Skyrim's Combat May Not Be Good Enough For Today's Standard

The opening moments of Skyrim were leaked today in a video, which was quickly taken down. Without the developers or PR to ensure this was healthy footage, was this raw capture exposing a dated combat system?

For the past several months, Bethesda and co. have been teasing the many delights of Skyrim, which in the most part are attributed to the capabilities of the new Creation Engine. Skyrim, as expected, is boasted as being more detailed and dynamic than any of its predecessors. Yet, the footage that many were able to see today, seems to show a combat system that belongs very much in the Gamebryo engine (Oblivion, Fallout 3, New Vegas).

What comprises this old combat system then? How about the lack of impact of your hits on the enemy. You would normally expect some kind of reaction from an enemy that you have just slashed or stabbed with a weapon, yet the only result is a simple bloodsplatter and not even a twitch from the enemy to illustrate any reception of pain or wounding. If this is truly representative of the game, then this will be a slight disappointment. It is doubtful that it ruin the game overall as there is so much else to do than just fight, but the footage certainly stands contrary to what we have been shown before in the finely tuned demonstrations.

Considering that Skyrim is being released in a highly competitive year, it seems inevitable to say that this combat system needs to be at least decent. What we have been shown will lack the satisfaction of modern combat systems seen in plenty of other games released this year. As so many games have focused on melee combat, comparisons are easy to come by.

Dead Island's combat system was visceral as each part of the zombie when struck, caused a different reaction and effect.

Dark Souls is more akin to Skyrim in its setting and style than Dead Island is, so the comparison may be more appropriate. Here we see enemies reacting to each blow delivered by the player, as well as clashing with a shield.

While it had some notable flaws, Two Worlds II boasts a fairly decent combat system, with satisfying reactions from the enemy being the highlight.

While not the most stellar to flaunt, The Witcher 2's combat can at least be described as modern.

Oh, and let's not forget one of the best combat systems ever...possibly, as seen in Batman: Arkham City.

Unfortunately, the Skyrim footage of which this article is based around cannot be shown. But the game is out very soon and so we will all see whether Bethesda are able to deliver a satisfying combat system that doesn't feel 5 years old. We may have just spotted a big problem with a big game, or it could just be deceptive. Let's hope it's the latter of course, but if not, Bethesda might want to focus making the gameplay modern and not just the visuals next time around.