AR Podcast #22: We Hate Skyrim

Dylan and Shaun have for some time felt that the critical consensus around The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is some distance from accurately representing the game. In other words, they think it’s a great big load of shite, and everyone else seems to think it’s more wonderful than penicillin, sandwiches and the welfare state combined (albeit perhaps not mixed).

In this podcast they explore just why they believe Skyrim is so overrated, and become steadily drunker and less coherent as they do so. It’s just like going down the pub with us.


  • 00:43 – an excellent start to the podcast as Shaun describes Skyrim as “The Elder Scrolls IV“. In fairness, he may have attempted to block Oblivion from his mind.
  • 05:10 – on the use of the word “masterpiece”.
  • 12:20 – spoiler warning: we’re not doing any spoiler warnings.
  • 12:50 – and the games begin, as we get into the why of hating Skyrim. We begin with storytelling and dialogue.
  • 16:00 – although we’ve got bigger criticisms to make than Skyrim’s inevitable bugs, sometimes they really have to be mentioned.
  • 18:50 – Skyrim’s context-free minor quests and wonky dialogue triggers.
  • 22:30 – confusing systems and confusing descriptions, supposedly contributing toward an engrossing experience.
  • 24:00 – Skyrim’s two-bit, wallpaper characters.
  • 25:40 – the player as the only significant character in the world.
  • 28:11 – point 1.2: “there is absolutely no conclusion to anything.”
  • 32:30 – the sheer laziness of neglecting to reflect any change in the world.
  • 35:05 – “Skyrim doesn’t care about people … character … culture … society … economies … anything.”
  • 39:00 – caring more about the wild fauna of Skyrim than its terrible characters.
  • 42:00 – in passing defence of cutscenes.
  • 46:14 – we take a break to top up on bile after ringing storytelling, worldbuilding, character and dialogue dry.
  • 46:47 – point 2, on Skyrim’s combat: slashing at people = not fun.
  • 52:30 – Alan Wake comes up in conversation thanks to its driving mechanics.
  • 58:50 – unbalancing the game with character progression mechanics (looking at you, sneaking).
  • 62:00 – Skyrim’s engine is not cut out for combat.
  • 63:00 – Shaun starts talking about Morrowind but is already drunk enough that he refers to it as “Oblivion” three times. (He played the actual Oblivion for about 140 hours from the day of release on. It’s definitely Morrowind that he struggled to get into.)
  • 67:00 – “…it’s not epic. It’s just longer.”
  • 72:45 – might the “something for everyone” approach of Skyrim result in the edges being sanded off every gameplay mechanic?
  • 74:50 – to wrap up combat, we deconstruct “I just want to switch my brain off and enjoy it.”
  • 78:00 – round three: everything else. We kick off with bugs.
  • 79:30 – bugs: “I think this is a PC and Xbox divide.”
  • 83:25 – from Skyrim’s menus to “there is a fucking item for everything.”
  • 86:00 – why can’t developers produce a good UI for cross-platform PC games when it takes a few weeks for modders to do so?
  • 90:10 – #1: “randomly generated puzzles” #2: “hahahaha”
  • 99:00 – Dylan invites Shaun to comment on imagination in fantasy design, which leads to a rantorrent. Oops.
  • 105:30 – things we like about Skyrim. Shaun likes spelunking!

Games mentioned

  • Well… Skyrim, mostly. Plus Oblivion, its predecessor, and the older Elder Scrolls games.
  • X-Treme Express
  • Final Fantasy X-2
  • Alan Wake
  • Dark Souls
  • Dragon’s Dogma
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Abyss Odyssey
  • Zeno Clash