Monthly Archives: December 2011

The problem with too many quests and bosses that glitch in Skyrim

[Major spoilers abound for the following two end-game quests: Sovngarde and Dragonslayer. You’ve been warned.]

I completed Skyrim‘s main quest last night. It happened faster than I expected, and that’s a funny thing to say for someone whose only character’s save slot is just tipping over 60 hours of logged adventuring. But yeah. Read and weep:


Dragonslayer (50G): Complete “Dragonslayer”

Here’s how I operate within open-world games. I start out strong, following the main path and getting everything in place for the major events to happen. I do this for awhile, and I do this all as an upstanding guy, a goody two-shoes, a real hero. But then a scientist wants me to find out what happened to the plants in Vault 13 or some Krogans are interested in getting sushi from the lake in the Presidium or a deceased woman’s mother is looking for closure, something only I can provide–and that’s it. I’m gone for hours, days, in-game weeks. Maybe even months. I forget what I was once doing, and other tasks begin to pile up, constantly reminding me, constantly blocking out the past. At some point, the mental tug is too much, I just internally say okay, whatever and rush through the rest of the game so that I can enjoy my mindless wandering in peace.

So, I did that. I went to Sovngarde to search out Alduin, the World-Eater, and snuff his snout out for good. It’s a misty realm, brimming with legendary Nord warriors–of now and then–and to get into their Hall of Valor, you must defeat the gate guardian Tsun. Well, defeat isn’t right. Basically, you have to knock out at least half his health, and he’s extremely tough. Lohgahn, as a level 30 archer, had to rethink strategies and reload a few times because two hits from Tsun’s weapon was enough to trigger a kill-cam. I mention this because–and this is where concluding Skyrim gets truly sad–Tsun was harder than the game’s final boss. Which is a dragon that eats worlds. Yeah,  I know.

Also, the Hall of Valor was the glitchiest location so far. I stood in wonder as a goblet on a table popped in and out of existence. Same happened with parts of tablecloths. And if you looked out one of the windows and glanced down, it was just a wash of dirt soup. Maybe this was due to the fact that the hall is filled with characters, or maybe that latest patch did worser things.

When it comes time to fight Alduin, you get help. Three Nord warriors from the Hall of Valor join you, which is great as they draw Alduin’s attention away, giving Lohgahn plenty of time and space to cast Dragonrend and loose some poisoned arrows. But then, as Alduin’s health dropped below the halfway mark, I noticed something–he was stuck, his left leg deep beneath the ground, cut off in a crude way. And he wouldn’t turn around. I switched to my treasured Mace of Molag Bal and beat on his scales. The dragon never turned around to fight me. Maybe he was too distracted from the others, or maybe he was glitched. The underwhelming fight ended with Lohgahn returning to his perch and loosing a few more arrows. How terribly dull and ironic; Alduin never even knew the Dovahkiin was there.

Well, with that done I can get back to my disturbingly huge list of side quests and miscellaneous quests. There’s an old woman in Whiterun who always asks me if I found anything out about her son whenever I pass. I guess this is a quest I agreed to very early on in my playthrough. Unfortunately, I don’t remember why. Was her son kidnapped? Lost somewhere? Guess I’ll have to play detective and do a lot of searching through my lists to find the right one. That’ll at least get me on the right path, but the urgency is certainly gone, and now it feels like something Lohgahn’s obligated to do. Hmm…

In short, Skyrim‘s main quest is underwhelming, but at least now I can begin checking off my to-do list. If you beat the main quest, how did you find Alduin at the end? As tough as his name implies or easier than harvesting wings off a butterfly? Speak up. I’m curious to know.

Games Completed in 2011, #34 – The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures Anniversary Edition

This year marked the momentous 25th anniversary for The Legend of Zelda franchise. Nintendo celebrated with elaborate symphonies, commercials purporting that Robin Williams and his pixie-haired daughter Zelda Williams gamed together, and a free copy of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures for those rocking a Nintendo 3DS. Hey, I’m one of those! A 3DS owner, that is. Not Robin or Zelda Williams. Snartleblast, I know.

Some history first. Four Swords Adventures was originally for the Nintendo GameCube and, while containing a lot of familiar faces and gameplay aspects, was a little different than Link’s previously traditional treks to save the princess. This time, it was all about multiplayer chaos, with multiple Links having to work together to solve puzzles and at the same time trying to one-up each other in terms of collecting the most rupees. If you had friends and a lot of systems/cables, you had a solid Friday night. I never got to play it way back when, but it sounds like a fantastic party game, with plenty of room for hijinks and backstabbing.

The 3DS version–well, it’s actually available as a piece of DSiWare, meaning gamers with either/or system can play–was redesigned slightly to include a single-player mode, as well as new enemies, maps, and puzzles. Thank goodness for this. I’m sure many of us went into the freebie with high hopes of playing with friends over WiFi, but the 3DS is still not a great system for online play. I have one person on my 3DS friends list that I know also downloaded the game, but for us to communicate and set up a gaming time session would probably be more hassle than fun. So yeah, more like The Legend of Zelda: One Sword Adventures. Eh…Two Swords, really.

If you don’t have anyone to play with and you’re going the single-player route, the game tosses in a second controllable Link. If you’re familiar with using the Phantom Knight from The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks for solving puzzles then you’ll pick up the pace pretty fast here. A lot of switching and throwing each other at levers. Strangely, at the end of each level, the game still tallies how much your Link earned rupees-wise versus how much the second Link did. Either way…um, you’re a winner. Unless you picked up too many rupoors.

So, there’s three main worlds to traverse across, split up into different levels. I’d say that each averages around 15 minutes to complete. End bosses have a pattern to discover, and there’s also a main end boss who is not named Ganon. Sure, it’s weird, but it is what it is. After completing the game, a new world opens up, the Realm of Memories, letting Link hop into theme-based worlds of Zelda yore. The one based around A Link to the Past is simply fantastic, mainly from a visual standpoint. I am now just daydreaming about getting a 3D version of it down the line. It’s okay, Nintendo. You can charge e-money for it; I’ll pay. Oh, I’ll pay.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures was a free download, and I had a good time playing it. Alas, I’m not getting the mileage from it that Nintendo probably hoped for, but it’s a great experience nonetheless. Get it before it stops being free.