Skyrim’s Combat Mixes Up the Formula

More information about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been making the rounds, with the latest detailing the changes made to combat since Oblivion

Melee, ranged, and magical combat have all seen substantial alterations, starting with a two-handed system that allows various combinations of weapons and spells: dual-wield, two-handed, sword and board, sword and spell, two spells, etc.  Melee combat has been given more tactile feedback in the form of staggering effects and a shaking camera.  Weapon styles carry different perks, with swords more capable of critical blows but maces able to ignore a target’s armor.  Effective blocks with a shield now require proper timing, and shield users can now bash with it to stun an opponent.  Perhaps most importantly, players won’t be able to backpedal as fast as they could in Oblivion; faster enemies will require more care in engaging, and fleeing means turning your back and making a real run for it.

Taking inspiration from Bioshock, of all things, Bethesda altered the magic system to require the use of a player’s hand, rather than being able to cast while wielding a two-handed broadsword or whatever.  Spells can be used in various ways.  A fire spell, for instance, can cast traditional fireballs, lay down a close-range barrage like a flamethrower, or set explosive traps for enemies.  Elemental effects will have unique effects on enemies: fire hits the hardest, lightning drains a target’s magicka, and frost hampers them physically.  Players can also employ ward spells to defend against magical attacks, ideal for taking out hostile mages.

Stealth and ranged combat have seen some interesting changes, one of them inspired by an Oblivion mod that improved the deadliness of bows.  It takes longer to get off a good shot, but a single well-aimed arrow in Skyrim can bring down an opponent.  To counterbalance this, arrows are in shorter supply than in Oblivion.  Desperate archers can still perform a bash move if something gets close.  As for stealth, players with higher sneak skills will have more time to get back to cover if spotted, and NPCs now have more stages of alertness to accommodate the change.  Additionally, daggers are now far more useful with a stealthy approach, dealing heavy and often fatal damage if the player isn’t spotted before they strike.

Skyrim is set for a November 11 launch this year.

Source: Game Informer

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.