The Game Life

Learn all there is to know about games and the people who make them by Roberto Campos.

Mr Music Snob

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Monday, November 28, 2011

What the Hell is Skyrim Counterpoint

Video games have never really received the created they deserve. Since I was five I can remember my mom adhering to that philoshopy as she yelled has yelled "quite playing those violent video games and do something productive."

First off I want to start off this article with a quote from the great Chris Brown and say "Look at me now"...I'm writing about video games, so there's something productive mom. Secondly, I get where Dave's article. Often when media enjoys mainstream success such as video games, it's hard to distinguish between what's all out there. The reason that is the video game industry, like music and movies, is out to make money. Video games are a multi-billion dollar industry and work with formulas like music and movies to make money.

When Call of Duty  4: Modern Warfare came out it took the gaming community by storm. If you didn't own or play the game you were in the minority. Because of the franchises continued successes we've seen countless modern day shooters come out and have seen success: Rainbow Six: Vegas, Battlefield 3 and Medal of Honor just to name a few. When Nirvana hit the music scene the music industry scrambled to sign bands from Seattle in hopes of a repeat success. Call of Duty is like Nirvana and publishers want to put games out there that have a similar style of game play in hopes of replicating sales and its success.

To answer Dave's question Skyrim is a game about a hero that finds out he has an incredible power harness dragon souls and must use those abilities to choose the fate of Skyrim. There is of course more story to the game seeing as the game has more than 100 hours of gameplay, but Skyrim is more than your average game. Bethesda, creators of Skyrim, has made a game that breaks the mold of the mainstream gaming industry. It does that by going back to the basic and focusing on what made a game like Metal Gear Solid so great which is a great single player campaign that has an even greater story.

Today's gaming industry is mostly focused on one thing, multiplayer. To reach such mainstream success you have to appeal to a broad audience and your broad audience consits of mostly of casual gamers. A casual gamer may not necessarily want to put 100 plus hours into a game, rather they would like to play a quick 10 minute match facing real people on Call of Duty. It is hard to find a game now-a-days that doesn't have multiplayer in it.

That's how Skyrim breaks the mold, there is no multiplayer to be found here. A represented at Bethesda was quoted saying that they didn't included player because they wanted to focus on their favorite part which was a great single player experience. It goes back to what made 90's and 00's games like The Legend Of Zelda: Orcarina of Time so great and that's what makes a game like this so great. When a game like this comes out gamers are overcome with joy because it is a game that has no multiplayer and acts like games that came before the existence of an "online experience." It is a nostalgic feeling that I think gamers who grew up in the rise of this industry feel and appreciate. Skyrim goes against the current of a colossal industry fixated on giving the world the ability to play together and for some reason it is met with great success. I believe this is because gamers consciously and unconsciously understand that this game is different than your mainstream games.

Skyrim is one of the best games of all time, it indulges you with an experience few games can offer. It's hard to describe the experience that it gives you other than it's addicting because it encapsulates you in its world. I often find myself thinking about what I want to do next in Skryim when I'm away from it. The last game to do that to me was Fallout 3 and that was years ago and seeing as I'm a hardcore gamer that's quite a few years to not experience something like that.  Years from now I'll still be playing Skyrim and still be experience it in a new way throughout those years.

Games that make up the list for the best of all time are timeless and engage you in experiences that you feel emotionally. The Legend of Zelda is the first series to make someone feel an emotional connection to the story and its characters. Like a good book or a great movie, great video games tap into our human emotion and have you clinging to the game until the end to find out what happens. Sometimes I find it hard to go back to those classic games because they are dated, to this day I can't fully complete Final Fantasy VII, but we remember the experiences that we had with those games and why we loved them so much. Skyrim is going to be one of those games because it goes against the curve and gives players something that they haven't experienced in a long time, a great story. Media will always become dated go, Pokemon: The First Movie is not as badass as I remember, but well always enjoy the great movies, albums and games we play.

I recently walked in to several college dorms and every guy was glaring at their T.V. playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. The video game industry is here to stay and I think it will always be something that is mainstream. Hopefully they will not get to the mainstream level that music has and go for cheap gimicks to get sales, god I couldn't stand for a game to suck as much as Justin Beiber.

