My main problem with Skyrim is: why are we going here at all?
Bethesda bored the crap out of me with Oblivion’s setting: medieval Europe. It was a huge letdown after Morrowind’s alien, Eastern-inspired culture(s). Not only that, but Cyrodiil, the capital province where the Imperials live, was in earlier lore supposed to be rather jungley and Roman. Look, I don’t care about white medieval, or in this case, Norse Europe—I can find it anywhere. Bethesda, you have a whole bunch of more interesting provinces to go, go to them!
One thing I’ll say: they bypassed Tolkien, though the influence is there of course, and went back to Norse mythology: what with the whole Ragnarok/end of the world plot, the power of the spoken word, etc. That was almost refreshing.
But we don’t need to go there. Why, oh why, are we back in a place that glorifies violent white guys from north Europe? Why does this story need to be told?
Yes, Bethesda is trying to make a game with solid gameplay and make it flashy and interesting with dragon battles, but any creative work will have something of politics in it… and apparently white burly Gary Stus to appeal to the 18 year old guys are still ruling the genre for game developers, despite that increasingly the people playing games are not all male or white or 18. Look, I’m sure Bethesda, being a big name RPG developer, could still appeal to those 18 year old white gamers with a backdrop of more inventive lore. Goes without saying it would interest folks like me. What about Summurset Isle? The vibe I get from High Elves is a sort of Victorian England crossed with Asia, which is newer. Or Elsweyr? The modders keep setting stuff there. Seems like a lot of (white male?) gamers want to explore the world of anthro kitty cats in an Arabian Nights setting.
I’m still pleased that in Skyrim, I can be any race, and skin colour, and female, with no restriction. I’m pleased that Skyrim, for all the NPCs will tell you there’s sexism, still features a good lot of female badasses. (Although… maybe they are more the minority?)
I enjoy/ed Skyrim, but after the initial several-month rush, I realized that it lacks a lot of in-game depth. Quest lines are incredibly short, uninteresting, and full of plot holes. They are so short, but you advance so fast, that there is no sense of progression.
BEYOND THIS POINT THERE BE SPOILERS