Friday, October 25, 2013

Top 5 Pokémon That Need an Evolution

In the light of everyone playing Pokemon the last 1,5 weeks (and by everyone I mean at least 0,0056% of the world population the first two days after release!) I thought it could be fun to do some more Pokemon themed posts around here. I love lists and I love Pokemon, so it's a match made in heaven. I have plans for a couple of lists, but we'll see how many I get around to actually doing before things get too hectic around here. The lists I have planned are pretty common, but the beautiful thing about Pokemon is that everyone has their own opinion about them. There are so many of them by now that eventhough there will always be the obvious favorites, such as mean ass looking Charizard and Mewtwo, most of us have that obscure Pokemon we love for our own personal reasons. Or not, there are plenty of Pokemon out there that truly annoy me or that I plain don't understand the point of (Vanillite, I am looking at you). So there is a lot to be said about Pokemon for sure and I thought I'd get started with my own Top 5 of Pokemon that need an evolution. I will point out though that I haven't included the most recent X&Y addition to the Pokedex in my lists, simply because I don't feel like I am familiar enough with those Pokemon to have made up my mind regarding most of them. Maybe some time in the far future I will do an updated lists where they are included. Until then, I've focused on the first five generations.

Whereas I agree that not all Pokemon need or should have an evolution and that think that there are several that work very well on their own (like Pinsir) without throwing in anything extra, I've chosen to add Pokemon on this list that simply feel a bit uncomplete the way they are.

5. Luvdisc

Almost Luvdisc -

The funny thing about Luvdisc is that I thought it had an evolution all along in Gorebyss, it was only until recently I somehow figured out or was told that they're not in any way related (well, at least they're not in the same family). Gorebyss is another Pokemon entirely, with its own evolutionary tree, but it totally looks like an evolution to Luvdisc, you have to agree! They're both pink, fishy-faced Pokemon, and Gorebyss sort of has that heart thing going on with its head, it just looks like, you know, it evolved into something a bit more than what Luvdisc is. Instead, Gorebyss evolves from Clamperl, which just seems weird. Clamperl could go into some other family somewhere, maybe as a baby Pokemon to Shellder/Cloyster. Alomola is another Pokemon that looks a lot like it could have something to do with Luvdisc. It's almost like they sent out a PM to several designers with the same instructions, and these three Pokemon is what came out of it. They just decided to run with all three of them separately rather than combining them into one family, which just means us players can't tell them apart and give none of them the light of day. I think the reason I put Luvdisc on this list is mainly because it really feels like it fits together perfectly with Gorebyss and/or Alomola, and as soon as I found out it has nothing to do with that Pokemon, it felt so lost and lonely somehow.

How are they not related? -

4. Relicanth

I bet it has a great personality -

In a way it's silly of me to put Relicanth on this list, since the animal it is based on - the Coelacanth - hasn't evolved in millions of years. Logically then neither should Relicanth. As a Pokemon however, I've always felt like Relicanth would be the perfect first stage to something that turns into something completely else, like a synonym of the Magikarp evolution line if you like. Relicanth would be the humble, subtle Pokemon to do this, as a contrast to Magikarps goofy, derpiness, and of course whatever evolution Relicanth would end up with has to mirror this as well, turning the "personality" of the Pokemon completely around just like Gyarados does for Magikarp. As it is now, Relicanth just feels too awkward, like a social misfit that huddles in the corner of a party. He deserves an awesome evolution that would open peoples eyes to what a cool Pokemon Relicanth is himself.

Art imitates life -

3. Shuckle

At least he's not a lamp -

Shuckle is one of the weirdest looking Pokemon if you ask me, and it has some great contenders. I've always seen it as some sort of turtle, but if you look closely it looks more like a worm that lives inside a hollow stone. And Shuckle? That has to be a sarcastic name given considering that the only facial expression I've ever seen on Shuckles face is anything but happy. Shuckle is probably what you do when you first see it, nothing else. To me, Shuckle is actually a pretty cool Pokemon. He has a very original look and feels like he holds much potential. As a bug/rock Pokemon he also combines two types that I rarely end up using, and Shuckle could definitely make up for that if only he responded to me somehow. Right now I feel like he's just not interesting enough to play with, which might come down to personal taste, but I'd love it if they managed to up his game a bit by giving him a more elaborate style in an evolution. I think it's sad that he somehow feels like he's designed to be made fun of rather than to actually use seriously, maybe an evolution could remedy that.

