Skyrim PC Review: Just A Console Port?
One issue that continues to arise and irks me every time involves horse riding. You cannot fight on horseback — fine, I accept that. But whenever a wolf or a brigand attacks you as you’re trotting along, it takes an eternity to dismount and draw your weapon, during which your foe is getting free hits on you. Further, Skyrim’s horses are hyper-aggressive. They don’t just defend themselves; they chase down any enemy within sight, leaving you to chase after them.
Another weakness that presents itself throughout the game is the dialogue. Beyond being silent, your character has little personality. Dialogue options are dull — too often, you’re only given one choice. Perhaps the objective was to avoid giving the Dragonborn an identity so that any player can put himself in his shoes, but if that’s the case, we’re still robbed of the opportunity to see how NPCs react to different personalities. For instance, one arrogant NPC continuously insulted my intelligence, but I was never offered a dialogue option to respond in kind or be anything other than submissive. I didn’t want to resort to physical violence, so I left the conversation feeling less a hero and more a doormat.
Moving on to the larger issues, when I first loaded into Skyrim, the mouse was sluggish, and horizontal and vertical movement had different sensitivities. It took some editing of .ini files to make the game playable to me — a measure that an average PC user won’t take. I wonder how many gamers may suffer in silence or give up on Skyrim entirely, deeming it unplayable.
But Skyrim’s biggest weakness is its user interface — an interface that works well with a gamepad, but is cumbersome with a mouse and keyboard. You can argue that modders will fix the UI all you want — that doesn’t speak to the merits of this game, but to the talents of the modding community. Yes, you eventually become accustomed to the interface, but a UI shouldn’t be something you “get used to;” it should be immediately intuitive and comfortable. Navigating the character creation menu with a mouse was a nightmare; the sliders had such a spotty response to my mouse clicks that I was tempted to just select a pre-generated appearance.
Bethesda has made great PC UI’s before. They know better. Skyrim’s UI is a travesty.
Couple the consolized interface with the mouse issues, and it feels as though the PC version of Skyrim was an afterthought, which brings me back to my initial statement:
Skyrim is the best console game I’ve ever played on PC.
If you’re a PC user, Skyrim can deliver a poor first impression. However, if you’re willing to get to know it better, you may just find your soul mate. The fact that Skyrim was clearly not designed for the PC may prevent some people from enjoying what is otherwise an excellent game. Ultimately, given the number of hours of entertainment you’ll get out of Skyrim relative to its cost, this game is a steal. But maybe you should wait for a UI mod to come out before buying it.
- Organic character progression system
- Freedom to play however you want
- Wealth of content
- Beautiful, vast world that feels alive
- Immersive music