Skyrim: Should You Start Again?
Skyrim is a game many people have restarted. Many people have talked, in length, about their restarts. It’s been down to a character who didn’t look right. It’s been a playing style they chose, but didn’t like. It’s been – like in my case – the result of catastrophic hard drive failure.
But it’s to Skyrim’s credit that even with the wrong look, the wrong way of doing things or even the loss of 105 hours of progress, it still draws people back in; it still makes you want to come back.
But not all games are like this. Be it down to personal preference, a lack of quality on their part or whatever other mitigating factor it might be, there are games that just don’t hit the right part of the brain hard enough to make anyone, for any reason, commit to a restart.
Forgetting a game for a while then going back to it – save intact, halfway through – is one thing. In fact, it’s one thing a lot of us don’t bother with because… well, we all have a pile of shame. But it’s a step up to choose the ‘new game’ option and start afresh.
Skyrim is in a privileged position in this respect – beyond a brief, on-rails opening, you are given free reign to do as you see fit; to go where you want to go. On restarting I chose to leg it with the Imperial, unlike first time around. On escaping the beginning town I turned left, instead of the right I chose before. I immediately joined the Companions; first time around I didn’t even bother with them, instead preferring the Dark Brotherhood.
But it can’t all be down to freedom – it’s not all down to freedom. Brevity and tightness of an experience can help, like sitting down to rewatch your favourite film. Though in this case your favourite game-film – in my case something like Uncharted 2 – takes eight hours rather than two. But I’m happy to do it.
Maybe it’s more of a time-sink experience , like on the wonderful Football Manager. Perhaps it’s because the opening is just so bloody good, like (at least back in the day) Medal Of Honor: Frontline, or (still, to this day) Half-Life 2.
Whatever it is, it’s testament to gaming that something requiring such commitment, such a huge amount of time, is capable of making most of us bother to start out again; to get our playthrough right. Well done, games.
This is generalising of course – I’m sure there are many of you who can’t be bothered restarting Skyrim, for example. But we’ve all been there at some point: the games we’re happy to start all over again on while others remain in need of a fresh beginning they will never receive. Is it as arbitrary as it seems? Or is there a clearly-defined method to what makes us feel like we can – like we should – begin again?
Admittedly, I don’t intend to start Skyrim again (again).