?Scuse me, while I kiss the Skyrim.
Cherries, kittens, old American muscle cars, your mum, sneezing, those egg chairs that were big in the 60s until everyone started getting slipped discs, Oblivion: there are certain things in life which are so beautiful that even their faults become things you love them for. Cherry stones might crack your teeth, but if you know they?re there, you can spit them out with a satisfying 'ptooie'; kittens are adorable, but will occasionally track their own shit over your laptop keys. In Oblivion I would occasionally get stuck in a rock, be accosted by flying horses or be attacked by a box of yellow light which, despite all evidence to the contrary, purported itself to be a Daederoth.
With the fourth in the Elder Scrolls
series from Bethesda now reaching its five year anniversary, Oblivion
- like your mum - still got game. But it's starting to look... let?s say... past its best. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
, on the other hand, looks so pretty in the promotional shots that you could eat chocolate sauce out of its pants without gagging. Dragons perch precariously on gabled, ornate, many-spired monasteries, flesh dangles obscenely from Dreugh arms and frosted snow glitters on rocky mountains.
On waking in the game world ?Skyrim?, home of the Nords, as in Oblivion
you are a prisoner, this time being transported by cart along a mountain path with a bunch of grumpy lumberjack-looking types who give you the exposition as you travel. Seasoned Scroller that I am, this nearly drove me mad. I don?t care about the political situation, I want to stove some heads in by dual-wielding maces! In case you do want to know, Skyrim
is set 200 years after the events of Elder Scrolls IV
and the empire is crumbling. Particularly in Skyrim, which is being torn apart by assassinations, civil war, rebellion, clan in-fighting and general Nordic whinging. Vikings like to fight. Here endeth the history lesson.
After this extended scripted sequence and before the tutorial begins properly, you design your custom character?s appearance. Traditional races have changed a lot in appearance, all of them looking rougher, tougher and meaner than their cartoonish predecessors. War paint, scars and blinded eyes set the tone for the game - when one of your character design options is 'what colour dirt do you want to be covered in?'... well, it?s not going to be Narnia is it?
Emo and Scene kids take note: in order to avoid a drubbing in the tavern, a pre-set selection of natural hair colours mean no more pink, aquamarine or apple-green hair. I imagine the burly, ne?er-do-well Bretons (who all seem to be built like Vin Diesel) have little truck with ?artistic? souls unless that art takes the form of mashing Druegh faces into a bloody mess.