Joe Abercrombie on 'Skyrim'

Mr. J Abercrombie has been playing the new Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim:
The good news?  There’s loads of it.  While keeping what was best about it’s open-ended forebears, Skyrim triumphantly overcomes the drawbacks.  Well, most of them, anyway.  And it’s in the setting that it really scores BIG.  Skyrim is a nordic, viking-y sort of a place and it’s concentrating on that theme that has really drawn everything together.  Armour and weapons have nordic swirls, houses have dragons carved on the roofs, mammoth-herding giants roam the tundra and dragons haunt the skies.  The fighters guild in Oblivion were some fighters.  In a house.  Who fought stuff.  The Companions in Skyrim are a load of Valhalla obsessed nords who sit round a firepit in an upended longship.  They’ve got an ideology, man.
I wanted to love Skyrim, I wanted to dive in and not come up for air until the spring, but I can't get past the awful, clunky, insipid combat.  The world is incredibly detailed and undeniably immersive; the lore is rich and nuanced; the quests many and varied.  But the combat is bloody awful.

In 2009, when I first played Demon's Souls on the PS3, I worried that the melee combat was so good that the game was going to render all future RPGs pale and worthless.  And so, having gone directly from Dark Souls (the sequel to Demon's Souls) to Skyrim, I'm finding the combat to be very watery: you basically just flail about with your weapon with no real sense of how you're doing.  It wouldn't be so bad if 95% of the quests didn't require combat to bring them to completion.  Maybe I'll try again with Skyrim in a year or so.

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