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.
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.
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.
So, the Mass Effect 3 demo. I hesitate to bring it up, but I can't let it pass without making at least a few brief comments. First off, I really hope that the game addresses Ashley's radical make over... if the game hadn't told me that's who it was, I never would have recognized her, and I don't mean that in a good way.
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.
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