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Skyrim: A dirge for the Falmer

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Screenshot

The Falmer are coming. You can hear guards whispering about them in Skyrim's towns. You can encounter them through their attacks on trading caravans or isolated, unlucky outposts. In the journey to Blackreach, if not before, you will encounter the Falmer. Blind and pale, they scurry through the caves beneath Skyrim, clothed and armed with chitin from their hideous insect livestock, communicating in primitive hisses. Considering only these characteristics, it would be easy to dismiss the Falmer as goblins by another name, like Mass Effect's awful Vorcha. However, the fiction surrounding the Falmer positions them as a touchstone for many of Skyrim's main ideas.

Skyrim: The orphans, the clown and the mothers

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Screenshot

When Skyrim tries to go big, it often falters due to poor writing, over-promising, or a disconnect between the story and the gameplay. The happiest exception to this trend is the Dark Brotherhood questline, which is one of the game's great successes. This is because it obeys the rules of good writing, and of good game design.

Extra Credits: Skyrim's Opening

Hmmm, criticizing The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim's opening for being lackluster compared to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare's now (in)famous opening? Is it fair to compare two games from two seemingly disparate genres like an open-world role-playing game and a scripted, set-piece-heavy, first-person military shooter? Maybe it isn't, but it does sound like something GameCritics would do. No wonder we like this video.

Extra Credits: Skyrim's Opening

Skyrim: The war that wasn't

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Screenshot

Skyrim is a huge and uneven game, and I will be discussing many of its high points. In the spirit of getting the bad news out first, however, I want to discuss the game's secondary quest, concerning the civil war between the Imperial Legion and the Stormcloaks led by Jarl Ulfric of Windhelm. There is much to admire in the way this quest is set up, but as a world element and gameplay series it falls short in several respects.

Skyrim: The Alduin/Dagon dichotomy

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Screenshot

I have a lot to say about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and indeed I've already said some of it. Some of it has been said for me, for instance in Shamus Young's takedown of the Thieves' Guild quests, which after a promising start became too intolerable for me to bother completing. Uneven writing quality is almost a certainty in a game this large, though, and perhaps it was the Thieves' Guild's time, after being one of the best sidequests in Oblivion.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Second Opinion

Beautifully Boring

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Screenshot

HIGH Climbing to the top of a mountain, seeing a location far off in the distance, and being able to travel to it.

LOW The endless series of repetitive filler quests that do nothing but pad the game's running time.

WTF Why is it okay that the main quest is so boring that people brag about not completing it?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review

It's the Journey, not the Destination

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Screenshot

HIGH The culmination of the Dark Brotherhood questline.

LOW Being spoken to as a Nord, even though I'm an Argonian.

WTF *Shoots child in the face with an arrow* Stop! You're under arrest! *pays 1500 gold* Okay, you're free to go.

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 65: Batman Arkham City, Zelda Skyward Sword, More Skyrim, Corpse Party, Fate/Extra

Brad's back with a vengeance, smacking down accusations that he's playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim incorrectly. Also: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Corpse Party, Fate/Extra, and, at last, our semi-epic fight over Batman: Arkham City. Plus: Details on how you can win BIG in our BIG holiday contest. With Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, Richard Naik, and Tim "BIG" Spaeth.

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Zelda's wacky controls and Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas Screenshot

After Skyrim bored me to the point that I did not care to continue, I was still in the mood for a Western-style RPG, and a quick look at my backlog reminded me that I still had an unopened copy of Fallout: New Vegas that I picked up but never played thanks to the widely reported of glitches and bugs that plagued it.

Breaking the immersion--Skyrim's racism lacks authenticity

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Screenshot

I really like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I want to state this now, since most of what I'm about to write will probably make it seem like I dislike it. However, just because I like something doesn't mean I can't criticize it as well. And believe me, there are things to criticize about Skyrim.

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