Not my ideas, but it's getting there (maybe a bit too much like Octillery) -

2. Weezing
The only Pokemon on this list to be an evolution himself, Koffing and Weezing are among my favorite Pokemon-families (similar to Grimer and Muk). They are similar in many ways, both families having cool designs and awesome naming choices. But whereas Muk feels like a final evolution to me, I never thought so about Weezing, I always felt like he should continue on to something even cooler. Maybe it's that unfinished little head poking out at his side that gave me the unfinished feeling, maybe something completely else. How to go about it, I am not sure. Just adding yet another tiny head would just be silly (or would it?), so something else has to be done of course. Maybe it should be called something along the lines of Huffing or Gasping and have yet another hue of purple. I don't think there should be any limbs, that too would just look silly, but maybe something else protruding to signify that it is yet another stage in the evolution. It will never happen I am sure, and maybe the main reason I want Weezing to have another evolution is because I want to see more of him in the newer games (same with Muk and Grimer). Maybe what he really needs is in fact a Mega-Evolution? *mind blown*

Faces only a mother can love -

1. Dunsparce 

He is cute though -

Good old Dunsparce, I'm not sure what the designer of this Pokemon thought when creating it, because to me there is no other Pokemon that looks more intentionally designed to have at least one evolution than this Pokemon. The name seems to be made up of combining the words Dunce and Sparce, hinting that this Pokemon isn't good for anything on its own. In all honesty, to me it doesn't even look like a stage 1 Pokemon, this could've easily been a baby Pokemon with its underdeveloped wings (?), unopened eyes and what look like little feeler-teeth. It's like the designer wasn't even sure what it was supposed to be or end up as, it's tagged as a land snake, but has wings (?) for some reason and doesn't have much of a snake shape if you ask me. And it's normal-type, the most insipid and boring type of all the types imo. I've always thought that the feeler-teeth were some sort of teeth, but in X&Y I discovered that the blue part is actually its chin so that the feeler-teeth must be more of some sort of feeler-beard. In any case, Dunsparce makes no sense whatsoever, and not because he is stupidly designed like so many Pokemon that just seem to be a Pokemon-form of some sort of piece of furniture or the like (Rotom for instance), but because he is so incomplete and confusing. Dunsparce needs to be explained, and the best way to do that is to give him an evolution (or two) that would show off what Dunsparce is all about anyway. Just Google "Dunsparce" for many great ideas.

Like this one -

I think the reason I care so much about Dunsparce is because he has a much bigger role in the most recent Pokemon: Mystery Dungeon, that I've played a lot. In it, they've given him the personality of a shy kind of nobody who constantly doubts his own skills and questions his worth. It made me really feel for the guy, because he always compares himself to the cooler looking Pokemon, and even the other lame looking Pokemon like Weedle know that they're going to turn into something cool eventually. Right now Dunsparce seems to be designed around being to turn into something cool, without actually being able to do so, and I definitely think he deserves more attention and love from the designers.

What Pokemon do you think need more attention or evolutions?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pokémon X & Y - First Impressions

The following post includes some spoilers, no story spoilers though.

It must've been around 1998 that I first got my hands on a Pokemon game. Because I was a bit late onto the scene, and thus had a general idea of what to expect, I wasn't blown away by it in the sense of discovering just how awesome the game was - I already knew how awesome the game was and all the fun I had lying in store for me. It did not let me down. It was only the beginning of a long love story to a game franchise that has managed to keep me entertained throughout the years, I don't think there is any Pokemon game (in the original series) that I dislike and I couldn't even say which one I like the most (although of course the first one has a special place in my and many other peoples heart for many good reasons). I bought, traded and played with the TCG for years (and only really stopped because I didn't have anyone else to play with). I bought the stickers, the plush animals, went to the cinema to see the first movie (and get my promo card) and bought many of the spin-off games as well. Naturally, when I first heard about Pokemon X & Y, the first real 3d pokemon game, somewhere this spring 2013, I was very, very excited. Partly because it was another pokemon game, and the news of that alone would have me jumping with glee, and partly because of the prospect of maybe getting to experience what pokemon fans over the world have been asking for ever since the first game was released (and games like Pokemon Stadium showed us the potential of) - pokemons fighting it off in actual 3d graphics.

