How Can Anyone Be Disappointed By Both Skyrim and Skyward Sword?

Illustration for article titled How Can Anyone Be Disappointed By Both Skyrim and Skyward Sword?

Some folks loved the latest Legend of Zelda game but weren't fond of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Others turned up their noses at Skyward Sword but embraced Bethesda's latest wholeheartedly. Somehow commenter Sloopydrew found himself disappointed with both games. In today's Speak Up on Kotaku we try to determine what sort of alien he is.


Am I the only one disappointed with both the most recent Elder Scrolls and recent Zelda game? I love both of those franchises and loved the last few games with a fanboy-like passion. But Skyward Sword and Skyrim — along with sharing a similar name — share the feeling of "sameness."

I just feel like I've played these games before and, when I did, they were better.

Every Elder Scrolls got better, for me, through Oblivion. Skyrim feels like a glitchy fetch quest with nothing new. Zelda got better for me through Windwaker. I still liked Twilight Princess, but Skyward Sword leaves me cold. Not to mention, popping in Windwaker after playing Skyward is startling, as Windwaker is clearly graphically superior, on top of being a better game.

Anyway, I didn't want to troll and I know I'm the odd man out on this, but I'm looking for anyone who agrees with me, just to validate that I'm not going crazy. I looked forward to both of these games, bought both on launch and have ended up finishing neither. I played some Skyrim last night and, as I have every time, shut it off about an hour in feeling bored and disappointed. I haven't even put Skyward Sword back on for at least a week. Probably more. I'm seriously doubting I'll even finish either of these games. Certainly startling, as I finished their predecessors more than once each.

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Admittedly, of the two games I've only played Skyrim, but here's my thoughts on what's going on:

Yes there is a lot of "sameness" because they are very intentionally sequals, and sequals tend to be similar to their predecesors with only slight iterative modifications. That said, one of the issues you're having is that these aren't "new" games. Unfortunately truly new games are rare, and it sounds like you went into them thinking they wouldn't be the sequals they are. You may have also taken the heaps of popular praise to heart, which made your expectations too high when you started playing them, causing you to automatically have a lower opinion of them. I don't know if there's a name for this effect, but I've seen in action enough times to lend some credence to it.

There are also two issues you bring up that are not at all the faults of the games, and may be fixable:

In Skyrim you mention that it feels like a "glitchy fetch quest". I haven't had issues with glitches but they're obviously there, as they are in ALL Bethesda games. The real problem is the "fetch quest" aspect. As far as I've seen the quests are structured essentially the same as previous games. So the main possibilities here are that you have grown as a person and you are now more acutely aware of this quest structure, or you have so far only played portions of the game that are more of a fetch quest than others. So either there isn't much you can do, or you just need to try playing the game in a different way / with a different mindset.

With Skyward Sword you mention that the graphics are better in Windwaker, which is more of a psychological issue. Being a programmer I can catagorically tell you the graphics are NOT better in Windwaker, and the issue is entirely psychological. With objects that are meant to be more realistic (Skyward Sword) our brains are quicker to recognize how those objects are not realistic. But with objects that are more abstract (Windwaker) our brains tend to accept them as-is and not apply critical observation to them. As I recall this mental divide is related to the Uncanny Valley hypothesis, though I'm not positive. Unfortunately I'm not entirely sure how you can get around this, though once you're aware of it you might be less inclined to assume a game looks horrible.