Reviews by bareknuckledbri

72

Interesting Setting, Wanting in other parts.

bareknuckledbri | Dec. 8, 2013 | Review of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Game of The Year Edition

I'm into the Elder Scrolls series. I'm into rpgs in general both of the modern and crpg variety. My favorites include the likes of Planescape, Baldur's Gate and some recent rpgs like New Vegas (definitely pick this up if you haven't) and the Witcher.

I want to love Morrowind, but my countless attempts to play through it both when it was launched and when it gathered a diehard fan-base just haven't panned out. My biggest issues with Morrowind are just that it's gameplay is so meek it hurts every single other aspect.

Combat is of the dice-roll variety, with attributes determining the chance of hit, block, and spell-cast. I'm normally fine with this, but it just doesn't transition well to this 3-D fps action-driven combat. Each attack with a weapon has a varying damage based on the angle, but there is never a reason not to use most damaging attack. There's no special properties to the attacks like in Daggerfall and Oblivion. There isn't even the ability to shield-bash or dual-wield like in it's much streamlined grandson Skyrim. Even with magic thrown into the mix, I just find newer and older rpgs in my inventory that have better combat than Morrowind. The difficulty just isn't there once you understand what attributes contribute to your success, and once you master combat, it's just a brainless chore you have to complete to progress your journey through this intriguing world. There's not a single encounter I recall where I had to use a tactic above switching to a different weapon and spamming the attack (stopping occasionally to down a potion).

Truly, I think Morrowind would've been better with more quests and choices where you could entirely avoid combat through dialogue. Because the world and characters are the most interesting aspects. It's much like Planescape as in your immersion relies on how far you delve into the world. If you're a story-oriented person (whose perfectly fine to read before listen), ignore my combat comment and play this game now. It personally didn't appeal to me, I've just never been a fan of the prophesied hero story. Yet I won't deny the writing is above average for video games (uncommon in Bethesda) and the lore kinda interesting (if you're into high fantasy like DnD's FR). If there's one thing I must point out to those coming from Oblivion and Skyrim, it's this.

There's no waypoints. Only points on the map you fill out. You will have to read sometimes humorously crappy directions. You'll have to remember these directions. You'll spend a good deal of time on the map screen. You'll also have to write those directions down if you easily forget things. This doesn't bother me, but I've seen some people uninstall the game and never give it a second chance.

You can bemoan this, but I've always honestly felt the directions and map screen just distract from my immersion in the world (I prefer to spend less time on screens and remembering directions). I've gotten familiar enough with the map that I never have to peek at the screen again, but it is a learning curve. A curve I can't blame anyone from criticizing.

In the end, I just can't say the whole package is perfect. There's just too many things that are dated in Morrowind that prevents me from recommending it to everyone. If you're curious about the older Scrolls games, give it a shot at the current sale ($9.99). Just remember this isn't your Oblivion or Skyrim, it's older, clunkier, but it might have a charm in the story that will appeal to you.

But me? I'll stick to my old isometric games. For story I'd recommend the fantastic LoK games over Morrowind. For game-play? New Vegas and Dark Souls will feed you well. Both of those also possess exceptionally interesting worlds that by my preference outshine Morrowind.