A few days ago I got it in my head that I wanted to play Skyrim again. I had this craving for some archery-based mayhem, and this seemed like a good way to quench that particular thirst. I had it in my mind that I was going to try and “get” Skyrim by picking a character archetype and role-play my way through the story as if I was an archer who had no patience for anybody’s bullshit. However the game instantly pushed back on my story with its own.
I thought I remembered how slow the opening of Skyrim was, but boy did I underestimate it. First you’ve gotta escape your questionable death sentence. Then you end up at Whiterun to talk to the Jarl, shortly followed by you getting that stupid golden claw and a tablet or something. Then it’s time to kill a dragon and eat its soul. All culminating in you climbing a godforsaken mountain to talk to these four hermits in hoods so they can teach you to run fast, then make you go find a horn or some shit. This is all made even more unbearable when you’re trying to be an archer, having to fight against the busted shooting system they have in place as well as health regenerating trolls.
Seriously, trying to hit anything more that 20 feet away is basically like playing the lottery. I’ll aim at a bear, put the cursor over its big dumb face and let my arrow fly. What I would expect is either to feed that bear this arrow, or have it fall slightly and hit his big bear feet. But how about the secret third option of, the arrow defies gravity and slowly aims itself up towards the sky. That’s what being an archer in Skyrim is like.
Initially I thought that maybe because I had a low archery skill, the game was doing some cool RPG math to throw things off. So I used the power of console commands to level that skill up and unlock everything on its skill tree. Weirdly enough, nothing changed. Here I was, expert archer with the power to paralyze dudes with a good enough shot, if only I could hit something.
Ultimately I decided that my character was comically near-sighted which is why he was such a terrible shot. Because of his crippling ailment, he would pull out a sword and shield to finish off bad guys who somehow managed to close the distance on me. I became the Mr. Magoo of Skyrim, bumbling my way through dungeons.
It’s shit like this that makes me wonder why the entire internet is so in love with Skyrim. Maybe the story is better than I remember, or maybe people just really like role-playing and Skyrim is a good enough sandbox for them to mess around in. But as someone trying to do just that, I felt like the introduction and lackluster combat mechanics kept me from ever really enjoying my dip back into the Skyrim pool.