It’s incredibly rare that I’ll play a game until the 50 hour mark and have my criticism’s relevance suppressed by my overall satisfaction, or in the case of Skyrim, be so enthralled in the self-imposed adventure that criticism never seems to appear on the surface of my conscious thought. I’d never regarded Skyrim so highly until very recently revisiting it. With modern day singleplayer AAA titles the feeling of freshness and innovation you feel at first play quickly subsides into a mulch, a mess of uninspired and over repeated mechanics. I haven’t experienced yet that sadly familiar disillusionment with Skyrim.
I suppose it must be because Skyrim feels less like a videogame and more of an immersive experience. I get this inkling with games like Arkham Knight that much of the game’s narrative and overarching structure is built around fresh new game mechanics. With Skyrim it feels like the opposite, the aura and lore are intrinsic in how the game mechanics and levelling systems work, and it feels like a much cleaner and more harmonious experience.
Skyrim doesn’t feel rushed, desperate or in any way corporately handled compared to more recent games of its AAA calibre. It feels like the culmination of a thousand bright sparks at Bethesda, their ideas and fantasies seamlessly transported from imagination to digital realms. Every possible improvement has already been improved upon, any notion thought of, any perfection already perfected. It’s a newly discovered bench mark in imagination and execution, I feel. And it gives me hope for the future of Bethesda.