No, I didn’t find any Werewolves.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’d like to tell you a story.  A story of might and magic, choice and consequence, romance, adventure, camaraderie and intrigue.  If I could think of any other awesome nouns I’d throw them in there as well, but alas – on with the show.

If you haven’t already, please read my last hands-on preview of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim which details the very first encounter with Vampires and much more.

But where to begin?  How about in the real world.

As I walked into a posh hotel suite in midtown Manhattan I was greeted by what has become a common sight for me.  Roughly eight Xbox 360 developer consoles hooked up to 27ish inch flatscreen TV’s all running the latest press build of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.  As usual, there wasn’t a PC in sight.  I had expected as much, yet I was still slightly disappointed.  But I digress…

I grabbed what I recall was a turkey and brie sandwich and a bottle of sparkling water (they feed us well) and sat down in the corner of the suite in front of one of consoles.  As I gazed upon a familiar screen that said little more than ‘Skyrim’, I noticed most of the other writers who were scheduled in my time slot had yet to arrive, so I figured I had at least a small head start.  Huzzah.

Where to Even Begin...

Once again, I wasted no time in the character creator (unless you count the 10 minutes I spent tryng to make an albino Argonian at a reader’s request) and quickly selected my usual traits.  Bosmer… tattoos… mohawk… good enough… let’s go!

Now having had hands on time with Skyrim before, and having already seen Riverwood and the surrounding areas before, I knew that this time around I had to go where no member of the press had gone before.  I had a laundry list of questions from readers, but how could I possibly answer them all in just three hours?!  Should I head to the Bards College in the far Northwest?  To the College of Winterhold in the far Northeast?  All the way down to Riften, which was clearly named after RipTen?  I knew one thing was sure, I was not going to dick around in Riverwood or go on that bloody Golden Claw quest!  Oh no, this playthrough was going to be different!

However, there was a problem.  I was level one and I had nearly no gear.  How on earth would I survive anywhere in the vast lands of Skyrim if I ventured off alone into the wilderness?  I wouldn’t, I’d surely be killed!  So, with the most epic fucking sigh you’ve ever heard, I begrudgingly trudged toward Riverwood.  I assure you, I cursed the divines the entire way.

I Don't Even Own The Game and I've Already Seen This Over 9000 Times...

As I arrived in Riverwood, I knew I needed to get myself leveled and geared up fast if I was to have enough time to explore beyond what had already been seen and done by my brothers and sisters in the gaming press.  I quickly came upon a Nord named Sven and his mother, arguing about dragons as they always seem to do.  Except instead of passing them by, this time I decided to talk to Sven, to see what he was all about.  Maybe he had a quest for me?

After going through some dialogue options about how crazy his mother surely was, it turned out he did indeed have a quest for me.  You see, Sven had been dating Camilla, whose brother Lucan owns the general store in town.  However, Sven knows Camilla is in love with a Bosmer named Faendal.  Sven wanted me to bring Camilla a forged letter that would convince her that Faendal was no good.  For this, he would pay me some paltry sum.  I agreed to his task, knowing full well I’d never take the side of a Nord against a fellow Bosmer, but he was none the wiser.

Did Sven not realize I was Bosmer?  And why would he task a complete stranger with the future of his relationship?  No matter.  Videogames, amirite?  I walked further into town to find Camilla in her brother’s store.  As I suspected, one of the dialogue options presented was to tell her that Sven had forged the letter and that Faendal was in fact a stand up guy… or elf in this case.  I chose said option and Camilla was noticeably upset that Sven would attempt to do such a thing.  She instructed me to find Faendal and tell him at once… so I did.

I easily found Faendal by the lumber mill.  He looked a lot like me.  Tall, thin, handsome and Elven.  I liked him immediately.

179 COMMENTS

  1. I was surprised you didnt try and ride me all the way to winterhold  like some bipedal steed. You bastard. I may be immortal but I have feelings. XD

  2. This was by far the best preview I’ve read. Gave me a good laugh many times. Not only that, you explained things that certain people might not have knowledge about. Gonna pass this onto my skyrim crazed friends

  3. “I shook my head at Faendal for his piss poor performance, but he just stood there smiling at me as usual, waiting for my command.  Dick.” i lol’ed good job

  4. “I shook my head at Faendal for his piss poor performance, but he just stood there smiling at me as usual, waiting for my command.  Dick.” i lol’ed good job

  5. Man, Dave is an amazing writer. If he wrote a series of book about simple things like the preview above, I would own every copy.

