For the last six years, my Skyrim wood elf has been stuck in some godforsaken cave in goodness knows what corner of Tamriel. I don’t remember why they were there, or what goal they were trying to achieve. It was just ‘one of those caves’ that looked cool and interesting when I came across it and I thought, ‘Yeah, all right, let’s have a go then, shall we?’ But while other Skyrim caves I’d come across could be easily polished off in an office lunch-time – as that was often how I played Skyrim back then – this one was different somehow. It was so large and twisty, so infinitely befuddling, that I seemed to be trapped down there forever. Sure, I could have probably turned back, but I’d been down there for ages, and felt like I’d come too far to simply not see it all through to the bitter end. But the end never came, and I eventually abandoned my save as a result, whisked off by the prospect of newer, more exciting games that didn’t involve trying to figure out how to escape its narrow, bioluminescent hellscape.
Worse still, this disastrous feat of orienteering has now become my overriding memory of Skyrim. For all its great sidequests and its ever-increasing number of excellent mods, all I ever think about are its damn caves. Just the thought of loading up that save file again makes me grimace, and I’m starting to dread the thought of getting stuck in another one whenever the heck The Elder Scrolls 6 comes out. But I’ve been playing a lot of The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom this past week, and cor, I’m immediately jealous of Link’s Ascend ability. As part of his new slate of powers, Ascend lets him instantly woosh through almost any ceiling as long as there’s a traversable bit of terrain above it. That kind of power wouldn’t have been half handy for my poor old wood elf, and it’s precisely what makes exploring Tears Of The Kingdom’s caves so enjoyable. So if there’s one thing The Elder Scrolls 6 should steal take note of, please let it be this.