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January 15, 2012

NERD ALERT: The Post In Which I Discuss the Horrors of Skyrim

I'm not the world's biggest gamer, but I - like a whole host of folks across the globe - have recently been caught up in the world of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.  Most of my life I've been a sports/wrestling games kind of guy, so when I first heard of Skyrim I wasn't sure there was anything for me in this open-world, dragon-slaying, fantasy epic.  After a few too many hours in the game's world, I realized just how wrong I was.

In fact, I've kind of ignored the main story that I'm supposed to be playing in the game, because I quickly learned that the side quests in the game are pretty much full of horror movie staples.  Let's take a look at just how much horrory goodness is hidden inside this ginormous video game universe.

(I suppose some of the things I'm about to say could be considered SPOILERS, but I'll do my best to keep things vague for the sake of the folks who haven't experienced this addiction....errr, game....yet.)
The Universal Monsters are well represented.
After finding vampires, werewolves, invisibility and mummies throughout the game, I'll pretty shocked if I don't stumble upon a case of grave digging and a mad scientist trying to reanimate tissue any day now.

The first of these you'll probably encounter are the mummies, skeleton-looking fellas that the game calls "Dragur".  You're gonna run into these guys ALL THE TIME during this game.  Any time you walk into a cave or dungeon or whatever in the middle of Skyrim, you're gonna get draugred up.  They come in lots of different shapes - some are Draugr Wights and some are Draugr Overlords and some are Restless Draugrs.  I like to just call them all Ivan Draugr and laugh at them and say "I must break you" before I bash them into pieces with a warhammer.
Vampires are still a bit of a mystery in the game for me.  I've encountered a few, which are basically normal looking people who come out at night and can be killed just like any other creature in the game - so (as far as I can tell) there's no wooden stakes needed.  There's one pretty cool quest that unveils a bit of vampirism that I've been involved with, but it was really short and left me wanting more. Now they just happen upon me at night in the wild sometimes, and I hammer them. Allegedly you can be turned into a vampire in the game, I haven't seen this yet.

I mentioned invisibility up there too, but - so far- there's no real Invisible Man story I've encountered.  There are potions that can make your character invisible, but - like everything else - I mostly prefer smashing things with the last warhammer I found over being sneaky.
But really, the werewolves are where it's at.
I've been a werewolf fan ever since I grew my first fur, so the first time I encountered a werewolf in Skyrim was one of the first moments I started screaming OMG and texting my gamer friends.  It was part of one of the primary side quests in the game, and I thought I'd screwed up completely when the moment began.  Turned out I was stuck in a cutscene - which can sometimes be a bad thing - but this one provided a wolfy reveal that had me fist-pumping and immediately canceling all plans so I could keep playing and see what happens next. (Ah, who am I kidding? I didn't have any plans, I'm a nerd who's blogging about Skyrim.

Eventually my miniature female character who specializes in two-handed weaponry was given a choice.  To be a lycanthrope...or not to be a lycanthrope.  I don't care if I no longer get a benefit from rest....I'm gonna be a freakin' werewolf.  So now my character can turn into a wolfman any time my Magicka's strong enough.  I still haven't figured out a time when I really need to use it - but it's incredibly awesome that it's there.  Plus, considering my character's gender and choice of marriage partner, my game is actually a lesbian werewolf story.  I'm sure that development would make plenty of sleazy Spanish and Italian horror filmmakers - and or equal rights activists - proud.
You want "real world horrors"? They're (kinda) there too.
The quest I've experienced that was probably voted "Most Likely to be Seen on Primetime Network TV" by its graduating class happens in the town of Windhelm, where a killer has been taking out young women during the night.  I kind of expected this to turn in to one of those vampire storylines, but the events that unfolded (including my investigation of the murder house that's pictured above) go in a different route.

TV crime aficionados may enjoy the CSI twists of this storyline, I was more concerned by its dark magic related aspects.  (Oh, BTW, supernatural stuff and dark magic is pretty much all over this game. I don't get too far into it though, because - you guessed it - I just really like smashing stuff.)  I've learned that the story has a few possible endings - and I'm betting I wasn't supposed to let the killer off his final victim in front of me and THEN deal with him - but it's a nice dark detective story in the middle of the otherwise fantasy-laden film.
Speaking of supernatural stuff, I should have already mentioned that there are ghosts all over this game.  So that's nice too.
And if that's not enough, there's this part where Sutter Cane meets The Cell.
Even moreso than the werewolf reveal, a side quest entitled "The Mind of Madness" - which I conveniently found a couple days after a re-watch of John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness - had me picking my jaw up off the floor.

This is one of those points where I can't really go into too many details - because this odd little story line is one of the truly "figure it out as you go" moments I've found in the game (except for those awful puzzle traps that are in so many dungeons) - but this quest is basically going to take you out of the world you've spent the rest of the film in and drop you smack dab in the middle of a nightmare.  We're not quite talking Silent Hill here, as the sequence is pretty tongue in cheek and features a voice actor who hams it up and sounds like a drunk Billy Connolly, but it's a rare devilish little twist.  And you can't get out of it until you figure it out, which gives it the same vibe as the tale of Sutter Cane in Carpenter's film.
In the end, Skyrim is first-and-foremost a game about dragons and you being the foretold Dragonborn who can mess up their return to this Middle Earthy land full of unique folks of many races and creeds (there's an article that could be written about how progressive the folks in Skyrim are, but that's a different story for a different blogger).  But my point is that the horror aspect of the game is a wonderful and unexpected twist that I didn't expect from the game, and its this unpredictable nature and completely diverse game environment that should really sell Skyrim to even the casual game nerd - because there's something inside this one for everyone with a controller.
Like the folks who want to attack a dragon as a werewolf. Like me.


Marvin the Macabre said...

Now I know I have truly found my soul-brother extraordinaire. Not only am I playing Skyrim obsessively, but my character is a lesbian, and the second I figure out how to become a werewolf, I'm all over that.
And you're right about the horror element. I've lost count of how many rooms scattered with bloody body parts that I've stumbled into.
At the moment though, my progress is impeded by the fact that I have to trade off Xbox time with my wife. Oh well. At least we can geek out together.

Hollywood Movies Collections said...

This was a great horror movies collection... i love horror movies. Thanks for the recommendtaion.

R.D. Penning said...

Now if only I could get you to go back and play the first four awesome games! Oh and I have been a vampire before... it makes you insanely strong but as soon as that sunlight comes up you better be sprinting to the nearest building or cave because it drains your health like crazy.

Michele (TheGirlWhoLovesHorror) said...

The guys I work with talk about nothing else but Skyrim! Dragons and stuff isn't really my thing gaming-wise but they are starting to wear me down and make me want at least try it. Plus, if I can be a lesbian werewolf like you, I would pretty much be the happiest person in the world because that is awesome.

The Mike said...

I'm not saying it's awesome, I'm just saying that earlier today my character got put in jail and I turned into a werewolf in the cell and beat the one inept guard to death through the bars, then fed on him, then turned back to a human and stole the key to escape from his body.

So yeah, it's pretty cool. And also, my in-game wife is the werewolf who turned me, so I'm pretty sure I get bonus lesbian werewolf points.

Russ, sad thing is I can't be vampired since I'm a wolf, though after I beat the game I might "cure" myself and try the vamp thing out.

I lied just then, because I already beat the game. But I plan to play it many, many more hours. [/addict]

generic viagra news said...

A lesbian werewolf? it sounds so cool! I prefer a to leave my character single.