Sorry SV & Siannah, but this will be a mostly negative post again. ;-)
The more I play, the more I feel that the system of shouts is redundant and adds little to the game. Many shouts duplicate effects already included in a school of magic, and all shouts except Dragonrend (by both its nature and significance to the plot of the main story) obviously belong to one of the schools.
Alteration: Become Ethereal, Elemental Fury (increases speed of attack), Marked For Death, Whirlwind Sprint
Conjuration: Call Dragon, Call of Valor (conjures/summons a hero)
Destruction: Clear Skies, Fire Breath, Frost Breath, Ice Form, Storm Call
Illusion: Animal Allegiance (Command), Aura Whisper (Detect), Dismay (Demoralize), Kyne's Peace (Calm), Throw Voice
Mysticism: Disarm, Slow Time, Unrelenting Force
Lesser Powers: Dragonrend
You might say: But the shouting itself is so awesome! Sure, I agree, but why not have all magic shouted, then? The impact on gameplay would be negligible because magic creates light and sound anyway, alerting nearby enemies to your presence.
And you might say: It's part of the story! Sure, but is it a good part of the story? I don't care for the whole Dragonborn, "only person in Tamriel that can stop Alduin" bit anyway. Blunt determinism (as in "destined to be the hero" storytelling) does not make for a satisfying game. At least Morrowind was subtle and ambiguous (the important bit there being that Azura chose you as her champion, whether or not you have any real link to Nerevar being ambiguous, the extent of her influence being simply getting you to Vvardenfell).
*** Thieves Guild spoilers below ***
The Thieves Guild storyline blows. Seriously.
You sell your soul to Nocturnal for nothing. More precisely, for:
1. Nocturnal's blessing of luck on the guild
Karliah claims that the success of the guild is due to Nocturnal's blessing of luck. Not only is this blunt determinism, it is blatantly contradicted by the restored influence and success your actions have brought to the guild without Nocturnal's aid.
2. the power to meet Mercer on "equal footing" (or some nonsense like that)
First and foremost, this is Karliah's mission, not mine. Sure, Mercer slit my throat or whatever when I was down to keep me from interfering with his plans, but I was on the ground and vulnerable because that bitch Karliah shot me. He did steal from the guild, making revenge a matter of guild honor, but is that motivating enough for me to sell my soul to Nocturnal for the *chance* of vengance? No.
Second, Nocturnal doesn't seem to grant any actual powers with which to defeat Mercer. Iirc, Karliah explicitly mentions that Nightingale powers won't be given until the Skeleton Key is returned to the Twilight Sepulcher (making this part of the deal nonsensical unless I misunderstand something). You could argue that Nocturnal might have subtly influenced the battle by altering the luck of the combatants, but does the f***ing Dragonborn really need her help to take down Mercer?
I would love to have an alternative: Mercer and I kill Karliah, Mercer takes the Skeleton Key and one of the Eyes and leaves Skyrim, I take one of the Eyes and assume control of the Thieves Guild, and that's that.
I'm also a bit irritated that Riftweald Manor, probably the coolest house in the game, doesn't become a player home after killing Mercer. Sure, it can be easily modded if playing on the PC, but come on: What is with Bethesda not allowing the player to buy or "inherit" homes that no longer have an owner? Same happens in Morthal: I'm Thane but can't purchase the vacant home of the people killed during the Thane quests. WTF?
Post edited December 10, 2011 by ddmuse