The Logic and Illogic of Skyrim
Until Skyrim, I had never played an Elder Scrolls game. Apparently I have been missing out on one of the most epic fantasy RPGs franchises available. I really did not enjoy my time with Fallout 3, so I had written off Skyrim initially. Then I started hearing stories. Early responses to the game barely scratched the surface of its actual mechanics and instead dished out amazing tales of encountering demigods in hidden corners of the world, or changing upon dwarven ruins while navigating the jagged rocks of looming mountain. Listening to people talk about Skyrim can feel like listening to people sharing legends. The logic of Skyrim can turn play into a mythological experience.
Allow me to describe the moment I was hooked into the world: It was my first time leaving the village of Whiteru. I had explored a nearby ruin before and explore the surrounding area superficially, but I had never strayed far from the safety of the town. In the dark of knight, I chanced upon an area full of steam vents and hot springs. I was elated and went splashing about the pools. When I looked up, I caught a glimpse of dark wings blotting out the stars and diving behind a tree. I felt as though I was being hunted, and a chill went up my spine.
I thought I knew what an open world could be. I was so, so wrong. Skyrim is so consistent and realized that it is hard to stay away. I find myself avoiding the main quest lines just to explore the world more and discover more hidden treasures. Sometimes I play specifically to undertake certain quests. Other times I just wander from town to town, hoping to encounter some strange mystery along the way.
Of course the game's many absurdities stand out, partially because everything else is so clean. Yes, I can put a bucket on someone's head and then rob their home without them noticing, and yes, sometimes dragon skeletons move of their own accord, rolling over themselves like an energetic puppy. I do my best to look away, to keep that fourth wall solid and impenetrable. Ignoring the game's most obvious blunders is not easy, but it is very much worth it. When I am truly lost in Skyrim, when I am fully immersed, it will take more than an glitchy dragon or a wandering head of cabbage to shake me out.