Saturday, December 24, 2011

Skyrim's Ending: A Commentary

Warning: Possible spoilers ahead. If you're someone who hates spoilers and has yet to finish the Skyrim main questline, stop reading now. This blog post has the potential to make you stop playing immediately. Considered yourself warned.

This was what exactly happened a few weeks ago

I've been playing Skyrim for quite some time now, more than a month to be exact, and after completing more than hundreds of quests that effectively made me one of Skyrim's most influential person (considering that I am now the arch mage of the Winterhold college, the Thieves Guild leader, the Harbinger of the Companions, a Legate of the Imperial army, the last remaining Dark Brotherhood Listener and de facto leader and not to mention the thane of a few cities in Skyrim), today was the day where I decided that I was finally ready to step into Sovngrade and face the main bad guy in the game, Alduin, also known as the world eater.

If only the fight was half epic like this

Now being the game of the year, I had high hopes of seeing something epic when I stepped into the afterlife world of the Nords to face the leader of the dragons who also happened to be the first born of a god. After all, I had pretty good experience from the other quests and was hoping that this final battle would outshine them all.

While the entrance to Sovngrade did a very good job on building up to the mood, the full male Nord choir chanting endlessly like a war cry, coupled with meeting with the likes of Ulfric Stormcloak and Kodlak Whiteman whom passed away earlier in the game, and who are now giving the me some inspirational pep talk before the final battle, I had my hopes built up pretty high alright. Only to have them crashing down on me later.

The final battle with Alduin was one of the easiest battle I fought so far. Maybe it's because I overleveled my character or maybe it's because there's three other Nord heroes tanking for me. Either way, all I had to do was to use Dragonrend shout and keep shooting arrows from afar. No sweat. And before I knew it, Alduin was dead (dying in some dramatic way) and the world is once again saved, thanks to me of course.

Maybe I've been playing too much other games like Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but when Alduin died, I was hoping for some epic cinematic cutscenes or perhaps some major changes in the world. You know, people rejoicing, peace has finally been restored and my name would be known everywhere by now. That's not too much to ask, isn't it?

Instead, what I got was, how to put it, disappointing at best.

Sure, the ancient Nord heroes congratulated me a bit and said how songs of me would be sung forever in the halls of Sovngrade but that was it. Before I knew it the gatekeeper of Sovngrade came to me and said something about mortals not being allowed too long in the world of the dead. He added that I shouldn't be sad because I would be joining the heroes in Sovngrade when I die and I would be back in Sovngrade before I know it. Yeah right. Last time I checked, the daedric princes like Sithis, Hircine and Nocturnal all want my soul too. And that bastard even had the guts to lock up the Hall of Valor to prevent me from entering back.

The situation was not much more different when I returned to the living world. There were some dragons weeping and whining about Alduin being dead, there was also Paathurnax who say he will bring them to the Way of the Voice and there's also Odahviing who pledges his allegiance to me now. But that's it. That's the best that you can get out of the living world after you killed the entity that threatened to destroy it not so long ago.

There's no celebratory festival, no monument raised in your honor and no songs sung to commemorate your victory. Some guard even had the nerve to tell me about that arrow who took his knee. I was freaking shouted to by Alduin alright? Even the Jarl of Whiterun gave no hoots about the dragon. Like I said, disappointing.

Maybe choosing to fight the final battle in the realm of the dead isn't such a good idea after all. For starters, the only people who will be witnessing your fight are all dead and dead people can't tell the living world about the epic fight of yours. And the living people wouldn't know about it because they didn't see it. Ultimately, it's as if the Dragonborn was like Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible 4 or Captain Price in Modern Warfare 3. You fought like shit to save the world but no one knows about it because they can't. Sad life, is it? At least some recognition would have been nice.

Maybe that's the whole point. Saving the world silently like any hero would. It's a noble cause. Or maybe it's just because the guys at Bethesda need to meet their deadline.

Either way, the ending to Skyrim is disappointing, if you ask me. For a game that held so much promise throughout the storyline, you would have hoped for a better ending that would blow your breath away. One that could give a definite conclusion to the game, one that makes you feel contented that you've finally saved the world and prevented disaster.

This your face after you've seen Skyrim's ending

The current ending feels empty at best, it makes you wonder if there's something more because it looks forced and rushed. And I'm not the only one feeling this. Forums all around the web are rife with complains regarding the ending. To think that an awesome game like Skyrim would have an ending that would give the game a closure in high note is certainly not asking for too much right?

But still, Skyrim is one heck of a game. I would be playing it again using another character build and making different choices this time round to see how the game would go. And one of the choices includes not going to Sovngrade to kill Alduin because it is freaking disappointing. If you ask me, I think that the thieves guild storyline has the most depth to it. True story

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