As soon as I began to play the original GOW I realized that there was something about the game’s blend of action and tactics that set it apart from all other games in the genre. Over the years I’ve beaten both GOW campaigns with a wide various friends, family, and strangers, and still find the experience to be deeply satisfying. While some of the systems introduced in the original GOW were still in their relative infancy, the overall Gears experience was always spectacular. After playing a lot of Gears 3 over the past week I can honestly say that the Gears 1 and 2 were just an appitizer for the feast that is Gears of War 3.
We were lucky enough to get in the good graces of Bethesda during PAX: East and were excited when they invited us to play Skyrim during the media only hour at PAX: Prime. Behold! A dramatic retelling of my time with The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
First Impressions: I was terrible at Skyrim… and terrible is putting it nicely. The first step in my epic adventure was character creation. I spent a few minutes cycling through the various races and gender. I have to say that I was immediately impressed with the variety, but I was told to not take too much time because raw adventure awaited me… outside. I quickly selected an Orc (because they rule) and, from what I understand, possessed some sort of berzerker ability that I never quite figured out. A few moments after building my character and equipping his weapons (an axe and a long sword) I made my way out into the wilds. I was also told that the area we were playing with was not actually an area from the game, but a zone specifically built for demo purposes. The first thing I noticed about Skyrim is how large everything felt, there I was alone in this huge word with no guidance and no real motivation.
I can’t kill a caribou – My lvl 1 Orcish warrior combed the dense forest and soon came across a nice looking stream (a babbling brook if you will). Wallowing in the river was a massive Caribou who seemed to be enjoying himself. Hot-swapping to my longbow I fired a volley of arrows at my unsuspecting prey who seemed to shrug off my arrows as if he were wearing Caribou-Kevlar. Then, for unknown reasons my game froze… total hard lock.
Now I’m a Lion-Man: An employee quickly reset my game and allowed me to re-roll my avatar…I was told that we were playing an old build of the game which still a bit buggy. This time I picked a cat-man who had the racial ability of “improved melee”. Prowling around with big bushy tail I wandered into a nearby cave and and savagely attacked some hobo-looking bandits. I felt a bit bad, but I only had a few more minutes to get some action in. The melee system is fun and simple, especially at lvl 1 where I had very few options. I could see the quality of gameplay improving as one advances through the narrative, and dual wield is always a lot of fun.
Final Impressions: I firmly believe that Skyrim will be an amazing game. With over 70 voice acted rolls and 120+ hours of gameplay, it should melt your brain into an RPG flavored goo. The demo however was a bit lacking as the world felt incredibly empty (sans the swimming Caribou and the hobo-bandits). I felt terribly weak and underpowered and died on several occasions during exploration. I would have much rather played a later portion in the game with more abilities and story options unlocked.