Regardless of how high the review scores have been for Bethesda’s sprawling fantasy RPG Skyrim, you can’t seem to move at the minute for disgruntled gamers complaining about the game being fundamentally broken. We already know that the developers are currently working on a solution patch, but as Pete Hines – the marketing boss at the company – has been tweeting, these things take time, no matter how eager everyone is for the fix.
One of the most prevalent problems is specifically frustrating PS3 users, who will be finding that progress (and increased save file size) means a consequent drop in game performance. The drop in frame rate and general slow down is explained by the fact that Skyrim doesn’t reload the world as frequently as earlier Elder Scrolls titles did – which seems a fairly simple oversight – meaning the game has to track every single item and activity for longer. That translates as too high RAM use, as the game struggles to remember everything it is being asked to, and slows down as a result.
The problem is not without possible solutions, while we wait for the patch, and the best seems to be a simple matter of regularly saving and reloading. This is admittedly not ideal, since it means frequently stop-starting, and it won’t solve any other problems, but it is a compromise that will facilitate an eased burden for the game, and increased performance for the player.
So rather than racking up continuous hours of exploring, collecting and combat, take a more episodic approach: whenever you come across a natural pause point take advantage by saving, quitting and reloading your game. This will effectively reset all of the game’s duties, and how much data it is being forced to actively manage, and allow it the freedom to concentrate on more fundamental things like performing at the promised standard.
It is frustrating to have to treat a game like some sort of injured elderly relative, considering how far technology has advanced the gaming world, but sacrifices must be made until Bethesda get the patch out.
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This article was first posted on November 18, 2011