Skyrim came out originally in 2011. (Remember the release date of 11/11/11? Good times.) Then they remastered it. Then they remastered it again. Then they remastered it again. I’m sure you’ve seen the memes where Todd Howard is telling you to buy it a fourth or fifth time. BUY IT AGAIN!, the memes suggest.
Well… I bought it again. For VR this time.
My experience of the game way back in 2011 was pretty much obsessive. Back when Xbox points were a thing, I 1000 pointed it. I achieved every single achievement that was achievable and then I put the game down and said “GRAH NOW I NEVER HAVE TO PLAY IT AGAIN.”
I honestly thought that I wouldn’t. Why would I? I beat the main story and I beat every single side quest important enough to merit an achievement and, on top of that, I got to level 50 and made one of my skills reach 100 and I got married, bought a house, then got arrested and skipped out of jail. I did it *ALL*.
So when I heard that Skyrim VR was coming out, I snorted… but then I got a VR helmet and wandered around in some of the littler VR games.
Holy cow. Skyrim VR is *AMAZING*.
I said a couple of weeks ago that VR, as it exists now, is also 3D. Well, in one of the opening scenes, there is a dragon who decides to interfere in some Imperial Business and there is a scene where you turn your head to the side and see a dragon land on top of a tower and inhale and then roar. You know how I said that the atomic bomb gave me goosebumps in Fallout VR? Dragons roaring give me goosebumps in Skyrim.
As for gameplay itself, I’ve only done a small handful of quests but I have moved from Level 1 to Level 10 and my highest skill (one-handed) is only 30 points but I’m far enough in to say that I’m boggling at the graphics, I’m boggling at the gameplay, I’m boggling at the world building. Again.
Some things of note: Bow and arrow is *AWESOME*. You hold your bow in the one controller and the arrow in the other and you pull back and let go and it feels natural. (I can’t hit the broad side of a barn, though.) Magic is *AWESOME*. You hold out your hand to cast “Sparks” and lightning jumps from your hand. Like, if you’ve ever daydreamed about casting lightning from your hand? This game will let you live that out. Sword and shield is less than awesome. (I usually have a sword in my right hand and a spell in my left… so I can cast sparks in between sword swings). Two handed feels like such an opportunity cost. (I COULD HAVE A SPELL IN THAT HAND!) Inventory management is a bear. You thought it was difficult to get leeks out of a bowl without picking up the bowl when you had an Xbox controller in your hand or a mouse and keyboard? Oh, you’re going to have a rough time with a VR controller. Better to just grab everything and drop the bowl when you’re done.
But I’m running around the countryside and picking the petals off of flowers so I can make potions and unguents and climbing mountains and looking off into vistas and, dang. This rig is amazing. I can’t believe that I ever thought it might be a gimmick.
And it’s not even really left the ground yet. I can’t even imagine what will be happening over the next few years.
So… what are you playing?
(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913))