Skyrim combat just got considerably more exciting. Bethesda's 1.5 update - now available on PC in beta form, coming soon to Xbox 360 and that other console that isn't sexy enough to mention - adds slow motion killcams redolent of Fallout 3's VATS carnage.
It's just a cosmetic upgrade, sure, but you can't deny the results are impressive. No more shall all the murdering take place out of view, with nought but a gristly sound effect to appraise you of the damage you're dealing. No more shall skeletons be denied the righteous glory of their dismemberable demises. There's a selection of gruesome cutaway animations for magical, ranged and melee kills. Brace yourselves - here comes a video showcase.
Interestingly, killcams were among the unreleased yet operational Skyrim features aired in Bethesda's Game Jam sizzle reel at DICE 2012. Also revealed in the video: vampire minions, dragon mounts and werebears.
UPDATE: As if riled by our ramblings, Bethesda's gone and blogged the full patch notes, along with this provocative titbit: "Look familiar? The new kill cams were featured as a concept in the Game Jam sizzle shown during Todd Howard's DICE keynote. We plan on adding even more features with upcoming free updates and game add-on content."
New cinematic kill cameras for projectile weapons and spells
New kill moves and animations for melee weapons
Shadows on grass available (PC)
Smithing skill increases now factor in the created item's value
Improved visual transition when going underwater
Improved distance LOD transition for snowy landscapes
General crash fixes and memory optimizations
Fixed issue with Deflect Arrows perk not calculating properly
In "A Cornered Rat," the death of certain NPCs no longer blocks progression
Fixed issue where Farkas would not give Companion's quests properly
Fixed crash when loading saves that rely on data that is no longer being loaded
Followers sneak properly when player is sneaking
Fixed issue with weapon racks not working properly in Proudspire Manor
Arrows and other projectiles that were stuck in objects in the world now clean up properly
Fixed issue where "Rescue Mission" was preventing "Taking Care of Business" from starting properly
Fixed issue where certain NPCs would fail to become Thieves Guild fences
Fixed issue in "Diplomatic Immunity" where killing all the guards in the Thalmor Embassy before starting the quest would break progress
In "Hard Answers," picking up the dwarven museum key after completing the quest, no longer restarts the quest
Killing Viola before or after "Blood on the Ice" no longer blocks progression
Fixed issue where Calixto would fail to die properly in "Blood on the Ice"
In "Waking Nightmare" fixed occasional issue where Erandur would stop pathing properly
Fixed issue where letters and notes with random encounters would appear blank
Fixed rare issue where dialogue and shouts would improperly play
Lydia will now offer marriage option after player purchases Breezehome in Whiterun
Fixed issue where if player manually mined ore in Cidhna Mine, jail time would not be served
Fixed rare issue with skills not increasing properly
Fixed issue where the Headsman's Axe did not gain proper buff from Barbarian perk
In "A Night to Remember" it is no longer possible to kill Ysolda, Ennis or Senna before starting the quest
Fixed issue with the ebony dagger having a weapon speed that was too slow
Fixed issue with "The Wolf Queen Awakened" where backing out of a conversation with Styrr too soon would block progress
The third level of the Limbsplitter perk now properly improves all battle axes
Fixed a rare issue where Sanguine Rose would not work properly
In "Tending the Flames" King Olaf's Verse will no longer disappear from explosions