  6. By the way, you said Faendal “glided” over the water? Care to explain a bit more? That sounds an awful lot like that one guy from the bible, as you mentioned. Did he walk there? Were his legs moving, and did you see him slowly make his way undisturbed by the water? If so, I might want to get him as a companion early on… 

  7. Man way this a great Read Dave, really fun and i can kinda relate to how, i myself would describe a trip to skyrim, to my mates, like this read.

  8. Fantastic. The best review that I have read so far…and I have probably read all of them…that is how excited for this game I am :). I loved it!!!! So damn entertaining lol. I can’t wait, less than 2 weeks to go!!!!

  9. Fantastic. The best review that I have read so far…and I have probably read all of them…that is how excited for this game I am :). I loved it!!!! So damn entertaining lol. I can’t wait, less than 2 weeks to go!!!!

  10. maiq the liar has made me want the game that much more. honestly can not believe he is back. but alas you can not have him as a companion but that was grasping at straws im sure. abd yeah this is the best preview ive read by far

  11. Someone should mod the flutes so all of us can play aqualung = ) great review- 13 days feels waaay too long to wait ! even though it isn’t = P

  12. You got quite a bit done in three hours! I had been wondering why all the other reviewers had focused all their energies on the golden claw, riverwood, or the first dragon. There is so much more to explore! This was a great read and you’ve got my kind of humor. I’ll be looking for more in the future. Thanks.

  13. Wow I felt like I was reading Fear and Loathing in Skyrim. That was probably the best article about a game I think I’ve ever read. Great great great story telling. If that’s not video game gonzo journalism I don’t know what is. Spectacular man. Just plain spectacular.

  14. Nicely written, a playful down to earth approach.  
    I’m quite concerned on the sheer scope of this game though.  As I recall from my time with Morrowind or Oblivion, I was running around seemingly doing something important but I don’t recall what that was.  I felt daunted by the lack of hand holding, which I prefer since I enjoy holding hands and taking long walks on the beach!   
    Perhaps this time around will be different as the melee combat actually looks enjoyable, as opposed to the last 2 attempts where it looked like you were watching a little wee stick slice in front of you, no tactile feel at all.  And maybe this time I’ll say to hell with it and just make up mini objectives  to feel that I’m accomplishing something.   With just a sprinkling of hand holding of course.  I’m thinking clairvoyance may come in handy when i’m playing the game at 4:00 a.m.

  15. Nicely written, a playful down to earth approach.  
    I’m quite concerned on the sheer scope of this game though.  As I recall from my time with Morrowind or Oblivion, I was running around seemingly doing something important but I don’t recall what that was.  I felt daunted by the lack of hand holding, which I prefer since I enjoy holding hands and taking long walks on the beach!   
    Perhaps this time around will be different as the melee combat actually looks enjoyable, as opposed to the last 2 attempts where it looked like you were watching a little wee stick slice in front of you, no tactile feel at all.  And maybe this time I’ll say to hell with it and just make up mini objectives  to feel that I’m accomplishing something.   With just a sprinkling of hand holding of course.  I’m thinking clairvoyance may come in handy when i’m playing the game at 4:00 a.m.

  16. I love how you gave Faendal, a mindless NPC, a personality, making something out of stuff that isn’t there. Great read, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  17. Wonderfully well written , and a gripping tale , just a shame you never quite made it there .Must add it is nice to find a Jethro Tull reference every now and again :)

  18. Best review….ever. :D I just died at the revelation that your companion was Jesus, since now that you mention it, that’s who he HAD to be. :) I would look forward to any future reviews on the game.

  19. Sigh……..saying herp derp is so stupid, it’s like something a five year old would say and to use it in a preview makes it so unprofessional. other than that keep the skyrim coming.

  20. You seemed to have overused the word alas. I know it sounds cool and all, but its not exactly making anyone look intelligent with such an overuse. 

  21. AMAZING STUFF! I was thinking about not getting Skyrim because I thought it was going to be just like fallout 3, but Sir you have redeemed my hope and excitement in this game and I thank you for that!

  22. You are by far the best game reviewer and, amazingly, one of the best writers I think I’ve ever read. If you decide to write a book, I’ll be there. A travelogue, I’m your guy. Even an observation on melting ice….I’ll be your first reader. As it seems you just write on this site I am now and forever your loyal fan. Thank you for being far and away the best video game reviewer on planet earth.

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