Soooo pretty... -

During what felt like an endless wait, I had a lot of time to think about the new game. I intentionally and intently tried to avoid any and all information about it, eventhough my curiousity got the best of me a few times (I just had to check out what the Megavolutions to Venusaur, Charizard and Blastoise looked like). Still, in the world of global information it is almost impossible to not get at least small scraps of information forced onto you every now and then, and so screen shots and trailers soon found their way to me. I definitely liked what I saw, and had no doubt in my mind it was going to be yet another awesome Pokemon, but I didn't get the feeling it was going to blow my mind in the way some people were hoping for. In all honesty I didn't think what little I saw seemed all that different from Black & White, where they also played a bit with perspectives, and so I prepared myself to be swept away as always, but not enraptured.

Now that I've had a chance to actually try out the game that I've been waiting for most of the year - what do I think? Is it everything it promised? Is it "just" good or completely awesome? Was I wrong to doubt it, even a little?

Interestingly enough, after ~20 hours and three gyms of gaming (which would've been more had I not had a 24 hour work shift this weekend!), this experience so far is very similar to my first experience with the first game. Back then I too knew already roughly what to expect and how good the game was. I was still blown away by how much fun and how much cooler the game turned out to actually be when I started playing it. My short review of Pokemon X (which is the copy I have) would be to say about the same thing. After five generations I had a pretty good idea of what the game was going to be and how much fun I was going to have. And with previous games Pokemon has always delivered pretty much that. But this time around I was amazed and thrilled at how much better than my expectations the game turned out to actually be. Eventhough it is basically exactly the same as it has been since the first game 17 years ago, Pokemon still manages to surprise me. That's not to say it is perfect. Pokemon is delivering the same experience it always has, only prettier and a little bit better, but everything good that comes with that (why change a winning formula) means whatever annoyed you about the old games probably still is around to annoy you. I use the word "annoy" very lightly however, as even the things I dislike the most in the game (I'll get to that shortly) never get distracting enough to take away any of the fun of the game as a whole.

Not everything is better in 3d -

First of all, the game is pretty. I had my doubts about how cool and aesthetically pleasing the new 3d graphics could possibly be, but let me tell you that they are definitely a lot better and awesome than I at least had assumed. Everything from the crisp Pokemon 3d models, the pretty colors of the different skills the Pokemon use (which, of course, are almost entirely same old as previous games) to the fact that people in the world around you now have some moving animations, are pure eye candy. Just the fact that the battle screen now has some sort of background makes me care less about the fact that there still is practically as little interaction between the pkmn as in the first games. I thought the difference between Black & White and X & Y wouldn't be big, but going back to the previous generation now you see just how big the differences are - Black & White, which I when I first played it thought was beautiful, looks boring in comparison. I'm the last one to say that graphics is a particularly important part to the fun of a game, but with X & Y I can say it is definitely enhancing the experience. And I do feel, at least so far, that they've done a good job getting the most out of it, the areas you walk through feel varied and don't feel like "just another patch of grass or cave", waht could quickly be the case in older games. The 3d effect isn't in use everywhere in the game, and that doesn't bother me as I at the moment play with it off anyway to save on battery time. I can only imagine with Nintendo launching their 2ds almost at the same time, the idea isn't to play with much 3d effects in any case, but where it is active it does a good job further enhancing the beautiful graphics.

