I think most of us can agree that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an incredible game with a ridiculously deep world that we can get lost in for over a hundred hours. However, if we're going to be completely honest with ourselves, we have to admit that this comes at the expense of some completely unsightly bugs.
You know the ones I'm talking about. Backward flying dragons are just the beginning. I've walked into buildings to see the entire floor was missing, with several items trapped in an infinite freefall, disappearing out of sight below to reappear above my head in a way that would make Pac-Man proud.
And that's not to mention the broken side quests. Off the top of my head, I currently have at least two quests in my log that are impossible to complete. I think there's a third, too, but I can't recall what it is at the moment. And I'm sure there are several more I haven't discovered yet. I've only spent about 70 hours in Skyrim so far, after all.
I've also gotten to a point where some of Skyrim's merchants—merchants who I've come to depend upon to unload the massive amounts of brooms and dishware I collect in dungeons—have stopped showing up. I'll wait outside their door for days, but their shops never open to me. I was beginning to suspect that maybe some of them were taking weekends off, but when they were absent for weeks at a time, I was left to assume they had vanished completely. Perhaps they followed their cousins on quests to slay some backward flying dragons.
Oh yeah, and I do already know that if you use your time-lapse wait ability too close to a locked door, it will show locked after you wait until you back away and re-approach it. This is also a bug, as far as I'm concerned. I mean, it's not like the folks at Bethesda sat down and said, "You know what would streamline the traveling-through-doors experience? Making players back away from a door before it's unlocked. If players are going to play this thing for dozens of hours, they're going to want some bizarre door behavior to keep their interest piqued." No. I know about this "weird door behavior" and the sudden disappearance of vendor NPCs is something different entirely.
And what's with the spasming dragon skeletons? Is there some weird magic in Skyrim where dead dragons are able to dance about like the village drunk on St. Patrick's Day?
Probably the worst offenders are the game crashes. When you've just slain the three dragons that have decided to all attack Whiterun at the same time, and you managed to not let any NPCs meet their untimely demises in the process, there's nothing more annoying than seeing your screen go completely black in a state you know won't end until you restart your console. In a sweaty, teary-eyed panic, you try to recall the last time the game auto-saved. Sorry, it was before you took down those dragons. In fact, it was before you killed that mammoth in an epic battle to steal its tusk for that one miscellaneous side quest. It was before you discovered all the landmarks on the southwestern corner of the map too.
As long as you've resisted the urge to swift travel or go through any oddly behaving doors, the game hasn't auto-saved once.
Will Bethesda be fixing these bugs? If we can use their previous games as examples—and I'm going to assume we can—we're not going to ever see these problems resolved. Fixes might eventually come from the modding community, but they won't come from Bethesda. In fact, it seems like whenever Bethesda releases a patch to fix something, something else in the game breaks. Remember those backward flying dragons I've mentioned several times already? Yeah, those only showed up after a patch that was supposedly designed to fix things.
Now, after Skyrim went gold, Bethesda's blog posted pictures of the development team consuming some special Skyrim beer they had been saving for that particular occasion. It seems like that was probably a little premature. To the folks at Bethesda I must implore, put down the bubbly and pick up your keyboards. You aren't done yet. Get us a nice series of carefully constructed patches that actually address most of—if not all of—these issues without breaking anything else. When you've finally done that, then, by all means, tip back some delicious golden Skyrim brew and enjoy what you've accomplished.
By Josh Wirtanen
CCC Editor/News Director
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central. This week's is also purely a work of fiction*