The Elder Scroll series has always been one of the best RPG experiences out there and fans have been begging for a new Elders Scrolls. On the 2010 Video Game Awards they have finally unveiled that the 5th one was on the way next year. That's it, no other information about the game. Now gameinformer graced us with a post regarding the changes in combat for Skyrim and it sounds pretty promising.
I've finished both Morrowind and Oblivion and the one part that keeps it similar is the combat. Nearly a four-year gap between the two games, Oblivion combat provides a more similar experience to Morrowind combat if you disregard the graphics and such. As your enemies grow near, you start tapping that left click button until he drops or do the hit and run trick which by the way i use a lot in Oblivion for easy access to good gear. This combat gameplay for me never worked since as i progress it gets repetitive and they were present in both game. What helped reduce the repetitiveness in the combat was Elder Scroll's rich world they created and the many things you can do and explore which is why Elder Scrolls works. But my fear for Skyrim is retaining the same combat with minor changes for realism. They have done this to Oblivion so i feared it may happen to Skyrim.
If the information provided by Gameinformer is true, im fairly impressed with the direction their bringing for Skyrim's combat system. Bethesda will be implementing this new two hand system which allows you to equip anything in any of your two hands. With this, different play styles will be present like dual wielding, two-handed weapons, the common sword and shield. Doesn't sound that interesting yea? well what impressed me was that it will also be for magic. Equiping magic will take one of your arms to be equipped. This concept was inspired by Bioshock 2, having one gun at one hand and a plasmid power on the other.
Bethesda also believes in the repetitiveness their melee combat can bring in past games so their finally going to address it with solution that i hope will work. They have done their research by studying actual melee fights and is implementing the havoc behavior animation system. Like i said earlier, the constant swinging of your sword in front of a foe until it dies has been addressed. This time around that havoc system will be adding staggering effects and camera shakes during combat which requires tactics now to win. You have to pick when to strike or when to block. a mistake can lead you to fall to the ground to be exposed to a heavy attack from your enemy. Your Balance will have a role but how much of a role we will have to see but it's a great improvement because if i know one thing, tactics isn't present in past Elder Scroll Games.
They will also be adding some special kill animations to the game adding a little spice when applying the final blow to an enemy. These kill animations will differ depending on the type of weapon used , the enemy and fight conditions. Hopefully it wont be over the top like a Fallout kill.
Another change is the types of weapons. All the common weapon types will be back but Seriously, what IS the difference with that two hand sword with the same damage stat as to that two hand axe? in oblivion, nothing but Skyrim they will be adding perks to the types of weapons. For example the sword can give you a bigger chance to do a critical damage or the axe provide a bleed effect when used on enemies.to get access to these perks you must train yourself and constantly use that type of weapon. This gives another way to differentiate yourself with your other friends character in exactly what you focus on. This honestly was a feature that should have been implemented a long time ago.
The weapon types concept will also be implemented in magic spells. With fire being the biggest damage dealer, other damage spells will prove more useful depending on the situation you're in. Lightning spells for example will drain the enemies magicka and ice can slow enemies down and drains their stamina. With these now being implemented, learning these spells might prove useful now compared to before. With the two hand system, as you are able to wield one spell on each hand, you have the option to wield one spell on both hands to have better effects for example the fireball spell will hit much harder with two hands but will drain your magicka much faster. These options make the game more interesting and you might see players going full mage instead of the common jack of all trades character having a sword a shield and a powerful spell equipped.
If shooting arrows to poor fellows from afar is your thing, they also have improved in long distance fighting. In Oblivion, being an archer will never work since one, you need 30 arrows for one enemy to drop and two, among the 30 arrows needed to bring down your foe, only 3 arrows has been shot before he has engaged you in melee combat. Now in Skyrim, arrow damage will be hugely increased making you feel like going archer isn't so bad and you can do something to create some distance.
Drawback with the huge increase in arrow damage is it will take longer to shoot. It's fine really, don't want archery in Skyrim to feel like your Legolas all of a sudden. If your still worried about enemies already near you, a bash ability will be an option to keep your distance.For the sake of balance they also mentioned of the limitation of arrows in the game. So pick those shots wisely.
Stealth was improved as well. Stealth will be similar but NPC's will act differently with this alert status their adding. As you get close, they might notice you thinking they heard something. Depending on how good your stealth is will determine if you have time to dug for cover if they feel suspicious. Quite neat. And if you successfully sneak up to someone you can do a sneak damage and the best weapon to use this on sneak attacks are daggers. Finally they gave those things some use in the game. Daggers are essential since using them on a sneak attack will do x10 more damage or so on the enemy. I think they went over saying it would hit x10 the damage but we get the idea, it's gonna kill.
These improvements in combat gameplay sound very interesting and I'm relieved that their taking this direction for combat. The improvements also make other paths such as archery, a full fledge mage or even being a sneaky rogue a viable option to progress in.
Elder Scrolls: Skyrim will be released on Novemeber 11, 2011 on PS3 Xbox 360 and PC.