Random Snorlax to brighten your day -

So let's talk a bit about what's probably the most important aspect to the game - the gameplay. Of course, even without having to go into any details regarding the story line, old players will know exactly what to expect. This to me doesn't have to be a bad thing at all, and in pkmn we know it to be a winning concept. I am sure more people would be outraged about any changes than there are whiners out there at the moment complaining about pkmn never changing. As usual, the differences and betterments lie in the details instead. One of the first thing I noticed, and am really happy about, is the sheer amount of different pkmn that seem to be present in the game. Something that used to annoy me in older games was that the starting areas always had the same two-three pkmn to encounter, and overall I always wanted more of the total amount to be easily available in the game (by easily I mean without having to trade and the like). X & Y seem to have taken this to heart, having me almost wish instead that there were less pkmn in this game (!). If you're a collector or completionist of any kind, which I'm fortunately not, you'll have your work cut out for you. It feels like every new grass patch I come to holds at least five pkmn I haven't even seen before and reaching the goal to "catch em all" has never felt as fun, at least to me. The best thing about it is that it allows you to start out with a varied group of pkmn right from the start, whereas older games only offered you so many - I feel like the replay value is possibly the highest in this game, a lot because of this.

Pkmn has never been as online as it is with this installment either, allowing easy access to other pkmn players all over the world, or just your neighborhood friends if you prefer, for trading, fighting and comparing of pkmn. Some features are truly fun to engage in, like Wonder Trade where you offer any pkmn for trade and get a random unknown from someone else in the world in return. Completely relying on the generosity of other people I've been unlucky enough to get Weedles and lucky enough to get Froakies, it's a lottery that's easy to get stuck in.

Pokémon have dabbled in 3d before -

The new o-power system is another feature that I'm having a lot of fun with. O-powers can be anything from a temporary bonus to attack power to extra catch rate that you can either give to yourself or anyone else in the world. Each power takes some energy to give, of which you have a limited amount that slowly recharges over time, and giving to yourself costs a lot more than giving to someone else. It has made me and the bf shout out requests to eachother and allowing the other person to save you in a pinch - I'll ask for some healing when I am in a gym and close to death for instance. Every now and then you'll receive a power from some random stranger in the world, and I do occasionally throw out some powers, since using them is the only way to level them and thus increasing their bonuses. The cooldown on the powers makes them just the kind of fun bonus without being overpowered that I think the developers were after, and it is extra fun that the function promotes generosity towards others rather than hogging.

This game does of course, as the other games in the series, have a couple of mini games to engage in and throw time into. For the first time ever I can say that these are some that I am actually interested in and have fun with. In earlier games I would always try them out, be it beauty contests or poké blocks, but they were never anything for me. In this game we've got features that not only are more fun, they can actually affect your pkmn in game in a way that make them a lot more interesting, at least to me, than previous mini games. Through Pokemon-Amie you can pat, smack (yepp, you can be a cruel pkmn trainer too), feed or play mini games with any pkmn in your party in a sort of Tamagotchi style feature. Other peoples pkmn can come visit in your decorateable pkmn room and leave you more gifts to further decorate your room with. In the Super Training you can have your pkmn complete different training mini games that actually affect its stats in game. I am not sure how "game breaking" this could be, but I know there are already lengthy discussions on forums all over the internet on how to best do your training, where to put your points and other things that makes me think of Elitis Jerks. Just as with pvp in a game like World of Warcraft, this is entirely optional and nothing you have to put any time into if you don't feel like it to enjoy the game, but I feel like they make more sense and more worthwhile the way they have been implemented in this game than in previous games.

We're still waiting for this though -

You can now also change the way your character looks. So what, was my first thought, since I normally don't put much effort into what my avatar looks like in other RPG-like games. I'm one of those people who clicks "randomize" a couple of times to get it over with. Never would I have thought that it'd be this much fun to play dress up doll with your own character in X & Y however. At first I didn't think I'd ever want to spend money on the clothes and accessories that are available to you in different clothing stores, because they don't actually make any difference. Except it is so much fun to try out clothes, and I instantly turn into a 5 year old playing with Barbies again when I enter the stores. The new pretty 3d graphics definitely add to the fun of this and especially it will turn out to be a great thing to use your money on later in the game, since piling money usually turned out to be a "problem" in older games.

Before I say anything else, because now I'll be saying a word or two about a couple of things I like less about the game, I would like to emphasize just how awesome and fun X & Y has turned out to be to me. The following things I'm mentioning now are to considered minor issues, things I simply wish they would've done a bit differently. They're still not bad enough to actually ruin much of the actual gameplay.

