Markarth is one beautiful city to look at, and suitably large too. Had a wonderful two days traipsing in and about it. It's the only city that makes me think that Bethesda still has some of that Morrowind magic with them.
Though of course, now it's hard to think how we ever did without dual-weilding.
The standard Bethesda unrealism of the game world continues to bug me. I had a man give me a Warhammer and told me to hide it. A hunter came along and asked me if I'd seen a man. While there was an option in the dialogue to give him in the warhammer, I decided to hold onto it until I was sure whose it was. THEN the man tells me the fugitive stole something from me. So while he is busy shooting his bow, I stand in front of him and drop the warhammer at his feet (hopefully not ON his feet), and the man has absolutely no interest in it. Apparently his lust for blood has consumed what desire he had for his warhammer...
Then again in the prison in Markarth, I was trying to kill one of the prisoners I had to kill, he ran straight into the quarters of the man who wanted him dead, and that man ended up killing him personally. And then I had to report his death to this man? How does that make any sense?
Again in Markarth, there's a Thalmor agent in the Understone Keep, who is trying to find and punish Talos worshippers. Hasn't he found out yet that there is an actively-maintained Shrine of Talos in the city where there's candles burning all the time? Maybe if he kept watch over who's lighting them, he'd find out, assuming he intends to leave the shrine standing.
And then there's the ultimate realism problems. How come these cities don't have sewers or gutters? The houses don't have toilets. What do these Nords do for sanitation, collectively leave the city and defecate in the fields every morning? I've never seen anyone eating, and drinking is of course, the art of touching an empty tankard to your lips. What is it that Nords do all day? I've some some who go chopping wood or working the blacksmith's, but the vast majority seem to have 'walking around' as their primary occupation.
The giants are a perfect example. They're big and all, so you can view their actions with ease. What do they do all day? They walk around. Then they walk around some more. They don't hunt, eat, defecate, urinate, sleep, sit, communicate, fell trees or anything. A person his size would have an epic food quota to manage everyday (which is presumably why they tame mammoths), but do they every actually eat? Newp.
Conversations get triggered exactly when you're walking around, which makes the whole act seem like a stageplay organised by the local Jarl for your amusement. Nobody seems to mind you jumping and throwing things around while these conversations are going on, and the best part is, if you leave one and return to the spot later, they resume their conversation from the START, presumably after whispering "Oh look, it's that guy, let's start over from the top so he doesn't miss anything in his/her eavesdropping."
You could say I'm nitpicking a game that's too vast in size to be so intricately managed, but that's the point. This game is pretending to be a vast simulation of an RPG, and it fails at creating the most semblance of a living, breathing world. It's a cardboard world where you're expected to supply 90% of the make-believe.