Review by witelightnin
"Didn't Live Up To the Hype..."
I feel like none of the reviews here have given an accurate description of this game, and everyone just got caught up in the hype, so I will do my best to keep this realistic. Anyways, the game itself is a 1 player RPG set in a VAST land. You play as the hero in first or 3rd person, following quests and a main storyline to save the land from evil. There are tons of side quests and other things to keep you occupied along the way
The graphics in this game are impressive, but not cutting edge like other people have said. There are still the same old problems with clipping distances (when things are too far away from you they are just invisible and magically appear as you get closer), and honestly I don't think many of the textures are all that great. The water looks fantastic, but the grass texture and some of the town textures are just ok. It's funny because if you stand on a hill, you can actually see the block of texture they used repeating over and over on a field.
People's faces look rather shoddy too. If you are talking to someone, most times their face is all just monotone, with no depth or change of expression. The only note-worthy people in the game are the lizard-men and goblins, who both look much more realistic and life-like. Although I must say, having over 1000 NPC's is a lot, and I can see why most people are expressionless due to time constraints. But I digress... the graphics are still very note-worthy and deserving of praise. Not the best the new Xbox can handle, but still quite good.
Game play: 8/10
I like the game play. It's interesting and fun to play in the first-person shooter style game and just wander around killing stuff. The one big qualm I have with it is that there are so many menu screens and so many times when you need to go through 6 pages of menus to find what you are looking for. It's a slight detraction from the game play when mid-battle you need to go into a menu to equip different arrows, or repair your equipment, or use a potion. There are hotkeys used, where you can just throw an item onto a hotkey and not have to use a menu, but there are only 8 slots for it on the Xbox, and they are assigned to directions on the d-pad. I know there have been many times when I'm trying to fight something and I'll press the wrong direction (diagonals are tricky) and end up unequipping my weapon or something.
Other than the menus, the controls are very responsive and intuitive. I'd say it's a vast improvement over Morrowind. I remember playing Morrowind and hating it because I'd swing a sword and never seem to connect with an enemy. Here, I swing and can actually see it connect.
Honestly, the story just doesn't really strike me as all that great. It's your typical "the kingdom is in danger and only YOU can save us from the evil sweeping the land". Most times, you'll find yourself working on the side quests rather than the main storyline. It's more fun to just goof around and have fun cave diving than it is to play through the main story, which is at times tedious and monotonous.
I had to make this its own category, because wow are there a lot. I've played the game about 50 hours now, and I've had about 15 times where the game has either just frozen and I've had to restart, or else I get a dirty disc error for no reason and have to restart. It's quite annoying if you forget to save for a while, then get a disc error and have to redo an hour's worth of work. Also, there are already so many exploits and hacks that have developed; the game seems to have completely lost its integrity. At level 1, you can already make yourself an invincible God just through game glitches. It's fun for some people, anti-climactic for others.
Honestly, this score is only so low because it didn't live up to the hype. I bought this game expecting it to be the cutting edge of gaming, and that I would be blown away from the moment I put it in the machine. I wasn't. In fact, I was almost a little depressed because I felt like it was a game that could have been on the first Xbox. I was definitely impressed by the scope of the world, and by the millions of things to do, but in the end, the game to me is just average. I would say if you are a hardcore role-playing fan, you should definitely own it because it's a lot of fun. If you just like the occasional game, pass on this one because it just won't be worth it to you.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 04/07/06
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