The second zero hour

On 11/11/11 Bethesda released a game, we know Bethesda is pretty good at what they do, so they knew they had something that the RPG niche market would enjoy. Yet, I wonder if they were even close to realising that they were clueless on just how well they had done their job? You see, I am a passionate RPG fan, so I was on board from day one. Yet, Skyrim was different in many ways. To illustrate that, consider that it’s your 18th birthday and your parents give you a new kind of Maserati, a real one, but this one has one extra option, this car allows you to drive without any speed limits, so not speeding tickets ever. How would you react?

This is what Skyrim achieved. In the first week a little over 7 million copies were sold, which is already a record in RPG land, what no one thought possible happened, Bethesda pushed RPG clear into the mainstream gaming area, they somehow got the magical formula right. So up to now there are well over 23 million copies sold making it one of the few billion dollar plus game revenue.

Now, 5 years later we get another zero hour, the same game is being released on PS4 and XB1, the people are about to go nuts again. Leaving us with the realistic prospect that this game could equal and possibly surpass Grand Theft Auto 5 sales. That would still be a very tall order as they sold 65 million copies, but it is possible and the rage and hype that is out there at present is definitely a decent indication that it could happen.

As I said: ‘they were clueless on how well they had done their job‘, which is perhaps one of the better compliments on the doorstep of Bethesda. Even with Fallout 4 surpassing all records, this one will push their records even further. I have stated again and again, if you aren’t willing to get to the edge you will never make a truly exceptional game. Bethesda went to the edge and stared into the void of the dread father Sithis. They are coming out on top!

So why is this game so amazing?

I believe that open world games are the long term trend of games and the true desire of gamers. In this game you start as being a convict on the way to execution (a wink to the previous Elder Scroll game). After a small introduction that helps you keep your character mobile and alert, you are about to get your head chopped off and that is where the world goes pear shaped on your executioners. From that moment on you have the ‘escape’ part teaching you the elemental things of the game, which takes about 20 minutes, fraught with action and after that, it will be whatever you want to do. Follow the path offered to you or seek your own destiny. That is how most RPG players like their game and this appeal has gone mainstream (meaning the non RPG population at large). A game that offers you value for money. For the same reason that I was ‘offended’ that a $90 game named Tombraider brought with 10 hours of game-play, and for the repetitiveness that some other games bring. The open sided part of Skyrim offers a long term fun that not many games offer. For that $90 on Skyrim I have had well over 1000 hours of gaming fun. That is value for money to say the least and this version will be a one price with complete game and all the DLC additions that the game had offered for Skyrim. So for the new players this will keep you busy until the New Year. For the returning players it is a different story. You see, in my case, it is the same thing, but now with upgraded graphics. In addition, the consoles will now get the option to play mods, which was until now only an option for PC players. It will be a brand new day for RPG players, and that brand new day starts at midnight as the remastered HD edition of Skyrim hits the shelves for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

In that regard, there is one additional bonus for those who went all out earlier this quarter and bought the Xbox One S, will, if they have the right TV enjoy this game in 4K, which is as far as I can tell a first (please correct me if I was wrong), which would be a nice additional feather in the Bethesda cap. Giving an additional edge to the Xbox One market. Even as some ‘gaming experts’ have stated that there is no market for it (too expensive, no games and so on), the fact that the Xbox One S at present has two clear advantages over the PS4 Pro, the setting that Skyrim now offers can (and might) drive Xbox One S sales as it is introducing Skyrim to an even wider audience. That last part is a given as pre orders are of the charts in some places. Yet all this is now pushing for another side of visibility that also needs to be said.

