STAFF REVIEW of Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind GOTY Edition (Xbox)

Monday, October 20, 2003.
by Tony Ingrassia

Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind GOTY Edition Box art I wasn?t really sure how to go about writing a review of a game that was released before, so let me start by calling Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Game of the Year simply ?Uber Morrowind?, because that?s exactly what it is. Take all the greatness of the original award winning game and give it a real good spit polish, add to this the 2 PC expansion packs, Tribunal and Bloodmoon, and the ability to grow your ?original? character to new heights and any self respecting RPG fan will be giddy as a school girl. Morrowind Game of the Year is sure to please, especially fans of the original. There is easily hundreds of hours of game play in GOTY. With all the cool additions to the original you?re easily going to spend another lifetime in Morrowind.

Well we have been down this road before, and yes all of the open ended RPG goodness is still present in GOTY. Our friends at Bethesda were nice enough to address allot of the little bugs that plagued the original, making your gaming experience all that much more enjoyable. The one thing I noticed right off was the horizons in the landscapes were always visible, unlike the original where they would kind of materialize as you moved forward.

The game play is as good as its predecessor with the addition of the 2 expansion packs released for the PC version. For those of you who have never ventured into Morrowind before, you can start you adventure right from the beginning and build your character to your specific mold. Morrowind utilizes an interesting ?Questioning? method to determine your characters character as it were. You can also choose your characters appearance and sex, and his or her traits?Stealth, Melee, even the gift of gab to get yourself out of jams. With all of this, keep in mind that ultimately your actions throughout the game determine much of your fate and success.

For those of you revisiting Morrowind, you can pick up were you left off. Yep, you heard right, GOTY will take your original XBOX saves and let you continue with the expansions, also allowing you to build your original characters power and prosperity. Now I know what some may think, is it worth it?? I can tell you without any hesitation, that if you enjoyed the original you will absolutely love the GOTY Edition, not to mention the mere $30 price tag.

So what does that $30 actually get you? Well first you get to venture into Tribunal. In Tribunal, you journey to the capitol city of Morrowind, called Mournhold, to meet the other two god-kings of Morrowind, Almalexia and Sotha Sill. Your adventure will lead you to the Clockwork City of Sotha Sill and a huge, ?HUGE? dungeons, where you will stumble across an interesting array of creatures, including goblins, lich lords, and mysterious fabricants.

From there you can venture into Bloodmoon. Now Bloodmoon was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed this addition. It takes you to the frozen Island of Solstheim. Nothing like venturing into a blizzard and the challenges of Mother Nature as you encounter new creatures including trolls, wolves, and ice minions. Let me put it this way, the first time through, my life came to a bitter end because I failed to notice the rather large polar bear in the snowy hills. But the best part of Bloodmoon?the ability to change into a werewolf at will. Yes-sir-e-bob, a werewolf, your character becomes stronger and faster than he or she originally was. But, be careful were and when you decide to go through this morph, because if your seen by some wondering villager he may report you to the authorities, and you will be hunted down and attacked.

I have to admit I was a little leery about this Game of the Year Edition, but I was truly pleased and enjoyed it just as much, if not more than the original adventure. If the expansions weren?t enough, Bethesda also added some new armor and weapons. So be prepared to loose a lot of sleep again, because Morrowind is back, and better than ever. For more details on the Original game, take a look-see at the review.

Visually, Morrowind GOTY is stunning, huge landscapes, endless textures, and water that only our beloved XBOX can deliver. Again, a lot of the bugs were ?Fixed? from the original. Particle effects, magic effects, etc?It?s all good. Newcomers will be thrilled with the look of the game, and for those of you re-visiting?you?ll be thrilled with how well the game was ?Fixed?.

The sounds of Morrowind GOTY, as in the original are fantastic. The score sets the mood for a time of fantasy and mystery without being overbearing. The ambient effects and the sounds of nature are perfectly placed throughout the game. The dialogue is still a little repetitive, but as in the original it?s a minor distraction.

Overall: 10.0 / 10
Gameplay: 9.6 / 10
Visuals: 9.6 / 10
Sound: 10.0 / 10


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