EDGE про Skyrim

Несколько цитат из превью Skyrim в последнем выпуске EDGE:

Procedural generation was a big thing in 2004 and 2005 — game director Todd Howard says — Now none of landscape is procedural. It’s all created by our artists.

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We equip a shield in our left hand and an axe in our right, dodging around the stones to bury our blade in the necromancer directly. It takes only a few swipes – single taps deliver quick blows while holding the trigger unleashes a power attack – but combat clearly delivers a terrific sense of contact.

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It’s made all the more deadly when we level up, a process more intuitive and rewarding than before. Now you choose to boost one of three stats per level gained – stamina, health or magicka – and the effect trickles down into your skills. Each skill is represented by a constellation of perks, which you can then unlock: instead of levels conceding a change in some unseen spreadsheet, the perks commute tangible, awesome advancement. One perk unlocks the ability to sprint with shield raised, ploughing enemies aside. Another increases the power of a stealth dagger attack by so many multiples of its normal damage that you can effectively turn the game into Splinter Cell, sneaking among the shadows to slit throats in a single interaction.

“Pickpocketing’s another one,” Howard says. “At the highest level, you can pickpocket even the stuff people are wearing. There’s another where you can decapitate people. It’s not super-gory, but it’s a surprise when you get it and heads start flying off.”

There are some 200 possible perks in the game, but very few players will even make it into the 70s (though the player is inherently more versatile than before, thanks to the acquisition of magical abilities known as Shouts in the central quest). The perks encourage extremely individualised play.

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Levelling now has real impetus through the juicy reward of perks; melee combat has become more potent and tactical; the world feels more alive and dramatic, thanks to its careful craft and the AI ecology which populates it. But step off the main quest-line’s more cautious, more spectacular scripting, and it’s clear that this is also a game of systems whose emergence does not always cohere with the narrative’s tone. Skyrim is still a place where characters talk over each other in a babble of contradictory barks; it’s a place in which mounting a horse you stole hours before prompts lethal fury in people you’ve never previously met; it’s a place where allies, once gouged by a giant swinging axe-trap, might mutter suspiciously, “Hmm – this looks like trouble.” It’s still a place, then, where the uncanny often prevails – and yet it’s that entertaining breakdown between mechanism and fiction which remains such a curiosity and a delight.

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