That other side is seen as we look at Forbes, we see that merely 15 hours ago (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2016/10/25/bethesdas-decision-to-withhold-review-copies-is-bad-for-gamers-and-sets-a-dangerous-precedent/) the following was released ‘Bethesda’s Decision To Withhold Review Copies Is Bad For Gamers And Sets A Dangerous Precedent‘, and in that regard, I would initially be completely on his side, apart from the fact that Ubisoft has been doing that since Assassins Creed Unity. Yet when I look at www.youtube.com/watch?v=onFm-7_wTyA as well as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mpQF-01raY we see reviews of that new versions a week ago. Of course we agree that ‘new’ is a relative term for a game originally released on the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 11 (+2000). In addition, the second video also shows that the game has a few additional effects to the Skyrim experience. Yet the issues shown, does not diminish the words we see in Forbes. The article brings good points, yet with Cam Robinson and minion having reviewed this game a week ago, my issue is not with the article, but I am stuck with the question why that reviewer had no ‘advanced copy’. It could be for any reason, but is that a real problem? This game is a new format release, the game itself still has the same missions, quests and places to visit, what is new are the mods. So the review would not have needed that much time in the first place.

skyrim-646x372So, will you get the game on PS4 or XB1?

If you loved the game the first time around, the answer is very likely to be yes, if you are new to this game than it should be yes for several reasons and one additional reason if you are the lucky owner of the Xbox One S. Also, ‘new’ gamers should remember that this game has been played and loved for almost 5 years, which is quite the achievement for any single player game.

The one thing that is a definite, is that it will give rise to one question on a global level: ‘When will Bethesda release the 6th game in the Elder Scrolls series?’

As for me, I will enjoy playing this game again and I will try not to take an arrow to the knee this time around.

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3 Comments

Filed under Gaming, Media

3 responses to “The second zero hour

  1. You’re saying that you’re a passionate RPG fan, yet you praise a terrible game like Skyrim. First off, what RPGs have you been playing? Secondly, none of the Elder Scrolls games are really RPGs. Sure, you have an open world but you can’t change anything nor act as you want. The story is nonexistent, poorly done and absolutely not worth any money nor hype that it’s getting. The “new and improved” release is just a way to milk even more money from players.

    • If we accept the technopedia definition ‘A role-playing game (RPG) is a genre of video game where the gamer controls a fictional character (or characters) that undertakes a quest in an imaginary world’ the list would be: Diablo, Diablo 2, Diablo 3, Fallout (all of them), Oblivion, Skyrim, Mass Effect 1,2 and 3, System Shock 1, 2 , Ultima 3 through to 8, Fable 1,2 and 3 and Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2. In that regard Deus Ex could also apply, but I regard that to be a tactical action game, I also feel a little less accepting of calling the Diablo series an RPG. Skyrim fits the bill of RPG in several ways. For those not willing to pay the high price of gaming PC’s, the console editions for PS4 and XB1 are great. the quality is a lot better and those buying it knew they would be getting the same game. From your words ‘you can’t change anything nor act as you want’ is partially debilitating, because for the most, nearly all RPG’s have that flaw. The Technopedia definition is perhaps the best and most acceptable definition. regarding ‘act as you want’, I believe that statement to be wrong, because you can decide not to do any mission at all. just go seeking treasure in every place you can. The leveling system will continue to grow your character. You will continue to be able to set the two elements of the RPG.
      1. Levels or character statistics that could be improved over the course of the game
      2. A central quest that runs throughout the game as a storyline
      Now it can be debated whether the Dragon quests are the central quest. Those who see the Thieves guild as their only interest could and would disagree. I see the Dragon quest as the central one, but that is the view I have had from the Elder Scrolls (I only played Oblivion and Skyrim from that series).
      So yes, I still believe it to be an amazing game, even though I am replaying the game (now on PS4), it never stopped being a fun game to play and from the view, most gamers regard the Elder Scrolls to be an RPG. For the ‘older player’ there is the premise of Midwinter (from Microprose), it is regarded by most as an RPG, yet the players have no way to level skills upwards, so is it an RPG? The setting for games have moved over the years and the only way to determine some classification, which is depending on what is a valid definition.

      • If that definition would be true, any and every game would be an RPG. Most games do have that premise so I see it as completely wrong. A true RPG is one that includes choices, friendship/romance, a great story, an world to explore, different alignments and people to talk to. Such games includes Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Neverwinter Nights, Baldur’s Gate and Arcanum Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura for example. Also, these games gives you actions to change a lot. Level systems doesn’t make the game an RPG. Nor does a main quest. I can’t see any game that doesn’t have a main quest in any way. I can however agree that things have changed for players. Games today are nowhere near anything resembling RPGs like they used to be. Games today have neither emotion, good story nor interaction/choices.

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