|It's gonna be big|
After sitting through half an hour of live gameplay during the 2011 E3 event, however, I found it hard not to leave the room wide-eyed and grinning like a fool. This game is going to be something special, and I for one can't wait to get my hands on it.
Given the length of the demonstration, little room was left for an introduction. We were ushered into a small theater, sat in front of a large screen and, within a minute, a Skyrim vista was put on display and the show began.
In Skyrim, you take on the role of Dovahkiin, the only mortal truly feared by the race of dragons which currently terrorize mankind. Our presenter did a little running about, showing off a beautiful mountainside landscape and telling us, since this is an Elder Scrolls game, everything from the deepest valley to the highest peak we could see could actually be reached in-game.
Before long we were in a logging village, alive with activity. A blacksmith started grinding an ax, a few peasants wandered past, a couple kids chased a dog. But sadly no dragons...yet.
Dovahkiin continued his journey on horseback, quickly racing up the mountain where he came across a couple would-be roadside thieves. This is where our presenter took the opportunity to show off a few of the game's changes from Oblivion, including a new skill tree that's built of constellations and a world map that quickly zooms back from where you're standing to actually show the entire world of Skyrim.
The journey continued into the mountains where the player encountered his first dragon. (gorious!) After a short tussle, Dovahkiin retreated into a nearby dungeon, one of 150 promised in the final game. I won't spoil all the surprises, but by the time we emerged on the far side of the dungeon, Dovahkiin had his hands full with not one, but two gigantic dragons. Obviously, the ensuing battle was pretty damn sweet.
Several more of Skyrim's advancements were shown off at this time, including the ability to dual-wield weapons and spells. You can equip a sword and a lightning spell, for instance, or equip the same spell in both hands to create an even more powerful attack.
Along with physical weapons and projectile spells, you also have access to rune magic. From what we saw, these are basically elemental booby traps. Place a fire rune on the ground, for instance, and a passing enemy will be engulfed in flames.
Finally, we were introduced to voice magic. If I understood correctly, voice magic is how dragons are able to "speak" fire. And you better believe Dovahkiin can speak it as well. Other cool voice magics included a knock back command and one that caused a storm to build and attack your enemies with lightning. You know in all those trailers when you hear Dovahkiin shouting something badass in a really loud voice? This is it.
What this all boils down to is more options in how you can play the game. The third-person view looks refined as well, so players who prefer not to play in first-person can go that route instead. If you want to focus on physical weapons, there will be plenty for you to get your hands on. Prefer to rely on magic? It's yours to command. More of a battle mage kind of guy? You can mix and match to your heart's content.
No matter how you look at it, Skyrim is going to be a big, big game that empowers you to experience the world however you want. Now if only November would hurry up and get here.