View Full Version : Very fair review of Morrowind(93%) ! Must read

06-05-2002, 04:55 PM
The last RPG I was completely sucked into was Fallout II. I would stay up all night, forgetting to eat, sleep, and even shower to play what I felt at the time was the best RPG game around. It's been a while since then, but I feel the exact same way about the third installment in the Elder Scrolls series. Entitled Morrowind, and developed by Maryland-native Bethesda Softworks, this game is a massive, engrossing single player RPG that raises the bar for future RPGs.

The game opens on an Imperial ship that is docked in Seyda Neen, which lies in the district of Vvardenfall, which is within the province of Morrowind. You play the role of an outlander to Morrowind, released from your prison for reasons currently unbeknownst to you. After going through a few hoops, you are given a decoded package and told to visit a fellow named Caius Cosades in the city of Balmora. Thus begins your adventure. Soon you will find the details of your release, the prophecies of a secret cult, and maybe even meet the devil himself.

One of the goals of Morrowind is to great a completely open-ended game. First off, you must create your character. However, Bethesda has integrated the character creation process into the game itself. When you awake on the ship, another prisoner asks you for your name, which you are then prompted to type in. Over the next few minutes, you go through the process of choosing your race, sex, look, and class. Choosing your class is the most interesting aspect of the character creation process, because in true open-ended fashion, Morrowind allows you to choose your class one of three ways. You can choose from a list of pre-determined classes, you can answer a series of multiple-choice questions and based upon the answers a class will be chosen for you, or you can create your own custom class and pick your major and minor skills.

Once you go through the initial character creation process, and a small tutorial, you are released upon the world to do what you please. Morrowind allows almost any decision to be made - even bad decisions. If you want to be a mage that has heavy armor as a major skill, nothing will stop you from doing that. If you want to kill an NPC, go right ahead - every NPC, except one, can be killed and still allow you to continue and finish the game. It may be much more difficult, but it will be possible to complete the main quest. This concept of allowing the player to do what they want, when they want is the backbone of Morrowind.

Along with the almost unlimited options from a role-playing perspective, Morrowind offers a massive quantity of quests available - hundreds upon hundreds of quests are available that having nothing to do with the main story. Many of these quests come from factions and guilds, such as the Fighter's Guild or House Hlaalu. You can choose to join any number of factions/guilds as long as you pass their minimum requirements and obey their set of rules (Groups such as the Temple seem to frown upon murdering priests, so don't do that). There area also plenty of quests available that are not tied into factions/guilds, so if you wish to be a loner you can still advance and do odd-jobs for people.

Quests vary from "find an item" to "clear a dungeon" to "spy and collect information on (fill in name)". With the huge number of quests available, rarely do you end up doing the same type of quests one after another. Also, most quests have multiple solutions, allowing for different character types to solve the problem with their strengths, instead of their weaknesses. For example, one quest in the Fighter's Guild requires you to Silence someone from the Thieves Guild. You can kill this person, pay them off so they don't talk anymore, or even threaten them with their life if they don't leave town. The multiple paths to solve quests may not be something new in the genre, but it is done well and allows for the player to truly role-play a character, instead of having to break away from that to murder someone.

When you get a quest or an important piece of information, the game automatically logs it into your journal. However, it does nothing beyond that. It doesn't separate quest entries, from general information entries, from entries about a disturbing dream your character had. It just puts them all one after another, which creates a problem. Often times, especially early in the game, you are given quests which you cannot handle yet due to your character being too weak. Six hours down the road, you may be ready to tackle that quest, but unfortunately you forget exactly what it entails, and your journal is about 200 pages long. This leads to one of two things: frustration and giving up on the quest, or frustration and wasting team re-reading your journal to find out what you need to do. With a massive game such as Morrowind, a more intuitive journal is desperately needed to keep things straight. I found myself writing a brief description down of each quest I take on a piece of paper on my desk, and writing the date down, so I always know what I need to do, and if I need further clarification I can find the entry in my journal with ease.

The world of Morrowind is just massive. Taking a look at the map that comes with the collector's edition, there are over 30 cities as well as over a dozen encampments and ruins - and that's just what is "known". While you can often pay a fee and make travel fast and easy, you can also run to your destination on foot and see what you find on the way. To run from the south end of the continent to the north end took me about an hour, and I came across numerous uncharted caves, dungeons, and camps, all of which are close to the main roads. Venture far off from the main roads and you may find even more hidden areas filled with gold and other valuables, or even filled with dangerous creatures and spirits.

Having a game this open-ended and vast has its drawbacks of course. Gamers who have not played this type of RPG before may feel an enormous sense of being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options available. Other gamers may feel that the game feels to generic to them at times. It, unfortunately, does get somewhat generic at some points. Conversation, for example, often leads to the exact same canned answer for all NPCs in a given town. The reasons for this are obvious - it would be virtually impossible to give each NPC a unique answer to a questions. Since you can ask any NPC about almost any topic (A list of topics to discuss appears which you click on) the developers had to make conversation a bit more impersonal than they may have liked.

