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Skyrim bugs on Xbox 360: what's happening and what you can do about it

A rundown of Elder Scrolls 5 bug reports and solutions

Have you downloaded Skyrim's 1.2 update yet? Might want to hold off on that, as according to Elder Scrolls 5 community members, the patch actually causes more problems than it resolves.

Released yesterday, update 1.2 theoretically sorts out a few minor issues (arrows and spell projectiles getting lodged in your body) and at least one major bug - the infamous Xbox 360 texture bug, whereby playing the game from hard drive results in a caching issue which causes low quality textures to appear.

Here's the complete list of patch notes, as detailed on Bethesda's forums.

# Fixed issue where textures would not properly upgrade when installed to drive
# Fixed issue where projectiles did not properly fade away
# Fixed occasional issue where a guest would arrive to the player's wedding dead
# Dragon corpses now clean up properly
# Fixed rare issue where dragons would not attack
# Fixed rare NPC sleeping animation bug
# Fixed rare issue with dead corpses being cleared up prematurely
# Skeleton Key will now work properly if player has no lockpicks in their inventory
# Fixed rare issue with renaming enchanted weapons and armor
# Fixed rare issue with dragons not properly giving souls after death

In the wake of the patch's release, however, some players have claimed that promised fixes haven't been implemented. One irate user insists that the texture bug is actually worse, persisting even when playing the game from disc. Here are some off-screen pictures, apparently showing how textures degrade before and after opening a menu.

Zoom
On the left: the game before loading a menu. On the right: the game after loading a menu.

Entirely new bugs have also been reported. Some are hilarious, like dragons flying backwards (see below). Others are simply aggravating, like magical resistances no longer functioning, broken quests and the inability to place items on tables.

The usual caveats apply. Many of these problems may be unique to certain systems - older Xbox 360 models can be temperamental - and some have been blown out of proportion by players who can't seem to see the wood for the trees. A significant, silent majority of players have yet to experience issues, or at least none they consider worth reporting. In a game of Skyrim's scope, with so many possible chains of cause and effect, technical hiccups are sadly inevitable.

That said, these are clearly troubled times for the inhabitants of the frozen north. So what can we do about it? Not much, alas, but here are some starting points.

One Bethesda forum user has claimed that clearing the Xbox 360's cache, erasing your saved games and starting from scratch negates many of the post-bug faults. It's hardly the most desirable solution, but you might want to try this if you're only a few hours long of the title screen (or you're sick and tired of the character you've become).

At the risk of trading on expertise we don't have, it's possible there's a legacy issue whereby loading data created pre-patch causes bugs to persist after installing the patch.

Another, somewhat more radical solution involves downloading Skyrim's 1.1 patch to a PC, transferring it to a USB stick and installing it on top of the 1.2 patch. We can't recommend this, as it requires that you get hold of third party data management software, but here's the appropriate thread and a Yahoo Answers post if you're desperate.

We've tapped Bethesda for comment, and will update this article as and when we get a reply.

UPDATE: Bethesda has apologised for the errors, and says you can expect an "incremental fix" next week.

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