Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review of Skyrim Re-mastered Edition

Skyrim: Re-mastered Edition Playstation 4

By: Edward Alex Lively

Hello and thanks for taking the time out to read my review, which is my very first by the way.  Obviously you are reading it, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this introduction.  You obviously can tell by the title what this review will be about as well.  It's only about the greatest rpg (role playing game) in the world ever created!  At least in my opinion.  

In this review I will be discussing Skyrim: Re-mastered and how it has not only held up after all this time, but also how it performs on such an advanced system as Sony’s Playstation 4 game console.  I'll also be giving my own personal overall rating on the game.

The areas I'll be specifically focusing on are as follows:

Gameplay Bugs

With that being said here we go!



I first bought the re-mastered edition for my playstation on March 11, 2017, but only after watching a handful of videos through the playstation's live broadcast feature.  What helped to cement my decision was also during the live broadcasts I asked people how it performed.  Most gave me the same answer. That it seemed to be running fine.  Most of the players also readily admitted they hadn't gotten too far along to know if there were any problems yet or not either.  To me at first glance watching other players play the game, the graphics looked pretty much the same as I had remembered them from way back when.  Then of course my eyes really aren’t that good to begin with anyhow so the change wasn’t apparent right away.  You also have to stop and consider that while one person with bad eyesight (even wearing glasses) might not notice too much by watching someone else’s gameplay video, they might notice the difference when ACTUALLY playing the game themselves.  That was the case with me when I finally bought the game.  

For the record Skyrim: Re-mastered Edition for the Playstation 4 retails at the moment for around $59.99 and that is in U.S. funds.  Now you have to consider that is also the price in a digital format as well not physical.  You can find Skyrim for the PS4 at the moment at Gamestop for $29.99, Target for $39.99, and at Wal-Mart for $35.95 retail.  These of course are all the prices for new copies, although Gamestop traditionally does sell previously owned games so you may have a chance to pick Skyrim up there for a bargain.

Upfront I'll admit I'm not a software designer, programmer, or anything fancy like that so I really don't know how complicated it can be when overhauling a game to work on the latest tech.  The first thing I noticed however when starting the game was that it seemed they made some slight improvements to the facial graphics.  Other improvements I noticed was the water effects looked improved. There was something else I happened to notice about the graphics.  And this may just be me nitpicking.  Certain other environmental factors such as the trees, the land, definitely looked more pixelated than I remember.  Again in that respect it could be down to just my memory.  I don’t have my old copy of Skyrim or my PS3 as they were stolen years ago.  So I can't compare live screenshots.

You then have certain little graphical things such as the other day when I was riding my horse on a hill.  The graphics  of the hillside started blending together so bad I fell through the earth until the horse fell and died.  However that may also fall into the bug category.  Little things such as that have happened, but I'll get more into that as I move on.  For the most part the developers did a fine job of bringing this game to the next-gen systems.  With the exception of the graphical glitch I mentioned here, I’d give the graphics for Skyrim: Re-mastered a solid eight stars.  When you get to the bug section you'll see why I gave it an eight rather a ten.



Regarding overall performance of the game I'd say with how fast the PS4 loads games I am more than impressed.  Then again due to the fact I buy all of my games digitally now through the Playstation's online store that may be a determining factor.  I'm not totally sure.  So far I've only experienced four random crashes with the game.  When that occurred I instantly loaded the game right back up and never really experienced another problem.  Now onto what I'd like to consider the REAL meat of this review.  The gameplay bugs.


Gameplay Bugs

Now typically when we speak of gameplay bugs some might consider a gameplay bug that can mean anything from your character suddenly stalling out and refusing to move or something more serious.  Something such as an npc (non-player character) not showing up at the appropriate time.  Usually that can be attributed to something in the software code glitching up, or at least that's my best guess.  Regardless, there is something causing the program to glitch up and not function correctly for whatever reason.

In the case of Skyrim the gameplay bugs I will discuss have been around since at least the release of the dlc (downloadable content) packs.  Flame me if you must.  I don't care.  These are gameplay bugs that have existed since I last played the game on my steam account back in 2013.  One would’ve thought that in light of Bethesda releasing the game to next generation consoles they would’ve seen to it these gameplay bugs were corrected once and for all.


Audio Bug

When my character briefly submerged underwater while on a quest in Felkeep dungeon then walked back onto land the audio glitched.  It sounded like I was still under water.  It wasn't an isolated incident either.  It continues to happen at random times after the character swims underwater then walks back onto land.

Lakeview Manor

This is a house you can build once becoming what is called Thane of Falkreath. It's a special title after doing favors for the local lord.  You are then granted a parcel of land.  Once the house is fully built and should you choose to build the kitchen, there seems to be a persistent graphical glitch.  Anytime you step into the kitchen area and swivel the character in a particular direction, everything minus the doors and the walls simply vanish before reappearing.  It doesn't always happen but it is enough so that if you are trying to access one of the cupboards it’s quite trying.

