Tag Archives: Fiction

Game Review: Skyrim

Today I’ve decided to try something new, a game review, hopefully this is something that everyone will enjoy. I try not to go in depth for the story, so nothing major is spoiled.

 

Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls V was released by Bethseda studios back in 2011. It’s one of the most played games with over 20 million sold copies.

 

Overall Story: Skyrim is one of the newer generation of games that allows you to make your own story. This is great as it makes the game open world with no real constraints (except murdering children, I’ve tried almost every single method, I feel bad, but I just really wanted to know whether I could kill them). However, making the game open ended also leads to a couple of issues I’ll touch on later.

 

Graphics: The graphics in Skyrim, while not the most amazing I’ve seen, are well done. They have a reasonably realistic feel to them, which I liked, as it helps to immerse you in the game.

 

Combat: During your first 20ish levels, every fight is a challenge, and it’s can be dangerous and you’ll sometimes just keep dying, however once you hit the point of about level 20, it just becomes a massacre, you are like a god. I’ve taken out Dwarven centurions (a type of nasty monster that is usually the end boss of Dwarven dungeons)with just my fists by this point. However, it is possible to mitigate this with the difficulty setting, but even on the highest difficulty, I was having no real trouble. On top of that, the Dragons you fight in the game are laughable, which is disappointing as they should be the hardest enemy in the game, that’s why they need you, the “Dragonborn” since otherwise Dragons are unbeatable, however the Dragons are such a joke that the city guards can take them down.

 

Powers: Well, a large part of the game is that your the “Dragonborn”, and can shout like a beast (quite literally). But honestly, by level 30 your shouts are pretty much useless.  However, that does not stop making it awesome when you yell at someone and sending the flying off a  cliff, or you shout fire at people.

 

The magic system is unbalanced and the only reason mages are viable is that they can permanently stun lock somebody, and at higher levels can cast any spell without using any Magicka (the games mana).

 

Combat System: I enjoyed melee combat in Skyrim, I’ll admit every now and then it gets a bit repetitive, but that is why I like changing around my builds, one day I’ll go in with two swords and light armour attempting to dodge all shots at me, while others I’ll go in with so much armour that I make tanks jealous and pummel whatever looks at me funny with a huge war hammer.

The archery system in the game was well designed, the arrows functioned like actual arrows, forcing you to adjust for their drop (though wind doesn’t exist thankfully, that is too much realism).  I also liked the integration with the stealth skill tree, as when sneaking, if you shoot someone they take double damage.

 

Quests: The quests were in general enjoyable, and as you had a fast travel system via your map, making even delivery quests less of a chore. While there isn’t a whole lot of variation in quests, I find the unique story lines for the main quests redeem that (except for the main story, that was just painful).

 

Modding: This game really is at its best when you’ve modded it. However, I would still recommend clearing you’re first play through without mods, as it’s a good idea to understand the game before you do. There are a large number of mods, Skyrim is likely to keep you hooked for another 50 hours (and that’s just for exploring all your shiny new houses).

 

Flaws in the game: One of the major problems in the game is just how weird the game can get by the end. By the end, you are Arch-Mage of the Mages Guild, Guild Master of the Thieves Guild, Harbringer of the Companions (while technically speaking not leader, you pretty much are), and Listener of the Dark Brotherhood. I mean seriously, you’ve got more jobs than Barbie. On top of that, you’re the Dragonborn, a werewolf or vampire, and if you’re a vampire, you’re also the Vampire Lord, you’re the richest man in the world, you’ve murdered the emperor. I just find  it odd the game doesn’t even try to adjust for that, really, you should be Lord Emperor of the entire world with how much you run.

 

The game also does not have a good amount of repetitiveness without mods,  I understand you can change your playstyle and start on a different questline etc…, but in the end, you’ll end up doing the same quests, and while in my second play through I was a sword swinging brute, in the end, it just wasn’t as enjoyable as the first play through because it was all predictable.

 

Overall I would say the game is worth your time, it’s a robust game and should keep you entertained for many hours. However, I would recommend not getting the game until there is a sale going on, as the game is not worth  $20 without DLCs, and if you are getting the game, I would highly recommend getting the game with DLCs for the  best experience.

 

 

 

 

Book Review- The Way of Shadows

“Life is empty. Life is worthless. When we take a life, we aren’t taking anything of value.”- Durzo Blint

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks is a work of fantasy that is a rather dark piece of literature, based in the fictional city of Cenaria, a city almost completely dominated by a criminal organization called the “Sakage”. This organization controls all illicit operations in Cenaria, ranging from assassinations to the brothels. This organization also employs or bribes many powerful individuals in the city, including wetboys. Wetboys (pretty lame name) are magic wielding assassins, the most deadly and famous of the current generation of wetboys being Durzo Blint. Wetboys are such skilled killers they do not refer to their victims as targets, but deaders, leading to the prominent quote, “a wet boy has a deader, an assassin has a target, because assassins sometimes miss.”

The central protagonist throughout the book is an orphan named Azoth. Living in the slums of Cenaria, the Warrens, Azoth and his two friends, Jarl and Doll Girl must steal to survive. A bit later into the book Azoth has the opportunity to apprentice under Durzo Blint, the city’s top wetboy. Becoming a wetboy, Azoth must leave behind everything from his past life, and, perhaps most dangerous of all, survive Durzo’s training to become a skilled wetboy.

The magic system within the book is based off of something called the talent, and these talented individuals while also have talents in particular parts of magic. This is best exemplified by the fact of some mages having almost no talent for fire magic, but they might have a great deal of affinity for healing. The talent has three parts, all of which are necessary for a person to use their talent, the Glore Vyrden or life magic, this is basically the magical reservoir. The second component is the ability to recharge your Glore Vyrden, without this you could only use the talent once or twice in your life. A person with this ability generally recharges their Glore Vyrden by absorbing sunlight or from other light sources. The final part is called the conduit, a person with only a small conduit is only able to channel a small part of their talent at once, whereas a person with a large conduit can use large amounts of magic at once.

Overall this is a worthwhile read if you’re interested in reading a darker novel. It’s got magical assassins, so what’s not to love. With good character development, an intriguing story, and quite interesting finish, this book is definitely worth your time.

Side note: This book did not have a kindle edition on Amazon, so while I fully support authors getting paid for their work, this time I’ve included a link to a PDF instead.

The Way of Shadows