So many of you out there probably have immersed yourselves into hours/days/weeks/months/years playing as the Dragonborn in the colossal waste of time known as Skyrim. The fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls franchise that takes place in the titular northern province of the land known as Tamriel.
A while back, I had read up online that some people with the game on PC discovered that when you put the game on "god mode" or whatever the mod is that allows you to move about the map like it was a Sim City board, that the guys and gals at Bethesda really went full boar on the attention to detail...to the extent that they actually laid out the ENTIRE land of Tamriel into the game, and went so far as to put in some of the more well-known landmarks like the Imperial City's White-Gold Tower and the Red Mountain from Morrowind and Oblivion. Now I have invested many....um...years into Skyrim (My wife was in Atlanta for 8 months, what else was there to do?) but having the game on Xbox 360, I kind of was downtrodden with the idea that I wouldn't be able to see these sites with a solid console game...
...Until a couple of days ago when I discovered that yes, those of us who want to see said landmarks outside of the realm of Skyrim can do so on the console versions. I was dicking around, the southern part of the province when I came across one of the border gates which led to a lot of people thinking major DLC's would be on the way. I have found some of these border gates before, one down near Riften and the other on the far western boundarie between Markarth and Solitude. This one in particular was new to me and was located just south of the Southfridge Sanctum. From this gate, I managed to jump and climb up the side of the rock wall to the gate's right which allowed me to shimmy up and eventually over the gate with relative ease. What I saw on the other side was pretty cool..
...It felt like you were in Middle Earth, or on the fringe of an area you weren't meant to be (probably because it was). The music eventually fades out and the graphics slowly lose their quality but you are greeted by giant, steep sloping hillsides which look like something you would see in Glacier National Park. Continue down the slope and you begin to see the green plains of Cyrodiil below you, and then eventually, out in the middle of water stood the Gold-White Tower of the Imperial City. It's actually pretty impressive, low quality in graphics but it makes up for it in size. I tried to head towards it and eventually the land gave way and I "fell" through some of the slopes the further I got away from Skyrim and eventually landed in water which I assume makes up the base level of the map design. I had these water-walking boots I got from the Dragonborn DLC so I just kept walking to see if there was anything else I could find...something that took me TWO NIGHTS of dicking around to conclude...
I got to the tower, it's kind of just 3/4 of a face, and kind of disappears from view if you head south of the city...which I did. In fact, as I was feeding my son his late-night meal I decided to just march to the f-ing ocean...so I kept marching down to the Topal Sea and then eventually made my way out to the open water. I looked back and the mountains of Skyrim were still visible, it was like looking back at the Grand Tetons, so give the game designers credit for authenticity. So now I'm at the southernmost point of the continent, I decided to head west to see if they had added in things like Hammerfell and Summerset Isle. Hammerfell is there and Valenwood, and I'm pretty sure the Black Marsh is there too (when you just cross the gate you can tell it's a deep dark green area to the left of you). I wanted to see if I could make my way back around to Skyrim via the sea so I kept walking, and walking and walking hoping I came across something that would make me get mentioned in a future article on Cracked.com but alas, I didn't find anything other than "hollow" landscapes. Eventually I made it up to where Hammerfell and High Rock is located ('I'm looking at a map, I don't know these places off my head) and found some solid ground again which eventually led me to the northern shores and back around to Solitude. I picked up a doll for my adopted daughter while I was there to make the trip somewhat worthwhile.
The next night was a little more involved. I went back to the gate and hopped over it, this time however instead of heading into the valley below, I made my way west which is still heavily populated with craggy mountains. The music and weather still play as well since you are still fairly close to the playing board. Again pretty neat and you can still glance down at the valley below to the Imperial City if you chose. Ultimately I made it to a grassy/woodsy valley which I was pretty sure was the area behind the gate near Riften and from here could see the entire province of Morrowwind as well as the Red Mountain volcano situated on Vvardenfell. I tried to walk out to this but like the previous night, the solid ground gave way and I fell down to a water level again. I headed north, hoping to see if I could hike north of the Red Mountain to the Island Solstheim. Since I had the Dragonborn DLC, I was hoping that the actual island and landscape would be there, however it wasn't...Solstheim IS there though, just naked and hollow across from the mountain...it's neat to note though that on the Skyrim map that where the arrow is marked on how to jump to Solstheim, that on the map it's physically accurate to where the island is located and not just a small icon to jump you to another map.
Anyways from here I headed west, in the distance you could see two icebergs which are on the northernmost part of the map if you venture out into the arctic. So i walked towards them and began to see the giant block that is the College at Winterhold so i knew I was on the right track. Coincidently if you want to see the Red Mountain for yourself, it's visible in the haze from the Serpent Stone's island.
So that's what I did on my little adventure...I think I've done everything there is to do on the game with the exception of the Dawnguard DLC (is that any good?) Something you can check out for yourselves if you get bored and want to see stuff that isn't supposed to be seen.