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Friday 17 November 2017

No wonder and awe for Vvardenfell veterans

By Chris Hayes - Game Review

While Elder Scrolls Online has improved with Morrowind's release, it still isn't enough of a jump to warrant a resounding commendation.
While Elder Scrolls Online has improved with Morrowind's release, it still isn't enough of a jump to warrant a resounding commendation.

Dismembarking at the humble wooden dock at Seyda Neen for the second time in fifteen years is a bludgeoning of nostalgia. The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind is the latest expansion to The Elder Scrolls: Online and is set in the surreal world of Morrowind, albeit set 700 years prior to the events that occured in the hallowed Elder Scrolls game from 2002.

A true recreation in every sense of the word, this is both a blessing and a curse for veteran players of the series. Vvardenfell is so faithfully recreated here that it diminishes the sense of wonder and awe for series veterans. Granted, I am sure that there is not much overlap between those who have played Morrowind 15 years ago and the age group that Bethesda are targeting today.

As well as the new landscape, Morrowind also introduces a new class - the Warden. This new player class is indicative of the still-stagnant state of the game's combat system. It's still clunky, preoccupied with left and right mouse clicks in time with over-egged animations and stun markers. The Warden is capable of performing DPS, healing and tank roles, and boasts an ultimate ability which sees a persistent bear guardian follow you around to aid in combat.

Morrowind, despite its stellar writing, story and awesome environment, still begs the same question that The Elder Scrolls: Online posed back in 2014: why is this an MMO at all? Morrowind still offers very lilttle concrete reasons to partner up, bar the addition of the latest Trial (think raids in World of Warcraft), The Halls of Fabrication. Even with the new and exciting PvP battlegrounds, the social aspect that is brought to the fore in many MMORPGS is lacking hugely in The Elder Scrolls Online.

The game has evolved quite a bit since the buggy days of launch yore. Nearly every day-to-day action is smooth (more smooth than your average Elder Scrolls actually), and I still love the option to go first-person in an MMO. The postgame Champion System and ability to instantly phase anywhere for leveling make adventuring that much more enticing, and all of that funnels into more opportunities to screw around in the new island.

While Elder Scrolls Online has improved through the release of Morrowind, it still isn't enough of a jump to warrant a resounding commendation. If you already own it and are coasting by on free-to-play fumes, you should still think about upgrading and exploring the pointed, more focused land of Vvardenfell.

7/10

The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind

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