26/10/2011

Not reviewing Skyrim!? - Sort of!

So, in a sudden twist of fate I’ve decided that my latest post is to be an opinion piece rather than any form of ‘real’ journalism.

I’d like to explain my current decision to abstain from reviewing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Yes people, you heard that right, I, Mike Smith, the lover of all things that begin with ‘R’ and end in ‘PG’, slayer of dragons, saver of kingdoms and the person who has been selling the screenshots and trailers for Skyrim recently as if it were paying for my grandmothers dialysis have decided not to review the game when it comes out.

Naturally, this decision comes with a couple of conditions:

1) If I am asked by a publication of any kind to review the game, I’m not the kind of person who will turn down free exposure for my writing so I will review it if asked.

2) If (by some strange happenstance) that the game may turn out to be rubbish and completely unplayable (which frankly isn’t going to happen), I may very well perform some kind of post mortem review on it

However, if the game is released - I’m not asked to review it by anyone and of course there isn’t an outcry on Facebook/Twitter for me to review it (not likely anyway) then I would rather not review it.

“But, why?”

Well, to be honest, I ideally want to experience the game, rather than just playing it, getting a preview of it at the amazing Eurogamer Expo made me realise just how much of a time-sink it’s going to become in my life and if I review it then I would have to play through as much as I could as quickly as I could, not to rush completing it or anything like that but rather to experience as much as I needed to to write a review, I wouldn’t be playing it solely for fun.

Now, I’m not saying that this job of mine isn’t fun, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had and I doubt that’ll ever change but every now and then, video games reviewers like to have a game that’s specifically theirs, a game that they don't have to analyse, pick faults at or produce a score for, a game that they can play in smaller chunks when they have downtime from projects and assignments. Games that they can fully immerse themselves in, becoming the character, caring about the fate of the world, these are all subtle differences between playing a game and reviewing it.

“But Mike, what if Bethesda send you a copy?”

I guess this would fall under the category of Number 1 above.
I don’t consider myself to be at all ‘big’ in this industry so I doubt the likes of Bethesda, a video game giant, are going to simply send me a copy. - Even with all the promotion I have done for Skyrim in the last few months –  That being said however, anything is possible!
If I were asked by Bethesda to review Skyrim, of course I would oblige, happily - I'm not stupid. (well, not totally)

So I guess my final conclusion is: I don't want to review Skyrim because I feel that it would take something away from the whole experience of the game, some magic would be lost in the way the game world had been created if I trample through it with my Reviewers Boots on but if I am asked to review it, it would be a pleasure and an honour to be asked to review one of 2011's biggest titles.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is due for release on 11/11/11 (but you already knew that)