My (Secondhand) Review of Skyrim
I have not had the luxury of playing Skyrim, but I don’t believe that little deterrence should prevent me from joining in on the blogosphere’s great Skyrim dialogues. I have not read any of these blog reviews (or indeed, any reviews at all) because I do not wish to let them influence my own unique perspective on the many tweets and Facebook updates I have experienced with the game. I will, however, allow the Internet-standard list system into my review because it is funny.
1. Skyrim doesn’t support the sanctity of marriage.
Bear in mind that my issue is not with the ability for dudes to marry dudes in-game, though I am somewhat curious how the game deals with homosexuality in its high-fantasy Norse setting.
No, this first gripe is based on a single tweet I read at some point. My concern centers around some guy not caring that his bride-to-be was murdered by a roving band of NPCs during the wedding ceremony. The callous, unfeeling man apparently just stood there while his wife was cut to bloody ribbons. Is this the sort of love we want our children to be learning? Had I a child, I would most certainly teach it to value the life of each individual tavern wench, no matter how generically her face may be rendered. The player spoke of murdering the cold-hearted groom on the spot, however, so I must conclude that justice is a force to be reckoned with in Skyrimdia.
2. The game does not respect women.
According to one post on one blog, you can apparently throw the bodies of naked women around. Said woman may have been a nameless peasant or your loyal companion; it makes no difference. The video on this blog showed the player tossing a naked dead woman onto a rock and electrocuting the corpse with some sort of spell (under the feeble guise of attempting a resurrection). This same person also laughed uncontrollably at his female companion for being repeatedly bashed by a spiked gate device. This sort of rampant sexism sickens me. Rest assured, women of the game: when I finally have a chance to play it, I will buy each and every one of you a donkey to ride around on because I am a gentleman.
Also, I guess there’s a mod somewhere that makes all the women naked, forcing them to freeze to death in the harsh Skyrimdia winters. So that’s not cool, either.
3. In-game tradeskills are amazing.
A friend of mine said that he could spend all day doing the blacksmithing tradeskill minigame thing.
4. Strong Biblical allusions.
Judging by the sheer number of videos on the subject, I am forced to conclude that a main storyline mission involves using “code” magic to summon Messianic amounts of cheese wheels while standing on a mountain. Assuming that this miracle is designed to let you feed a multitude while they listen to your character pontificate on how one is to live life, I must tip my hat to Bethesda for having the balls to work a Norse version of the Sermon on the Mount into a game whose market may or may not include many angry atheists. What’s next for this edgy company? Will the first DLC feature a Norse-style crucifixion of the player character?
As a final thought, I want to salute the game developers for creating a near-perfect facsimile of the sovereign nation of Norway. Time and again, I have seen people tweet or post status updates about how the game essentially functions as a simulator of day-to-day life in this Scandinavian country. Although I have never visited Norway, I do have it on fairly good authority that it does have both snow and trees, so it is not a long stretch to say the other game elements are present there as well. This revelation has ignited a burning desire to visit Oslo so I might better appreciate the game’s nuances when I finally get to play it.
In summation, I believe Skyrim is blazing new trails in the sandbox RPG genre. Whether it is through the seamless intertwining of Norse and Christian mythology, the visceral thrill of hitting hot metal with a hammer, or the labor of love that is the recreation of the Norwegian countryside, I can truly say it is one of the best games I’ve never played. Sure, it still clings to a few vestiges of patriarchal thinking (see the part about naked women getting slaughtered at their weddings), but I’m confident that Bethesda will soon release a patch that fixes everything.