Skyrim is an incredible game. I’m currently on my second playthrough, with 45 or so hours logged into the game. There’s so much to do, so much to see, so many different ways to play the game, it absolutely blows my mind. There’s probably a hundred or so hours for the main game and once you add in all the DLC, a person who’s into this game could seriously log a few hundred hours into the game. For all of the great things Skyrim does, my favorite feature is that the game is tailored to the way you play.
Most RPGs (and most games with RPG elements for that matter) have followed the same blueprint. A player kills enemies, gains experience points, then uses those experience points to build up their character. Skyrim might not be the first game to employ this particular play style, but the style they used might be the most well implemented. If a player wants to be good at one-handed weapons, they level that skill up, by using one handed weapons. If a player wants to be good at archery, they need to use a bow and arrow. If a players wants to be good at alchemy, stealth, or lockpicking, they simply need to make potions, sneak around, and pick locks. The game mirrors real life in that if you want to be good at something, you simply need to keep doing it.
When I think about how this concept can be applied to other games, I’m shocked more developers haven’t taken this and ran with it. For example, NBA 2K14 has a whole mode dedicated to the building up of a character. How cool would it be that instead of using attribute points, the game simply rewarded a player for how they used a character? If you wanted to make a character a better shooter, shoot more jump shots. Want a good dunker? Drive it to the basket and finish strong. Want to be a lockdown defender? Play lockdown defense. I know the first Borderlands followed this concept in rewarding the player based on the types of guns used. Use of the various classes of weapons made the avatar more proficient in that weapon class. It’s a cool feature that I’d really like to see in more games.
In conclusion, Skyrim is an incredible game with alot to like about it. But being able to tailor your skills based on the way you play the game is my favorite part. For games that wish to employ RPG elements, I hope I see a lot more of that type of feature in the future.