freely but with no input for anything save Ralof’s actions. I could see all his limbs flex at different speeds. The game’s avatar took a breath and did nothing before continuing to stand. I’d sometimes look at the game’s environment and get a glimpse of Ralof’s face.

      There was still an entire city in flames. No one was safe in that city, and so the Imperial Legion decided to make our home in the woods, making the mountain homes for the civilians instead of giving them a new home. So far only the citizens of Ravenwall have been given a home to call their own, but I bet you the townspeople might be happy to find some home in one of these new, improved, and fortified towns. Of course we can expect some competition, and we might get one or two more of these new, fortified and upgraded places that Ralof and I will be taking a sneak peek at! And in another good sign of change, the Imperial Legion will no longer be providing guard duty. Instead, they will also be providing services such as housing and food distribution.

      All because I was a little too young, and too stupid, to realize that the Empire was really just two groups of thieves.

      I’ve come to realize that I’m quite young, for I’ve been born to a royal family in a place called High Rock, whose entire culture has been molded by the nobility’s obsession with wealth and power for centuries. When I was born, we were ruled by House Hlaalu, a people who took centuries to develop the discipline necessary to protect themselves from foreign invasions, and was once under the influence of the Nords who were the rightful rulers of Skyrim. To us, the Imperials were simply an unpleasant presence, even to this day.

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