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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why Skyrim is not Game Of The Year Worthy ( and Bethesda certainly not studio of the year )

The recent marketing spun Spike awards granted the latest version of Skyrim both Game of the Year and Bethesda studio of the year.

I wish I could feel differently, but these accolades are really a sad reflection on the industry leaning towards the figure of sales on a certain product rather than actual quality.  In my initial play of Skyrim, I thought it a high watermark of the RPG genre ... and well it should have been, except for the thousandfold number of bugs which have been found within the game since people have played the game for the hours for which it was designed.

Many professional review sites have boasted playing the game for 50 hours or more.  50 hours on the design of Skyrim is nothing.  Most users play the game for over 100 hours, if not 200 hours before what they consider completion.  Skyrim should not be granted lenience because the designed hours of play is far greater than the industry average ... this should be rewarded greatly but only if Bethesda can offer it without the sacrifice of quality.

Honestly, I don't think they can.  And after their marketing brigade about how Skyrim is based on a completely new engine - which is clearly a false assumption ... I don't know how any gamer can trust Bethesda again as a game studio.

I'm not going to replicate the many videos out there showing the horrendous performance on the PlayStation 3.  I haven't seen this kind of performance, but what I have seen are these insane quest breaking bugs, like the inability to break through spider webs with a two-handed sword:

Spider webs, Bethesda?  Seriously?  I didn't hack this quest in any way ... in fact I can run through it twice and get  completely different results on spiderwebs  which can result in me being able to finish the quest or not.

Someone at Bethesda please explain how this is possibly the result of modern quality assurance.  How is this anything remotely in the realm of acceptable loss?

Update: My video on the map being confusing to use was pointed out to be more of a usability nightmare than really a technical issue with the game.  OK, I'll grant that.  I'll also grant that it was probably a factor of being annoyed at running into both the Blood on the Ice quest breaker and the quest breaker above.

Fine.  It isn't like you have to throw a stone very far to find other examples of quest breakers.

Like this one:

Or this (glitch doesn't happen again for this guy until towards the end of the vid):

Or this (seen this one documented a few times):

Or this one where you can get out of the Mind of Madness quest, and find yourself unable to do anything:

And so on, and so forth, etc. and yada yada.

I may have enjoyed Skyrim, but that really does not excuse the media's ability to completely ignore Bethesda's inability to properly test their software title after title.