8 Things I Learned After 25 Hours in Skyrim

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If you’re on an Xbox 360, as I am, you may become frustrated by loading times, especially for trivial things like walking out of one building and into another. Any PC gamers out there? I can feel your smug satisfaction from here.

You Can Be a Two-Face

Although Skyrim presents you with a game-changing decision every now and then, for the most part you’re free to play both sides against the middle. You can join the Thieves Guild and turn its hub city into a den of crime, while at the same time receiving accolades from the city leadership for helping them with other matters. Does this make sense? No, but at least it lets you experience more of the game.

Eating Is Overrated

Skyrim tries to emulate the minutia of ordinary life, such as working, eating, sleeping and drinking yourself stupid. Fortunately, none of that stuff is really necessary. Sure, you can make elaborate stews from the right ingredients, but in most cases you’re better off consuming potions instead of food and booze. You can sleep, too, and if you get a solid 10 hours the game will tell you that you “awake feeling well-rested,” but the benefits are intangible. Who has time for basic human needs when there’s questing to do?

RPGs Are Fundamentally Great

Okay, I knew that already. But one Skyrim moment in particular drove the point home: I was walking through the forest, minding my own business, when a bandit demanded payment for safe passage. Now, at this point I was already an adept mage who could cast gigantic fireballs and summon those aforementioned Atronachs. So I made a counter-offer: Let me pass, and I’ll let you live. Foolishly, this bandit refused to be intimidated–and it was the last mistake he made. Unlike linear action games, whose enemies always grow fiercer, RPGs can stop and remind you how far your character has come. Skyrim nails the feeling.

(MORE: Six Stunning New Skyrim Screenshots)

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