Firstly, this game probably has the worst music out of all the games in the series. That's not to say that it is in any way bad, just not as good as it could've been or as some tunes in the older games. Of course I love just about every tune in Red & Blue for nostalgic reasons, but even Black & White (and all the other older games) had at least some tunes I really loved. Especially battle tunes need to be good, since you get to hear them so often. X & Y are not delivering the same great and fun tunes that older games did, unfortunately. One tune in a city I've just come to even made me nauseous (!) so that I felt like I had to mute the game for the duration of my stay. That's an extreme example and I could still come across something great since I have a lot left of the game. So far however they're mostly just bland and a bit boring. Sound effects are great however, and the differents sounds the pkmn make have never sounded better while still being true to the original.

And with the new "Live Competition" come the people who take it way too seriously -

Secondly, the pkmn games have always suffered from being a bit too easy. I think most people can recognize themselves in being able to burn through most gyms with just one or two pkmn one shotting every competition. This is how things like the Nuzlocke challenge came to be, basically putting restrictions on yourself to up the challenge of the game. To me this has generally not been much of a problem. I usually play with and try to level six different pkmn already from the start, which has kept me fairly close to the levels of the people I am encountering. Pkmn has never been challenging to me until perhaps Pokémon League, but challenging enough. What I have a problem with however is the AI of the trainers, which I've always wished would've been at least somewhat better. When a trainer uses the same worthless skill twice or more it makes me sad, and I feel like it would've really upped the fun of the game if trainers actually seemed to have some sort of tactical thinking. I'm not sure why Game Freak has decided to let every trainer in the pkmn world remain a block head, but they still pretty much are. Why couldn't at least the gym trainers be a bit smarter?

Thirdly, I really wish they would've implemented more than one save by now. Or at least some way to allow you to save pkmn from an older playthrough. I don't know how many times I've picked up an old pkmn game, started it up and decided not to play it after all because I couldn't find it in my heart to delete the pkmn that were on it, and all the memories of the playthrough with them (or so it feels). Don't underestimate how much you emotionally invest yourself in those little pixels (now polygons), just erasing them is such a difficult choice that I rarely have the strength to take it. This, and only this, has removed a lot of the replay value of the games to me, and it feels like a simple thing to solve. With X & Y, Nintendo have promised a sort of cloud save feature which will allows us to upload our pkmn to their servers. This way I can store whatever pkmn I want to keep after I'm done with my current playthrough, keeping them safe while I erase the other data. The problem with this is that it comes with a fee, admittedly quite a low fee, but still nothing I might want to pay for years to come (and will the feature even be available for that long?). It can go five years before I decide to pick the game back up to play again, and I just wish Nintendo gave me a simpler way to store my pkmn in the long term. The solution they have now is great for the actively playing, but I don't think it's a good solution for the future. It's a minor issue, admittedly, but also one I think they could solve pretty easily, and it would really make a nostalgic sod like me incredibly happy if I could store the pkmn in my gameboy (NDS), or something along those lines.

I'm not sure much more needs to be said about this game, I am certain most of you are playing it already. If you aren't and have any interest in the pkmn series, this game will definitely give you many hours of fun and is definitely worth the money. So far I think it's great, it has been surprising me around every corner and the gameplay is every bit as familiar but improved to make it an awesome experience. Now if you excuse me, I need to get back to playing, I've been spending too much time writing this post already.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Skyrim just isn't that good

Every now and then I feel entitled to some whining, and I feel like today is just such a day - the weather is boringly gray, I've probably got too low blood sugar and not enough sleep. In any case, it's the perfect time for me to hammer down on some of the things I just don't like about Skyrim. And the reason I am going to do this is because of all the hype and thrilled comments I had heard and read about it before I decided to give it a try myself. Now, I've played games before that were well received and that I simply didn't enjoy - Bastion is one example. But in most cases I can at least write it down to the game just not being my kind of game, I can see what other people like about and still not enjoy it myself, that happens. It's different with Skyrim though. I am enjoying Skyrim and think it's a moderately fun way to spend an hour here or there. But there are so many things wrong about this game, fundamentally annoying if you like, that I honestly wonder how it could make it to anyones "omg this game is the shizz omgomg"-list. Do they not notice these problems? Are they not also annoyed by them? It's not just that they are annoying, they are ruining a lot of the fun and especially immersion of the game - at least if you ask me. So far I've played more than 70 hours of this game, which I know compared to some is close to nothing, but I think I have a pretty good idea of what is wrong and needs to be fixed about this game now. I do play it mod-less, and as an avid mod user in WoW I understand that mods can alter the feeling of a game quite a lot, and also remove many of the annoyances that the original game creators lovingly have left in there. But still. This is what the game looks like and that's what I am going to judge it on. Maybe I should get more specific about what I am talking about before I let this rant run really wild.

