One of the of the most impressive demos I sat through during E3 had to be the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim presentation. As a huge fan of the last Elder Scrolls title, I was eager to see how much the formula has been upgraded since Oblivion was released five years ago. The first major upgrade I noticed was the visuals. Skyrim is a much more vibrant and attractive game than Oblivion or Fallout 3. A lot of that appeal is due to the attention to detail. In the world, water realistically flows down rivers, salmon jump out of the water trying to swim upstream, and large mammoths roam the open plains oblivious to your presence. There is also dynamic weather in the game, which means that snow falls and collects on the ground just like in real life. These are all small touches, but they lend a lot to making the world feel more alive.
Even the map in the game is full of detail and small touches that lend to the game’s atmosphere. Whenever you open the map, your view zooms out, and you get a topographical view of your surroundings. It’s like looking at Google Earth inside of Skyrim. The map isn’t the only menu item upgraded. Your inventory contains a detailed 3D model of every item in your inventory. This includes everything from weapons and armor to pieces of meat you collect from animals. You can fully rotate and examine these times as well.
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