Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Preview - E3 2011
E3 11: We go hunting for dragons with the new installment of Elder Scrolls
The Elder Scrolls series has always set the bar for what is possible in action RPGs. Taking that same formula and refining it through the years, publisher Bethesda has established an increasingly large fanbase of role playing fans that keep coming back for more. While other franchises often get simplified and give up on their RPG roots, TES has remained a strong pillar for the genre. As Skyrim approaches release, it looks to be yet another solid entry in the franchise.
A demo being presented to E3 media was hosted by the lead artist on the game. He commented that in general, the game will feature a brand new engine, and thus an updated GUI, animations, quest system, and tons more. The demo being shown was ran on Xbox 360 version of the game. As the demo loaded, the audience was treated to a vast mountain range, and immediately, the details were very visible. Thanks to a new engine, the game looks great, with everything from dynamic shadows to moving vegetation. Because it’s an Elder Scrolls game, the developer confirmed that players would be able to climb to the top of the few mountains that were visible in the distance.
Much like previous titles, Skyrim will be playable in either third person or first person view. Thanks to fan feedback, a lot of work has been done to improve the third person experience for players who prefer to use that view, from improved animations to a more polished swordplay. When controlling the character, players use both shoulder trigger buttons on the controller (left and right mouse on PC) for each hand. The game allows for endless dual wielding combinations – sword/sword, sword/spell, spell/spell, sword/shield, etc. Combining control schemes could bring bonus effects, for example having the same spell equipped in both hands would allow for a charged, more powerful attack.
As we advanced through the mountain forest, a few enemies appeared. They were quickly dealt with using a few sword thrusts on the wolves, and some arrows from our bow to dispatch the human bandits. When a single bandit remained, the player switched back to a sword and shield combat, and showed off the new kill cam in the game. As we continued further down the road, the details in the world were very subtle but impressive, such as fish trying to swim upstream, small animals scattering around the area.
To make things a little more organized and streamlined, the main menu has been narrowed down to just four major categories, from where further options could be accessed. For example, by going to the inventory screen, each item that you’ve found can be viewed in 3D and rotated in almost every direction, which is quite cool and gives you a chance to see the full design. Similarly, all books can be opened and read as if they were a real object in the world. Specific items such as weapons or spells can be assigned into a favorites category, which acts like that of a web browser – these items will be ready for quick access during the game.
By looking up into the sky, the character development screen appears in the heavens. It has all the various character progression traits and other stats available, presented in a very sleek way via star formations. Each skill has a further perk tree, represented by a single star in the cluster. When accessing the map, it is now a very high zoom above the real time terrain, letting the player view the world from the sky. Fast travel will once again be available to all locations that were previously discovered.