Weapon Rack Issues

Lakeview Manor can have weapon racks constructed along certain walls should you so choose.  Heaven help you if you try to ACTUALLY place weapons upon the weapon racks.  For the racks in the bedroom on the first floor and the rack located just behind the dining area will not take them.  The racks will send the weapons  flying in another direction as if possessed by some ancient evil entity.  The spirit in the bedroom will occasionally be kind and simply hold the sword or whatnot up against the wall rather than allow you to place it upon the rack where it belongs.

Dress Mannequin Issues

The mannequin in the basement will be damned before it will allow you to place a helmet upon it’s head.  It desires to see what is going on all times!

Garden Issues

Apparently only certain ingredients can be grown there, even the ones that it will let you plant.  In particular the plant Creep Cluster refuses to grow no matter WHAT you do.  It's clear the garden WILL NOT have anything to do with a plant having a first name of Creep!

Follower Assistance Issue

I don’t know about the other followers yet, but that Lydia is a stubborn ox. Very rarely will she go up or down stairs when she accompanies you on quests.  While on that topic it's also worth mentioning that several times when entering the Dwarven ruins Lydia simply vanished!  I had to completely exit the ruins only to find her standing outside.  I had to dismiss her quickly then re-obtain her before she walked off.  Once I did that only then was she able to follow me inside.  Sometimes when she vanished I had to return to the Lakeview house to fetch her then return to the ruins.

Follower Item Limit Issue

This is a good one.  This is an issue I never encountered before until the game was released for next-gen.  I crafted a set of Dwarven armor for Lydia and gave it to her.  Later I improved upon it.  When I attempted to give her the shield back the game told me it was too heavy.  After a short Google Search, yes I confirmed it was a bug.  I found a work around by dropping the item on the ground then having Lydia pick the item up.  I also found that as a result of this gameplay bug Lydia is not able to hold anything else.  For the time being I don't even bother with the followers.  It's too much of a hassle.  

Farm animals die & unable to be replaced

Apparently once the chickens die that’s it! They’re gone for good!  No option appears in Lydia’s menu to replace them due to excessive giant, bandit, and/or wolf attacks.  When the cow died I was able to replace that.  So maybe this doesn’t count as a bug.  Take it for what you will.

Questing Bugs

Certain quests seem to be permanently bugged to the point where the quest will not complete once you finish the objectives.  One in particular is a quest where you go in search of a hunting party.  The quest is called, “Locate Valdr’s Hunting Party.”  Once you complete or attempt to complete the objectives for the quest, the floating arrow above his head permanently remains.  The quest is also not removed from your active quest log to your completed quest log.  That's just one example.



In case you might be wondering, well the answer is no.  I don't use mods even though this edition does support their use, but at your own peril.  I play the game as it was meant to be played.  To that end I feel that for the price of $59.99 which is the typical standard price of a BRAND NEW game, I more or less expected Bethesda to clean up these errors in the game.  I suppose in the end my expectations were perhaps just a little too high.   In my opinion I feel that since we as fans of The Elder Scrolls have paid full price for an older game, I don’t think it’s too much one bit to ask these old glitches to finally be resolved.  Am I asking too much?  Considering it’s our money they are getting, then I certainly don’t think so.  Not really.

I'm sure you'll have the naysayers that will say, “Well you have to consider how old the game is.” Then there will probably be statements most likely to the point of, “If you have that much of a problem with all the bugs then don’t play it.”  There’s just one problem little with that.  I already spent the money and now I'm stuck with it!!!  

When I buy a product I expect it to work without any problems or at least very little difficulty.  I'm sure most of you are the same way.  The gameplay bugs are not simple issues that can be just waved off dismissively.  They are game breaking and they NEED to be fixed.  Would you expect a company like Activision-Blizzard to sit back on their laurels and let a large title of theirs continue to glitch?  Hell no!!! They’d respond to customer feedback and act accordingly by releasing a patch to address as many issues possible.  And they would continue to do so until all problems were finally resolved.

In my opinion I believe Bethesda should step up and address these issues.  They owe it to their paying customers.  The same customers keeping their lights on.  Well I hope you enjoyed reading my review and what I thought of Skyrim: Re-mastered Edition. Because of the issues mentioned, I give the game an overall rating of 8.5.  The biggest game breaker for me honestly was the broken quest system.  I can look past the occasional glitch with the graphics.  The broken and overly glitched quests that is integral to the game, I cannot look past.  Bethesda released an older game to new consoles knowing it was still broken.  Shame on them!

At the time of this review I have a level 38 male Nord barbarian.  I am just now starting to dip into the Thieves Guild questline as I like to take my time to enjoy it.  I recommend you do the same.  If you should encounter the glitches or problems I have, then take the same course I did and report it through their website or post on their official forums.  I'm sure you'll get the same response I did as well.  The standard scripted response from one of their reps about how they promise to pass my concerns on to their team.

As for a posting I made on their technical forum seeking answers it went with no reply last time I checked about two weeks ago.  At the bottom of this posting, I'll post relevant links regarding this game.  I hope you enjoyed this review.  If you have any questions or comments feel free to email at Kronoso1979@gmail.com or add me on twitter @kronoso1979.

Happy Gaming!

Edward Alex Lively