Combat is also somewhat generic and simplistic, though not to the extent of conversation. There are three basic types of attack with melee weapons - slash, thrust, and chop. Each attack does a certain range of damage depending on the weapon, and you can control what attack you do and what strength you do it at depending on what arrow key you press as you attack and how long you hold the attack button down. Unfortunately, the player has no control over things like blocking attacks. With a game this deep, it would have been nice to see a deeper combat system - anybody who has played the game Die by the Sword knows how well a combat system like that can work in real-time combat. As it stands, combat is still engaging and fun, and there is plenty to worry about even if it can get somewhat boring at times.

Even with these gripes, the game is so engaging that it is hard not to love it. There is simply so much to do in Morrowind, that complaints like this get shoved to the back of your brain after a few minutes. One complaint that is hard to forget, however, is the bugs. While Bethesda made a commitment to making sure they didn't make the same mistakes as they did with Daggarfall, which was one of the buggiest RPGs ever out of the box. For the most part, they succeeded, however a few major bugs did crop through still. I ran into the occasional crash of the game, which is extremely frustrating when you haven't saved in a while (I learned to save often after the first few times). Other in-game bugs I noticed was getting suck on a wall and not being able to get off (Forcing a reload from a previous save), and even falling through the floor. Hopefully a patch will fix these issues that mar this otherwise excellent game.

On the visual side of the coin, Morrowind is one of the best-looking RPGs ever. Boasting realistic cities, real-time weather effects, day/night cycles, and character models with thousands of polygons, it's hard to find fault with the graphics of this game. However, with all the eye candy comes a huge cost to performance. Even with a GeForce 4 ti4600, the game would chug if I didn't turn down the view distance and real-time shadow details.



06-05-2002, 04:55 PM
Then there is the sound. The music has a distinct fantasy flavor to it, and works well in the game. Combat is a more up-tempo sound, with some truly excellent use of percussion. The sound effects themselves are bland. Besides the sound of thunder bellowing in the distance, everything sounds pretty generic. For example, jumping sounds like someone just dropped a box on the ground. Not terrible, but nothing special either - the ambient sounds of the outdoor areas do work well however. You feel like you are in the middle of the country, hearing the sounds of the creatures that inhabit the area.

In the end, Morrowind is an early candidate for RPG of the year. It's a massive, open-ended game that allows the player to do what they want, when they want. It's got some problems, but the positives far outweigh the negatives in this case. Morrowind is the type of game you can play for six hours straight and not even realize it. With the official and unofficial plug-ins that will soon be all over the Internet, thanks to the included game editor, Morrowind is sure to stay on gamer's hard drives for months. I know it will on mine.

Pros: Massive world; great production values; open-ended gameplay

Cons: Some bugs; poor journal system

Graphics - 95% - Lush, beautiful, and taxing on your system

Sound - 86% - Excellent music, but sound effect could be better

Gameplay - 95% - Anywhere from 40 - 100+ hours of gameplay here

Longevity - 87% - One of the most open-ended RPGs ever

Total Score: 93%

Xbox Owner
06-05-2002, 04:58 PM
cool. where did u get it at?

06-05-2002, 05:00 PM
Originally posted by XBox Owner
cool. where did u get it at?


06-05-2002, 05:21 PM
Wonderful... too bad that review is in reference ONLY to the PC version (hence the specs bit at the end). I have heard that there are quite a few problems with the Xbox version in comparison. It is said that the view distance is atrocious, the graphics are blurry and jaggie in comparison and that the frame rate wasn't up to snuf. This was all from extended play. I do not advocate lies, so I hope EP wasn't just bulzie'. I have noticed that they are quite one sided (meaning they enjoy PS2 more than Xbox) and biased in terms of their outlook on games. However, I have not known them to lie about a game, just imbelish a bit. SO perhaps they exaggerate, however, I doubt the Xbox review of that game will be the same. Don't take this one into account. Wait for the REAL XBOX review, possibley from an XboxAddict as opposed to some normal Xbox player. Sorry if I ****ed anyone off (I'm sure someone will moronically see this as flame bait) but I'm just relaying what I'd read on EP. Go to http://www.extendedplay.com a look up Morrowind if you don't believe me. I will look into the post where I'd originally got the info for this (as it was on this site), but like I said, this review has nothing to do with the Xbox version with the exception of the fact that it has the same name. BTW I am not discrediting the poster but rather allowing the Xbox Addict populas the simple and easily over lookable fact that this is not a review of the Xbox version.

06-05-2002, 05:37 PM
did you originally find the article at xbox365 forums though because someone there has the same article and same header to (Very fair review of Morrowind(93%) ! Must read) just curious

Nato King
06-05-2002, 05:38 PM
I love it faceoff508. It took me sometime but I read all of it.:) I love this game and I can't wait until this week end. I will be playing my game all day long stopping just to eat.:)

06-05-2002, 06:59 PM
why don't you provide a link to the site instead of cutting and pasting?

06-05-2002, 08:44 PM
Guys, Morrowind is already being hailed in the PC Gaming community and numerous websites, a good review is nothing special!

06-06-2002, 09:27 PM
He provided a link and cut and pasted.

That way you can choose which one you want to read and stop complaining.