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Skyrim - Building Better Combat

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Skyrim - Building Better Combat

Editorial - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Tue 25 January 2011, 12:23:57

Tags: Bethesda Softworks; Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Gameinformer put up a piece spiced up with Todd Howard quotes on how Bethesda is about to improve their whole combat system for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, for instance by drawing inspiration from BioShock for their magic system. Makes sense. BioShock had one of the best magic systems of all RPGs I ever played.

A good offense must be accompanied by a good defense. To make defending a less passive activity, Bethesda has switched to a timing based blocking system that requires players to actively raise their shields to take the brunt of the attack. If you hold down the block button, your character will attempt to execute a bash move. If you catch a bandit off guard with the bash while he's attacking, it knocks him back and exposes him to a counter or power attack. Players can block and bash with two-handed weapons as well, but it isn't as effective as the shield. Warriors who prefer the sword-and-shield approach can increase their defensive capabilities with shield perks that give them elemental protection from spells.

Bethesda also smartly changed the pace at which characters backpedal, which removes the strike-and-flee tactic frequently employed in Oblivion. In Skyrim you can't bob and weave like a medieval Muhammad Ali as you could in Oblivion. Players can still dodge attacks from slower enemies like frost trolls, but don’t expect to backpedal out of harms way against charging enemies. If you want to flee, you must turn your back to the enemy and hit the sprint button, leaving you exposed to an attack as you high tail it to safety.

And another one:

Keeping in line with the philosophy of making the combat more tactile, Bethesda took inspiration for its spell casting from an unlikely source in Irrational Games' BioShock. Fighting his way through the city of Rapture, Howard was impressed with how Ken Levine's team visualized the power of the plasmids in your hands. They're adopting a similar approach for Skyrim.

“Before when we had magic, it never felt to us like you were actually doing it,” Howard admits. “It was a separate button, it flew out of your fist, and you could have a shield in your hand or a two handed-weapon – you could do it with anything.”

In Oblivion spells were cast with a face button, which allowed you to equip traditional weapons for melee combat and deftly cast spells between swings. By forcing players to equip a spell with one of their hands, players must make more of a commitment to learning the arcane arts. The ability to equip two different spells on your left and right hand raises the question – can you combine more than one spell? “We're not talking about that,” Howard says with a smile. “We're not sure. We'd like to; it'd be awesome.”

Even if you can't combine spells, magicka students will have no shortage of options, with over 85 spells divided into five schools of magic – destruction, restoration, illusion, alteration, and conjuration. Longtime Elder Scrolls fans may notice that the school of mysticism is absent. That's an intentional move on Bethesda's part. “It always felt like the magical school of mysticism – isn't that redundant?” Howard says. The spells formerly housed under the domain of mysticism have been moved to other schools of magic.

One of the more alluring changes to the spellcasting in Skyrim is how you can employ spells in different ways. For instance, you could blast enemies with a flame ball from afar, hold the button down to wield the spell like a flame thrower, place a rune on the ground to create an environmental trap that spontaneously combusts when an enemy steps on it, or equip the spell with both hands to deliver high damage fireball attacks that drain your magicka reserves quickly. The shock and frost spells give players an equal amount of flexibility.

That doesn't sound too bad, does it? I'm a sucker for spellcasting.

 

Spotted at: RPGWatch

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