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Skyrim on the PC – round-up

The PC videogame Skyrim is out today. I guess others will be looking at it, so here’s my summary of an hour looking through the best of the various bits of intelligent Skyrim coverage.

* Archer / thief play is said to be a really sound way to play. Heavy armour is not very good — lots of complaints about aimless hacking. No change there, then. Luckily archery/stealth is my thing.

* But magic has also been beefed up, visually. This is probably what people mean when they say “the DX9 gets pushed”, but not pushed that much, judging by the real-world screenshots I’ve seen.

* An in-depth tech review said the graphics look two years out of date, and looking at their real-world screenshots take on high-end test rigs I’m included to agree. The pine trees look quite crappy at the branch level (Bethesda ditched SpeedTree to have their new engine handle the trees), and ground cover is often just textures. Those are the first things I’m going to mod, along with the character hair which is still horribly polygonal.

* No-one has mentioned the skies or weather yet, so I assume they’re unremarkable or just not very lively. Which is perhaps a pity when you remember what Morrowind was like in that respect.

* The latest Nvidia drivers are a special Skyrim optimised version beta release, out today.

* Some of the PC ground textures and rock-ground edges look hideous, and some shadows in certain environments are really rough — but that’ll all set be fixed by the army of modders, within a month.

* The respected PC Gamer magazine’s review thinks the game was pushed out the early, in a glitchy state. Well, that’s nothing new. We just have to wait for the official patches, as always.

* There is still no DLC for the PC for another month, due to the deal Bethesda cut with Microsoft.

* But I’m hearing good things about the story, the quality of the guild quests, and the sheer amount of things to do and the differentiated spaces to do them in.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is obviously a great game — but it’s not one to spoil by playing right now. Wait a month for the mods, the texture replacement packs, the official DLC packs for the PC, for today’s Nvidia drivers to get out of beta, and that all-important third or fourth official patch. Then we can play it in all its glory.

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