Avowed Already Fixes One of Skyrim's Biggest Problems (2024)

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New gameplay footage of Obsidian's Avowed reveals one of the ways it will distinguish itself from Skyrim.

Avowed Already Fixes One of Skyrim's Biggest Problems (1)By Matthew Byrd | |

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Avowed Already Fixes One of Skyrim's Biggest Problems (2)

From the moment that Obsidian Entertainment’s (The Outer Worlds, Fallout: New Vegas) Avowed project was revealed, fans have been calling it the studio’s take on Skyrim and the rest of The Elder Scrolls series. However, the reality of the situation is a little more complicated. Not only has Xbox’s Phil Spencer tried to downplay those comparisons in the past, but previews of Avowed have made it clear that Obsidian’s title is going to be much smaller than any modern Elder Scrolls game. Those expecting Avowed to be The Elder Scrolls 6 before The Elder Scrolls 6 should adjust their expectations now.

Even still, there are obvious similarities between Avowed and The Elder Scrolls. Both come from acclaimed RPG studios, both are set in sword-and-sorcery medieval worlds, and, despite Elder Scrolls‘ third-person options, both emphasize first-person combat and exploration. So far as that last part goes, Avowed may have already addressed one of Skyrim‘s biggest problems.

In a new trailer for Avowed revealed during a recent Xbox livestream, Obsidian representatives discussed and showcased Avowed‘s gameplay much more freely than they have in the past. In fact, the team spent a surprising amount of time highlighting Avowed‘s combat system during that presentation.

It’s not hard to see why. Not only will Avowed‘s combat allow you to swap between various weapons and abilities (including guns) on the fly, but it will encourage you to mix-and-match combat strategies to account for the strengths and weaknesses of the enemies you face. As Avowed gameplay director Gabrial Paramo notes, Avowed is more than just “hacking and slashing.” Instead, it will force players to make “real-time decisions about when to use your abilities.”

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That wording seems to be very deliberate. While the Avowed team has made it clear that they’re not directly competing with Skyrim, that section of the trailer does seem to be at least a wink toward some of the ways that Avowed will at least offer an alternative to Bethesda’s RPG juggernaut.

See, for as incredible as Skyrim was, the game always suffered from its somewhat outdated combat system that was built upon the previous Elder Scrolls games. While Skyrim‘s combat is much more action-packed and “forgiving” than older Elder Scrolls titles, it was still based on a pretty traditional form of RPG combat. Attacks, blocks, dodges, and spell casts were more often representative of a series of stat checks and invisible dice rolls than the reflective actions of the player.

There are various Skyrim mods out there that help the game’s combat feel more dynamic and engaging, but they ultimately build upon a foundational system that can only be modified so much without starting from scratch. It’s no wonder that so many Skyrim players turn to the famous “Stealth Archer” build that allows them to effectively one-shot many of the game’s enemies. Until you become hilariously overpowered in Skyrim, the game’s combat is often a slog.

Obsidian’s desire to offer more dynamic combat feels especially welcome in a post-Elden Ring world where we are all perhaps a little more aware of how much genuinely engaging moment-to-moment combat can enhance the little moments in even the most epic adventures. Parts of Avowed’s combat even remind me of the dynamic and compelling sword-and-sorcery combat featured in the brilliant 2006 fantasy title Dark Messiah of Might & Magic. Of course, that game never allowed you to dual-wield magical wands as Avowed will let you do.

While I hope that Avwoed won’t trade in too much of Obsidian’s RPG brilliance for more dynamic action, it’s at least nice to see some of the ways that the game is prepared to distinguish itself from its famous spiritual competition. We’ll all have the chance to see if Avowed lives up to the hype when the game is released for Xbox Series X/S and Windows PC in Fall 2024.

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Avowed Already Fixes One of Skyrim's Biggest Problems (3)

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Matthew Byrd|@SilverTuna014

Matthew Byrd is Games Editor at Den of Geek and an entertainment enthusiast living in Brooklyn. When he's not exploring the culture of video games, he's…

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Avowed Already Fixes One of Skyrim's Biggest Problems (2024)

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