E3 2011: Skyrim impressions
E3 started properly just a couple of hours ago, and the first game I saw was probably the one I'm most looking forward to: Skyrim. The presentation Bethesda is showing behind closed doors is similar to the seven-minute video they released yesterday, and to the one we wrote about in PC Gamer last month.
What we hadn't seen in action before, though, was horsies. Riding horsies.
When I spoke to Todd Howard in April, he had said that Bethesda weren't yet sure that our equine friends were going to make it into the game. Horsies in games had come along way since Oblivion, and they wanted to make sure they weren't just hovering motorcycles with legs.
I can confirm: they are not. The new horsies look great. They have the same new animation system as the player, obviously, which means that in third-person they shift from a trot to a gallop smoothly and beautifully. Also, the one we saw looked oddly chubby.
In Tom's analysis of that trailer, he rightly questioned Todd Howard's comment about not scripting the dragon fights. Case in point: the demo began its climax with the same double dragon battle, and even with the same giant-kidnapping. At least some of this must be scripted.
On the other hand, the second frosty dragon fight didn't end nearly as quickly. In the presentation, he kept swooping further away from the player, and even with Storm Call causing rain and lightning to swirl around it, it took a little longer than planned to hit it and bring it down. It was the kind of brilliantly awkward moment you want the developers to experience when they're demoing a open-world, unscripted game. On the other hand, awwwwkward.
Overall though, what I saw was the same as what you've already seen, and my thoughts are the same as Tom's: SKYRIM.
Update: some more E3 Skyrim screenshots here.