Review by eugene21

"Pretty, but mind-numbingly dull."

First, as people have been saying, you need a very good system to play Morrowind. The framerate stutters in heavily-populated cities on my P4 1.4 384RAM 128MB Radeon 8500LE. I suspect you'll want at least 256RAM and a GeForce 3 to have a decent time.

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Morrowind would have been better without its failed attempts at gameplay. It would have been satisfying, now and then even breathtaking, to simply wander through the game's enormous world, admiring its landscapes and architecture.
Unfortunately, the ways Morrowind lets you interact with its world distract you from all the splendor, and quickly become dull and repetitive. Whether you're collecting herbs and flowers for potions, trying to get people to like you better, snooping around and stealing things, or doing heroic battle with hapless mud crabs, you're just clicking again and again at some spot on the screen.
Click on the flower to get the ingredient. Move to next flower. Repeat.
Click on ''admire,'' ''intimidate,'' ''taunt,'' or ''bribe'' to influence NPCs. If you fail and the person's opinion of you drops dramatically, don't worry -- just try again. The same person who saw right through your flattery half a minute ago is suddenly charmed by your successful die roll. Keep trying, too -- the better people like you, the more info they'll give you and the better prices you'll get. This may spell 'unparalleled realism' to Behtesda's PR people, but in the actual game it just provides a strong incentive for mindless clicking.
Matter of fact, the game takes every opportunity to provide incentives for mindless, repetitive behavior by the player. If you want to become a good thief, you have to steal small items from shopkeepers over and over and over. If you want to learn to hide better, your best option is to park your character behind a guard, tape down the ''sneak'' key, and go have a drink with your friends.
You get the idea. At its core, Morrowind is like those little programs that real-estate agencies have, the ones that allow you to stroll through a virtual version of the home they're trying to sell you. The only difference is that instead of a little duplex you're strolling through ye olde fantasy realm, with not an interesting challenge or meaningful interaction anywhere in sight.

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I'd like to respectfully disagree with a comment made in one of the other reviews, claiming that Morrowind is very ''realistic.'' A couple counterexamples: walk out of a house you've just broken into, see a guard staring you in the face from point-blank range, listen to guard pleasantly tell you that it is a good day. Buy a suit of armor at the blacksmith's -- at 2 in the morning. Ask commoners about some topic of interest, and wonder whether all the different people giving the same answers, word for word, are part of a sinister, though poorly disguised, robot conspiracy. Etc, etc...


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 05/18/02, Updated 05/18/02


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