Pretty much everybody’s heard of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the legendary sequel of the prestigious Oblivion. Those who aren’t gamers have probably heard of it through a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. It’s a pretty popular game. Yet even so, my first concern when I purchased Skyrim was the potential glitches. In all seriousness, Bethesda’s notorious for releasing games with a fine array of rather powerful bugs in them, and when I heard that they were making Skyrim much larger than Oblivion, I assumed that the number of bugs would scale up as well. I was correct.
I purchased Skyrim for the PC, and within the first ten minutes of gameplay, I encountered two major, obnoxious problems. First of all, the vertical sensitivity of the camera appears to be linked to FPS, meaning that being in an area that requires a lot of memory means my character was barely able to look up or down. Secondly, there appeared to be some sort of problem with loading a quest-essential character that led to a crash-to-desktop. I was rather disappointed, but I pushed on, knowing that the content would likely make up for the inconvenience.
Further into the game, I noticed that several of the miscellaneous quests in my journal were having tracking/finishing errors. For example, a quest that required me to kill a giant at Red Road Pass would not allow me to track the target giant, or even track the quest itself. Even when I opened up the console and manually attempted to advance the quest, I could not progress, and it is still stuck in my journal after. A second example of an irritating quest bug is with Jarl Skald, who gives you your quest reward after speaking with him, yet the quest itself remains in your journal. Several other incidents have popped up where tracking quests with mobile NPCs did not create any map marker, making them nearly impossible to find if not for the console command “player.moveto.” The smallest glitch is capable of forcing the player to exit the game through the task manager, such as when the naming portion of the enchanting table will not allow you to deselect the name, thus preventing you from exiting the window and continuing to play.
To make matters worse, I’ve been reading that Bethesda has released a patch that has claimed to fix several of these problems, yet in exchange raises the rate of desktop crashes overall. It was the same with Oblivion, after all. Fix one thing, break several others, and in Skyrim the cycle continues. It feels as if Bethesda is content to release glitchy games, then rely primarily on the fanbase to repair their sloppy programming for them. Enjoying Skyrim is like trying to take a relaxing walk with a pair of splinters in your heel. If you pull one out, two take its place.
I respect the hard work put into the game, the myriad quests, weapons, abilities, the improvements made across the board to aesthetics and combat mechanics, the toning down of magic’s ability to surrogate every role in the game, yet all the same. If Bethesda does not care enough to fix the prominent errors that still plague the game, the positive factors might just be overwhelmed by game crashes and quests that cannot be completed.