I have not had a particularly good history with the Elder Scrolls games. The first one I tried, Arena, was so long ago that I actually had to install it from 1.2 MB 5.25″ floppies, and my experience with the game consisted of struggling through the godawful long install and then promptly being killed by the first rat I ran in to in the first dungeon.
The second one I tried was Morrowind, on the original Xbox, and I got a little further in that before I got swarmed by mudcrabs and died horribly.
It’s apparently been long enough for me to forgive both of those, because I decided to give Skyrim a try this weekend.
My first impressions were not good. The opening is dreary at best, the controls weren’t clicking, I didn’t like the character models, and I was pretty sure that this was going to be strike 3 for the Elder Scrolls… and then I decided, well, everyone talks about how amazing the mod community is for this game, maybe I’ll give the internet a chance to make this game something I want to play.
So, I found some high-res texture packs, and a new ragdoll engine, and some enhanced character models, and realized that I could use an Xbox 360 controller, and that let me put up with the game to the point where I made it through the introduction and got out into the world, at which point it pretty much hooked me good and proper.
…and then I installed enhanced water and snow effects, and hi-resolution foliage and lush grass, and reskinned versions of the first couple of towns, and a new skeletal engine, and found a way to turn off helmets and replace the standard armor textures with “high fantasy” (read: bikini armor) versions, and added environmental sounds for towns and dungeons and wilderness, and on and on and on. I’m at the point where I probably shouldn’t go adding any more mods because they are at some point going to start fighting with each other, to be honest, but the end result is that everything UNDER the hood is the same, but the visuals and audio have been pumped up nicely.
I also get now why people get so sucked into the world. I get that there’s a story and all that, and I should probably get on that, but in the meantime I just walked past a cave full of bandits and bandits always need killing. I’ll get back to saving the world once that’s sorted out.