PAX ’11: The Worst Part About Skyrim Was Only Getting an Hour to Play

One of the games I was most excited to play at PAX was Skyrim, and it’s easily the one I was the happiest to have an appointment to see. The lines were ludicrously long, and I was being told by friends that those who DID stand in line got to play for roughly 20 minutes. I can’t imagine how much of a tease that must have been for them, because at the end of my hour long appointment in the press room I was left wanting. Believe me when I say that this is a VERY good thing.

The beginning of my demo gave me full access to the character creator, and I had to try very hard to convince myself to leave everything more or less default since I had no time to waste. I still took the time to give my guy some sweet scars though. My instructions were to just dive right in, and with very little time wasted that’s precisely what I did. 

PAX '11: The Worst Part About Skyrim Was Only Getting an Hour to Play

As I started the demo I was informed that I had skipped about 30 minutes of the beginning of the game which they were withholding for what I’m sure are spoiler purposes, as well as to ensure you get right into the thick of things. Dumped in the middle of the woods I quickly equipped a sword and shield and headed out into the wilderness. It wasn’t long before I was able to earn the name I decided to give my character in the game when the SDCC Trailer was released: Wolfkicker.

I took a quick look at the map and decided to head towards a distant town to see what was going on over there and set my course. It wasn’t long though before I was already sidetracked with a group of people asking me to help them which I turned down, and a mine which I decided definitely needed exploring. After buying what I needed from the kind merchant at the entrance I promptly ran her through with my sword and stole the rest of her goods. Why? Because I could.

PAX '11: The Worst Part About Skyrim Was Only Getting an Hour to Play

I had three goals during this demo: find a dragon, find a giant, and kill everything. So in my journey to do the first two, the third option became easier the further along I went. It wasn’t long before I started getting the hang of quick-equipping different spells and weapons, and soon I was sniping with my bow then quickly switching to fire and a dagger to finish off anybody foolish enough to get near me. After I left the mine deciding my chances of finding a dragon down there were slim to none, I eventually came across a windmill where I achieved my second goal, for in the distance a group of warriors were fighting a giant.

Giddy with excitement I immediately jumped into the fray and threw everything I had at the behemoth. I have to admit that even though I was a very low level, even with the NPC fighters helping me it took a lot to bring this towering warrior down. But seeing him topple to the ground was definitely worth it. The fighters thanked me and offered me a side-quest to join their ranks but my time was limited, so to the sword they went.

PAX '11: The Worst Part About Skyrim Was Only Getting an Hour to Play

The few people left in town who hadn’t fled or died seemed to not notice what I had done outside, as I was able to purchase a horse from a man at the stable. I didn’t have enough money though, so I decided to jump on a cart nearby offering to take me to a destination of my choosing. I randomly chose a name from the list, and after a short loading screen found myself in a snowy town which turned out to be quite far away from where I initially was. I wandered around, and started seeing very strange things.

As the towns people ran around screaming, I saw a group of guards enter a building as if in combat. Figuring I’d follow the action, I followed them inside to find them circling…nothing. I think I may have missed something, as I then became tasked with clearing the town of all the creatures, but as I wandered around I didn’t see anything that needed killing. I shortly gave up on this meager village and wandered out into the icy wastes surrounding it.

It was here I met my doom, and my time with the demo would come to a close. No, I never succeeded in finding a dragon but I completed my second goal many more times over than I intended to. Off in the distance was a group of about six giants and at least one mammoth that I could see among their number.

They didn’t seem to want to harm me, so out of curiosity I approached them trying to see if it was possible to talk to them. Take note: do not try to talk to giants. They don’t “do” diplomacy. After a brief grunt, the leader drew his club which itself was much larger than my character. I tried to run away but it was far too late for that. A few quick swings as his friends joined in, and it wasn’t long before I was sent hurtling down the cliffs in a bloody heap.

It was at this point I was informed my time was up, as the next appointment had arrived. I put the controller down, and walked away with a smile on my face. I may not have found a dragon, but I did find one thing out: Skyrim is everything I wanted and more.

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