For some time I have wanted to be a player as I am basically a full time GM. Then I got Skyrim and finally I am a player in a roleplaying game.
What makes me feel like I am a player in a roleplaying game when playing Skyrim? Here are few thoughts.
Obviously first thing in a video game you notice are graphics. They are great. Graphics help the immersion. Landscapes are stunning and you can freely run or ride from east to west, north to south and everything between freely. Also landscapes change from birch forests to snowy mountains smoothly. It's like character actually living in the world what usually in roleplaying games is a map where GM describes the details.
Character looks great and you can custom it to suit your taste. For example my orc looks more trollish with long skinny face and long hooked nose. Also warpaint and facial scars tell his history although in the beginning character is just a prisoner thrown in the world to start playing.
Details in character and armor are great and movement animation at least genre realistic. You can also choose view from the eyes to feel more like being "there" although I prefer seeing my character from third person view from behind.
Character advancement is basically choosing which you choose between health, magic points and stamina. Health and magic points are obvious and stamina is used for example for attacking and sprinting. You also get a point to but into your skill categories to gain access for more powerful skills or for dealing more damage with one handed weapons. Some are more specific for example for certain type of weapons like bigger change for critical hits with one handed swords or extra effect of bleeding for two handed axes.
There are no other characteristics what I find a good solution as it is harder to screw your character build. In example warrior not having enough strength but being unnecessarily agile.
Also as there are on classes you can freely make your own character build and change your character's advancement to different direction when ever you want.
As being a solo hero, I like this freedom. My choices make my character what I want it to be and I don't have to plan ahead too much.
In fantasy adventure roleplaying games usually combat is in great focus. In Skyrim when I play half of the time is something else but fighting but still it is in a big role. Like in pen and paper roleplaying game the story is most important but if combat rules suck it takes some fun off. Luckily there are different powers for also weapon oriented characters to use and two types of blows. Parrying is well done also. And depending on your character and playing styles there are different styles of strategies to use. And if there's a stronger opponent what keeps killing you just change your strategy and you win.
Also in pen and paper roleplaying games this is really important. Instead of just rolling to hit I want other options. If those are not listed in rules I want GM to improvise how my attack or action is rolled. Obviously I cannot throw sand in the eyes of my opponent in Skyrim but different styles and strategies in combat give me enough feel of choices.
Even if you don't start conversation with them they might speak to you when passing by. Or you can hear two or more NPCs talking with each other. Sometimes you see NPCs doing something you think is important for adventuring but they are just doing their thing and don't have nothing to say to you. Not every NPC is there for you to get something. They are just people living there.
There is plenty of voice acting. Some are great, some hilarious. But every single word any NPC speak is voice acted and it is great. Game masters, do voice acting. If not totally changing your voice, at least change your tone. It makes a difference.
-to be continued. On mobile and text feed slowed down. Fearing that memory is drained and post lost. Stay tuned-