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L3ED avatar 6:27 PM on 05.04.2012  (server time)
Review: Skyrim Kinect Commands

(Please note that due to my excessive laziness, no photos will be included in this blog)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been out for several months now, and we've all gotten our fair share of play time. Serious players have logged in weeks into the epic RPG. When Skyrim initially released, critics praised it for its rich plot and content. But, after a while, Skyrim may have bored you and you probably left to play other games. With the newly announced Dawnguard DLC headed for Xbox 360's this Summer, we all have a fairly good reason to get back into the game. To prep Xbox owners for the awesomeness to come, Bethesda has added new Kinect Voice Commands to Skyrim. And, honestly, they're fantastic.

I have never used my Kinect the way I thought I would when it was first announced as Project Natal. I've played some lackluster tech demos and the occasional gem that dies off relatively fast. Yeah, I somewhat regret spending my money on that little sensor. But lately, I've gotten a kick out of using the Voice Commands in games like Mass Effect 3 and now, Skyrim.

Over 200 (!!) commands have been added for you to use in Skyrim. Whether it's shouting Fus Ro Dah at your TV like you've always wanted, or simply sorting your weapons by weight, you can pretty much do it all. There is also a nifty hotkey feature where you can assign items in your Favorites with names such as 'Fire' or 'Sword', which allows you to access it anytime you wish.

The commands make Skyrim a whole lot more easy to navigate. All item menus can be sorted by weight, value, or name. They also make combat a lot more accessible. Just by saying "Equip Sword", my character pulls out his Orcish Greatsword immediately. Commanding your allies is a breeze, and with a simple "Ally Wait", your friend will stop moving.

But, the coolest feature is easily the ability to use your Shouts. There are twenty Shouts in Skyrim, and equipping them can be a hassle. Chances are you don't like having to press the B button, sliding on over to Magic, scrolling to Shouts and equip/favorite them. Now, you can simply speak the Shout you wish to use. By default, the game recognizes the english name for each Shout. But, honestly, who wants to scream Whirlwind Sprint at their TV when they can just say Wuld Nah Kest? To use the dragonspeak version of the Shout, simply hold the RB button and speak. A little dragon indicator will replace the on-screen microphone to notify you that you are using dragonspeak. If you prefer the old-fashioned way of Shouting, just hold LB and press RB to use whatever Shout you have equipped.

To be honest, the only problem with the commands is that there is a slight input lag. When in the menus, this isn't much of a problem, but in combat, it can be frustrating. If you need to switch to your sword fast when being chased down, you'll have to say "Equip Sword" and wait about half of a second to equip it. In the time it takes to switch weapons, you might already be killed. I recommend mapping your favorite weapon to one of the D-Pad buttons just to be safe.

Input lag aside, the commands are flawless and they greatly improve the overall quality of Skyrim. They make it more enjoyable and I prefer using them over the traditional controls. If you own a Kinect, I advise you enable the commands. If you do not, well, you might want to pick one up, considering how many "core" games support it.

For the list of full Kinect Commands, click here.

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