I thought of my piscine-packed bags, intended for a marathon cooking session and recently filled by the game's frankly odd mechanism of simply grabbing passing fish as I swam, and felt a flush of guilt. Oh well, the healing benefits of those fish would probably help me save the world or something, once I finally got around to it, so this guy should be grateful, really. This became that fisherman's story in my Skyrim - in someone else's, perhaps he would have been killed and looted, or hidden from, or never seen at all.
Onwards! Upwards, in fact. Skyrim's landmass is comparable to its predecessor Oblivion's, but it has the benefit of ruddy great mountains adding a whole lot of vertical space to the world. Up and up I climbed, above the clouds, eventually rewarded by the sight of a vast swathe of Skyrim laid out below.
In some ways, the game doesn't look that dramatic a graphical leap forwards from Oblivion, but in moments like this the scale of what Bethesda has built is entirely apparent. All those great gobbets of world I can see are mine to explore. The game's music seemed to realise that I would likely be feeling awed at this point, with its soft, skeletal piano music bursting outwards into loud splendour. I half expected someone to leap out from behind a rock and bellow ' behold!' And behold I did, and in great admiration - if secretly wishing I was playing on PC rather than 360, so it was all bit more high-detailed and anti-aliased.
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I certainly had a strong and evocative sense of being very high up, in a strange and wondrous land. That said, I have climbed awful high and there doesn't seem to be anything up here, which is a bit of a let down. Maybe I was unconsciously chasing dragons after all. Or maybe it's just that I'm still a very low level character, and the game has scaled the available threats accordingly. On the way up, I encountered a few wolves (and can happily confirm that the game lets you conjure zombie wolves too) and bandits, but no sky-lizards or giants yet. So, back downhill I went, and soon I spotted a poacher. I frowned. I'm the number one collector of animal parts round here, thank you very much. So while she was busy hunting a fox, I nicked her horse and galloped off. That'll learn her.
The horse didn't hang around long, sadly - as soon as I hopped off it, it darted away, presumably back to its fox-bothering master. I wish I'd killed it and taken its hide. Still, it didn't leave me in a bad spot, as it turns out there's an awful lot more to see about halfway up a mountain than at its peak. I stopped in briefly on a couple of settlements, raided a couple of dungeons (eek! Spiders!) and cleared a few ruins of their dastardly bandit occupants. On the console next to me, someone excitedly yelled 'look! A dragon!' to a chorus of much awed cooing. I didn't so much as turn to look. I'd found a tanning station, you see. Time to make some new gloves.
That's my Skyrim, anyway - I wonder what yours will be like?