Some of you will recognize these issues, and if you have any familiarity with other Bethesda games I am sure you know what I will complain about. There are a couple of problems that run like a theme through many of Bethesdas latest games, the things I will talk about here I know are also prevalent in Oblivion and Fallout3 for instance.

That pretty much looks exactly like my current character -

Let's start with the predictability of the game. Skyrim is a big place and there are really very many things to discover and do in it. So far so good. But although I've been running around for the above mentioned good 70 hours of the game, I don't really feel like I've been going anywhere. It's not just that everything looks the same, beautiful and snowy - I don't mind that. Rather than just the visual aspect, what keeps making me think like I just made a u-turn wherever I go, or like I'm stuck in a hamster wheel, is the way people and animals around me react. Almost every inn keeper will greet me with roughly the same words, not to mention almost every inn looks exactly the same. The cities have their jarls, the abandoned castles have their house squatting forsworn/draugr/bandits which although they carry different names all react the exact same way - they will attack you. What is up with that anyway? I strongly dislike that I know exactly what will happen before I even get close to the area. If I know there is a giant ahead of me, I know what he will do and if I see a bear I know what that is going to do. Wolves attack me like they've all been starved for two weeks regardless of where I am. I'd expect and accept this kind of simpleton AI in a playstation game, but not in a game like Skyrim that is trying to fool me into thinking that I am actually running around in a vibrant and living world where things go on their merry lives regardless of if I am around or not. Right now I more often get the feeling they're standing around just waiting for me to show up so they can hit the start button on their script.

Setting aside monotonous animal behavior, I can forgive that, people in Skyrim are way to one sided for what the game is trying to be. I understand that with that many NPC in the world you couldn't possibly give them all the backstory and personality worthy of a Kafka novel but I have yet to come across even one NPC in the game that I thought felt alive and interesting and a bit real. I've felt more emotions about a couple of pixels in old SNES games than I do for probably every NPC in Skyrim combined.

The castles/dungeons/caves that you come across also all follow a generic formula. Go into one and you have literally experienced them all, or close to. If I encounter someone who claims they need help along the road, I know it will mean I am going to be ambushed by bandits. After more than 70 hours I have done two quests that were a bit interesting - one with an abandoned lighthouse and one where I infiltrated a party. I want more of this! Right now Skyrim offers quantity of quality and most of the time I find myself running around desperately trying to find the raisins in the cake (ok, no one wants the raisins, but you get the idea). In that sense it resembles grinding in WoW - do this boring stuff for X hours and you might be rewarded with something cool/fun/actually interesting. I never did grinding much in WoW, and I can't say I'm a big fan of it in Skyrim either. My bf often looks at my screen asking me what the game actually is about, commenting things like "all I ever see you do is run somewhere". And yeah, that is often it. I run somewhere, often towards a quest, find a cave, explore that and kill the bear/bugs/bandits in there, find some item in the end I don't need and continue towards my quests. Rinse and repeat. This exploration part of the game could've been so damn good and it just isn't, leaving me frustratingly disappointed.

Let's talk a bit more about the AI in the game that I briefly mentioned already. The AI in the game is so bad, I barely have words for it (but I am sure I can find some). I don't even know where to start. How about the fact that most people I revisit tend to say the exact same things to me every dang time I see them. A while ago there was a very popular meme going around about how so many NPCs in Skyrim where complaining about their arrows in their knees. I loved that meme and was almost sad when I heard they had patched it away, but there are still tons of similar things like it in the game. I happen to sell a lot of my stuff to the vendor in Riverwood, and every time I open that door I know he is going to greet me with a thank you for "taking care of those bandits". Yeah, that was early game I did that for him, I am sure you don't have to mention it and thank me for it every time I enter this shop, especially not considering how often I do it. And it's just not that the one NPC will be repetative, if I enter a city, or any place with a handful of people, I am sure to hear the phrase "you don't look well, are you sure you are ok?" at least every five minutes. If I was any amount of immersed in this game right now, I'd be extremely freaked out by the way people are behaving towards me.

