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The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind review

AT A GLANCE
  • Impressive, awesome graphics
  • Extremely detailed game world
  • Quest-it-your-way gameplay
  • Combat can be clunky
  • Loot sometimes disappoints
  • You may not finish the main story

The third installment in the long-running and extremely popular Elder Scrolls series, Morrowind establishes a new standard in role-playing games. It's astonishing in its depth and detail, and also sets a new benchmark in graphics.

Morrowind's extreme open-endedness sets it apart. Despite the linear story, the way the other characters in the world interact with you changes based upon your actions. There are various guilds within the game, like the Assassins Guild, and whether or not they see you as friend or foe is determined by how you interact with them. Attack an assassin, and the entire guild will be hunting for your hide. That kind of flexibility means that each game can play out a little differently.

As a result of those interactions (and the side quests that become available to you), you can literally spend hours far away from the main quest. This is both a blessing and a curse - it's possible to forget about the main story altogether.

Unfortunately, the combat doesn't quite measure up to the other areas of the game. At times it feels like you're playing a very funky version of EverQuest, with below-average animations and sub-par controls. Also, you'll often hack your way through a long, challenging cave, ultimately coming to a treasure chest at the end. You crack open the chest … and receive some worthless knife. That's an awful lot of work for some rather lame loot. This risk/reward mismatch may be a minor complaint, but it does feel frustrating.

One aspect that feels above reproach is Morrowind's stunning graphics. The character models and environments are crammed with an astonishing level of detail, and awesome weather effects also show up from time to time, like rain and sandstorms. The first time you see a sandstorm, it'll literally take your breath away.

Morrowind will please both serious role-playing fans as well as anyone looking for a technically stunning adventure that will hold their attention longer than your average hack-and-slash title. This is the good stuff.

More Info

Release date: Jun 05 2002 - Xbox
May 02 2002 - PC (US)
Nov 22 2002 - Xbox
May 31 2002 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox, PC
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Bethesda
Developed by: Bethesda
ESRB Rating:
Teen

1 comment

  • JohnnyMaverik - March 22, 2009 2:15 p.m.

    Personally I'd put this down as the best game I've ever played. Yes loot is sometimes dissapointing, but if your a bit canny about how you play you can turn even the most dissapointing raids into decent profit. True the combat system was a bit weird and clunky, but you get used to it and after a while it even starts to feel like it makes sense, and yes, the main quest is big as f*** but the story is compelling so that should push you on. Ok, it's only fair to add that Oblivion improved on all three of those things, but it also lost some of that depth, incredible scale, and some of the real feeling of connection with the game world that Morrowind gave you. You get used to the games faults and believe me it has a few but for a game that size a few bugs (most of which are fixed by patches) and few a things that would have been really cool but were'nt considered can easily be overlooked, but the games strengths will have you coming back time and time again. Believe me I've spent hours, and hours, weeks probably if you joined all the hours up, playing this game, and there is still stuff I havent done and want to, and still things I'd happily do all over again. Plus what with a massive, massive modding community, graphics upgrades, additional if unnoficial content and added features are really, really easily to come by. So much so that some people end up with a completely different game by the time their done adding mods, although personally I tend to stay faithful to most of the origional content, a few graphics upgrades here and there.

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