I don’t normally watch videos of other people playing video games. I’m even less inclined to watch “walkthroughs”.
This, though, isn’t a walkthrough. It’s basically the opposite of a walkthrough: this is somebody (slowly, painstakingly) playing through Skyrim: Special Edition
without using any of the movement controls (WASD/left stick) whatsoever. Wait, what? How is such a thing possible?
That’s what makes the video so compelling. The creator used so many bizarre quirks and exploits to even make this crazy stupid idea work at all. Like (among many, many more):
Dragging a bucket towards yourself to “push” yourself backwards (although not upstairs unless you do some very careful pushing “under” your feet).
Doing an unarmed heavy attack to “stumble” forward a little at a time, avoiding the stamina loss by eating vegetable soup or by cancelling the attack (e.g. by switching
quickselected arrows), which apparently works better if you’re overencumbered.
Mid-stumble, consuming a reagent that paralyses yourself to glitch through thin doors. Exploit a bug in dropping gear for your companion near an area-change doorway to get all of
the reagent you’ll ever need.
Rush-grinding your way to the Whirlwind Sprint shout and Vampire Lord “Bats” ability so you’ve got a way to move forward quickly, then pairing them with paralysis to catapult
yourself across the map.
When things get desperate, exploiting the fact that you can glitch-teleport yourself places by commanding your companion to go somewhere, quicksaving before they get there, then
quickloading to appear there yourself.
This video’s just beautiful: the cumulation of what must be hundreds or thousands of person-hours of probing the “edges” of Skyrim‘s engine to discover all of the potentially
exploitable bugs that make it possible.
As I previously indicated, I’ve recently found myself with a little free videogaming time, and I thought I’d share some of the things that have occupied my
time, over the course of two blog posts:
Well; here’s the big one. This game eats time for breakfast. It’s like World Of Warcraft for people who don’t have friends. No, wait…
Seriously, though, Bethesda have really kicked arse with this one. I only played a little of the earlier games in the series, because they didn’t “click” with me (although I thoroughly
enjoyed the entire Fallout series), but Skyrim goes a whole extra mile. The game world feels truly epic and “living”: you don’t have to squint more than a little to get the illusion
that the whole world would carry on without you, with people eating and sleeping and going to work and gossiping about all the dragon attacks. The plot is solid, the engine is
beautiful, and there’s so much content that it’s simply impossible to feel that you’re taking it all in at once.
It’s not perfect. It’s been designed with console controls in mind, and it shows (the user interface for skills upgrades is clunky as hell, even when I tried it on my XBox
controller). The AI still does some damn stupid things (not standing-and-talking-to-walls stupid, but still bad enough that your so-called “friends” will get in your way, fire
area-effect weapons at enemies you’re meleeing with, and so on). Dragons are glitchy (the first time I beat an Elder Dragon it was mostly only because it landed in a river and got its
head stuck underwater, like it was seeing how long it could hold it’s breath while I gradually sliced its tail into salami).
But it’s still a huge and beautiful game that’s paid for itself in the 55+ hours of entertainment it’s provided so far. Recommended.
Update: between first drafting and actually publishing this list, I’ve finished the main questline of Skyrim, which was fun. 85 hours and counting.
Modern Warfare 3
I should confess, first, that I’m a Call Of Duty fanboy. Not one of the these modern CoD fanboys, who rack up kills in multiplayer matchups orchestrated by ability-ranking
machines in server farms, shouting “noob” as they teabag one another’s corpses. I mean I’m a purist CoD fanboy. When I got my copy of the first Call Of Duty game,
broadband was just beginning to take off, and games with both single-player and multiplayer aspects still had to sell themselves on the strength of the single-player aspects, because
most of their users would only ever play it that way.
And the Call of Duty series has always had something that’s been rare in action-heavy first-person shooters: a plot. A good plot. A plot that you can actually get behind and care about.
Okay, so we all know how the World War II ones end (spoiler: the allies win), and if you’ve seen Enemy At The Gates then you also know how every single Russian mission goes, too, but they’ve still got a fun story and they work hard to get
you emotionally-invested. The first time I finished Call of Duty 2, I cried. And then I started over and shot another thousand Nazis, like I was some form of human tank.
Modern Warfare was fantastic, bringing the franchise (complete with Captain Price) right into the era of nuclear threats and international terrorism. Modern Warfare 2 built on this and
took it even further, somehow having a final boss fight that surpassed even the excellence of its predecessor (“boss fights” being notoriously difficult to do well in first-person
shooters inspired by the real world). Modern Warfare 3… well…
It was okay. As a fanboy, I loved the fact that they finally closed the story arc started by the two previous MW games (and did so in a beautiful way: I maintain that Yuri is my
favourite character, simply because of the way his story is woven into the arc). The chemical weapon attacks weren’t quite so impressive as the nuclear bomb in MW2, and the
final fight wasn’t quite as good as the previous ones, but they’re all “good enough”. The big disappointment was the length of the campaign. The game finished downloading
and unlocked at 11pm, and by 4am I was tucked up in bed, having finished it in a single sitting. “Was that it?” I asked.
Recommendation: play it if you’re a fan and want to see how the story ends, or else wait until it’s on sale and play it then.
Part Two will come when I find time, along with some games that you’re less-likely to have come across already.