So ok if they can't have too many options for random NPCs around the world, but they clearly haven't made any effort to fix this with the NPCs you meet and hang around for a great amount of time. Worst of all is of course the companion, in my case Lydia. I have made fun of her many times on Twitter. Here is some random Lydia stats;

82% of the time she will say "Oh look a cave, wonder what's in it" just after we've exited and completed said cave. Not once has she said that before we entered.
91% of the time she will stand in a doorway or otherwise obstruct my path, not moving until I am forced to actually punch her out of the way. I've had her stand on things I've tried to move around more often than not. When she stands behind me however she often says "oh" and tries to get out of my way.
86% of the time she will repeatedly walk into the same trap, nearly killing herself in the process.
35% of the time she will throw herself in front me when I am swinging my weapon meaning I've had to reload the save because I killed her.
100% of the time she will say "what, you're a priest?" when I am healing her. EVERY TIME. No Lydia, I am still not a priest. I am trying to keep you from killing yourself (after walking into that same trap five times)!

Lydia is so annoying that if she wasn't such a good mule to me (with literally the intelligence to compare), I would've locked her into a deep dungeon a long, long time ago.

A troll ey? Use tactic "flail your axe around" to win.

Another thing that always freaks me out are how random people will spill random quotes to me in the streets. Maybe it's my swedishness shining through here, as we tend to think people who randomly talk to you in the street also irl are weird, but I wonder - is there any place where this isn't considered really creepy? I walk past someone and they will just blurt out "my husband likes them blueberry pies, I will make him one later". Ok, do I know you madam? I have a kid who stands in my house in Riverwood, and whenever I enter she will stand by the door saying "I'm not afraid of you" and leave. WHO ARE YOU AND GET OUT OF MY HOUSE! This happens every time, or at least nine times out of ten. Surely there must be better ways to make a world feel alive than to have every non-important NPC be something of a creepy stalker.

Lastly, let's talk about the physics of the game. Again, something that Bethesda is well known for is their seeming incompetence regarding game physics, leading to a vast amount of youtube videos titled "Hilarious Game Glitches in Skyrim/Oblivion/other Bethesda game" where you can see NPCs of varying sorts flail around the air like they're part of some Lovecraft game or a David Lynch tv-series. In fact, "Physics Glitch Skyrim" is the top choice when I do a Youtube search on "Physics Glitch", that without having done any search on the subject before. This is because of something I think people call "ragdoll physics", and is far from exclusive to Bethesda games, I've seen it last in games like GTA V. Now, without googling or anything, something in the back of my head tells me ragdoll physics first turned up in Half-Life, but I could easily be very wrong about that. Either way I know that to me, ragdoll physics have gone from something cool making things look more realistic to something silly, making things look mostly very unrealistic. Like I said, Bethesda is far from the only game developer to use this type of physics, they just seem particularly inept at it. The idea is to get inanimate but non-stiff objects, mostly dead bodies, to act a bit more realistic by making them move when you move them rather than just hitting rigor mortis the second they die. The idea is good obviously, but it's far from perfected and sometimes so badly implemented I think I would've preferred the stiff option. Thanks to ragdoll physics, you can have bodies lie and twitchingly "interact" with the ground for ages until the physics engine has decided its in a position where it should lie still. Too often the physics engine is just not clever enough to make this call and you end up with bodies behaving very, very oddly.

I'm not sure how they could fix this, but I know that the end result is a feeling that every body, regardless of size or type (wolf to human to dragon) feels like it doesn't have enough weight to it and like their limbs are just randomly attached and so can go in any direction. All this of course does not help me get into the feeling that I am handling anything real at all, instead it is so unrealistic it just mostly ends up feeling absurd and laughable. Which are great ingredients for spoiling what otherwise could've been a really cool death scene after a fierce and demanding battle. The way it is now I definitely prefer the monotonous deaths of a game like WoW, where each type of creature has its one death animation, over the random results that ragdoll physics can throw in your face, because honestly it looks bad more often than not.