Video games engage people in an experience music and movies can never dream to accomplish. Video games engage players in three of the five senses, if you're checking my math here it's sight, sound and touch (you use the control with hand-eye coordination), which helps draw you into their world. Technology has advanced to a level where games can look as good as an animated and have soundtracks that are on par with movies and have great sound quality.

Some people will never understand video games and write them off, but doesn't ever art have that? I still don't get how people enjoy Country Music, but for the people who enjoy, like video games, we'll always love them for what experiences they give us.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is my favorite game to come out in 2011. I am going to go as far as to say it is the game of the year and one of the best Role Playing Games (RPGs) of all time.

Bethesda Game Studios out did themselves with Skyrim, listening to what their fans wanted, fixing the combat and many many more things that I could spend hours talking about. Bethesda has created a game that is as complex as they come and has a story that will compel players to play the more than 100 hours long game to the end. I entered into The Elder Scrolls franchise at Elder Scrolls III: Morowind, and it has come along way since then.

What makes Skyrim so different and enjoyable from its predecessors is you no longer have to make important character decisions at the beginning of the game. Skyrim allows you to experience the world it offers first and then decided what skills you want to focus on. Those decisions would have been made at the beginning of the previous games and could prove to be detrimental later on the game if you made a wrong decision. It is an aspect that lets new players get the feel of a game that massive, and at sometimes overwhelming, and build their character and not be punished for lack of knowledge. This handicap is very beneficial because there are many important decisions you'll have to make over the course of the game and this allows you to not make most of them all at once.

For people who are familiar with the franchise it is just a different way of accomplishing the same task, character building. I like this new way of leveling better because it has actually inspired many ideas of how I want to play other characters that I make in different savings.

The coolest addition to this game are the dragons. At the request of the fans Bethesda looked into adding dragons in the Elder Scrolls universe and the addition is amazing. Every time a dragon flies around you as it is about to attack you is wonderful treat and never gets old. Having dragons adds to the difficulty of the game, having the ability to show up at anytime is something really cool and really makes each players experience very much individualized. I have found that they get in the way of current quest that you are on and tack on a difficulty that is enjoyable and not annoying.

With the addition of dragons came dragon shouts. Shouts are abilities you can acquire throughout  the game by finding words that are carved on walls and scattered throughout Skyrim. To use the words you've found and unlock shouts you have to obtain dragon souls which are gained by killing dragons. It's something that will have you roaming Skyrim for dragons and words so you can unlock abilities like breathing fire. With dozens of shouts to be sought after, it will add to you gameplay hours that will already be breaching the stratosphere.

Combat in Skyrim is much improved. You no longer feel like your slicing through air and when you hit an enemies shield your weapon bounces off and feels pretty real. The detail to you weapons and your spells also look amazing. Each weapon is just as beautiful to look at as the last and when used get blood on them. Being able to duel wield weapons and spells is also a great addition to this game and gives the player a plethora of options when customizing their weapon layout.

The last thing that I find so great about this game is dynamic quest. I stole some items from some persons house and later down the road while on a quest I was attacked. I killed the men and looted them and found a letter from someone who requested me roughed up because I stole from them. This may be something little, but it is something that is very unique because every little decision can affect how you game unfolds and how you experience it. You decide to kill a traveler, that can affect quests and conversations down the road. It makes you think twice about how you play.

Skyrim has one of the most expansive story lines out of any game I've ever played. Not only does the game give information from the main story line and side quest, but most books in Skyrim hold information about past games and offer knowledge about what's happening in the present game. Personally I've only spent 4 hours on the main story line, the other 70 hours have been spent exploring Skyrim and its side quest...if that gives you any idea about how massive this game is. There is so much to learn and experience in Skyrim that it really feels like its own world. It is the first game in a long time that has had me thinking about what I am going to do in the game outside of the game. Even when you are not immersed in the world in the back of your mind you'll be thinking Skyrim.

The only thing I don't like about this game is how finishing kills look. Bethesda made the popular game Fallout 3 and the finishing in Skyrim are exactly like Fallouts. Both games are great on their own, but having this cross of executions between franchise is kind of a turn off. I would have liked to seen a difference since they both look, sound and use the same slow-motion effect.

Final Verdict:

To summarize this game in three words...Buy this game. It is more than worth the $60 with the amount of content that it has and that will be added through downloadable content. This game is a prime example of what a excellent RPG should be and will have you playing for months...literally.


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