Review by Zarquon_42

"Dumbed down Morrowind"

If you're new to the series, GET THIS GAME. If you played and enjoyed Morrowind half as much as I did, you probably wouldn't mind letting this one slide as much as you think you would. Yeah, it's beautiful, yes the combat is miles above Morrowind, yes the physics are incredible, but is it really that great of a game? The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was my favorite game of all time, bar none. And it seems it will be for a while yet. Bethesda, for whatever reason, while adding a lot of cool new stuff, also took nearly all of the fun out of what could EASILY have been the greatest game ever.

It starts with character creation. There were a few things I couldn't do when creating my character, like forming as custom a hairstyle as I could a face, I had to choose my hair from a LIST, and I can DEAL with that, just as I can DEAL with not having custom eye color. The real stab was when I had to pick my birthsign and class, and this was when I realized the game might not be as mind explodingly amazing as it damn well should be.

I'd heard the rumor that they'd taken a lot of things out, like spears, crossbows, and thrown weapons, but they also took out other, equally useful things, like the Unarmored skill. One of the most painful goodbyes was when I realised there were no Japanese weapons, save for the crappy Akaviri Katana and Dai Katanas, which from a geographical point of view I can almost understand, but it doesn't help explain all the Dwemer and Dwarven stuff lying around without a ruin in sight. They even took out Levitation, and even if it WAS in the game they probably wouldn't let you use it until you reached level so and so in Alteration, which was another thing that annoyed me. I guess I can understand that bit, but I feel as though your magic skills should determine how much magicka you use when casting a spell rather than simply not being able to cast anything at all, kind of like how if you have a low armor skill you won't have good defense or your weapon won't do as much damage if you have a low rating in it. To put that into perspective, let's say that weapon and armor skills were like magic skills. Say you had a low Blade skill, you wouldn't be allowed to use certain types of blades, which would be dumb. "Oops, looks like I can't swing this Claymore until I'm lvl 50!" And for armor it'd be like, "I finally reached lvl 25! Now I can greaves!".

Another disappointment was the limited number of guilds, which means less quests, which means less game. I know Cyrodiil doesn't have Great Houses like Morrowind does, but they could have thought of SOMETHING to replace them!

Heres another important factor, the music. There seems to be much less of it, with what seems two tracks for any given type of location you go to: Cities, dungeons, battles, and the wilderness. There's also a little tune that plays when you die. That'd be okay if the music was anywhere near as good as Morrowind.

Finally, and this is what rubbed salt in the wounds and poured lemon juice on it, LEVELED LOOT. WHY GOD, WHY!? There's never ANYTHING exceptional about your character, because everyone in the world is about as strong as you, and probably using the same equipment. The ONLY exception to this rule is that there is a SINGLE character in the game who has a full suit of ebony armor and wields an enchanted ebony blade, and that's because she's part of a Daedric quest. Surprising that they didn't make it to where she only appeared DURING the quest.

All this isn't to say there aren't good things about the game, which there are, but I don't think they make up for the other things. In terms of things that were done right, combat is excellent. You can finally control blocking and whether or not you hit someone/thing isn't up to a random roll of the dice. There are indeed, as discussed before, less weapons, and they could easily have at least kept spears and halberds in the game if they used the same animations as they used for staves, but what do I know? Bows are hilarious when you hit the right spots and generally just when you kill things, the physics ruthlessly throw people and creatures on the ground or hurtling into a nearby wall when they get shot in the face in a way that makes you say, "Good lord! That guy just got SHOT in FACE!". It's almost unrealistic, how much force is put into those arrows, but that's what makes it funny. Also, lock picking is vastly improved, as well as speechcraft. The minigames for them is almost fun, unless you break your last pick or something. If you take no joy one or the other you can just buy a charm spell if your Illusion and magicka are high enough for speechcraft, and get the Skeleton key for security, and security is a must because you can't unlock a hard chest until you hit lvl 75 in Alteration, meanwhile you could unlock anything in Morrowind at lvl 1 if you knew what you were doing.

But I digress, this game is decent, although disappointing and probably actually more like a 6 if you're a Morrowind veteran, and probably an excellent 8 or 9 otherwise, but I can't imagine this game getting a 10 in anyone's eyes, no matter how blinded they are by pretty graphics.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 04/19/06

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