STAFF REVIEW of Elder Scrolls III : Morrowind (Xbox)

Tuesday, July 9, 2002.
by Queasy Buddy

Elder Scrolls III : Morrowind Box art The new benchmark for next generation consoles has arrived. The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind, the third official instalment in Bethesda?s popular action-RPG series is finally arrived on to the ?box?, and like its predecessor it is a game so enjoyable, it has the power to pull videogame players into its imaginative worlds and refuse to let go for days. Rarely is there such a perfect mixture of graphics, sound, and gameplay that even the most cynical players will admit that Morrowind is poised to shape the action RPG genre for years to come. Morrowind features a great story line with tons and tons and tons of side quest that will keep you addicted for weeks (and I assume that even if you tried to zip threw the game without doing any side quest at all it will still take days to conquer this game). One thing I really liked about this game is that you could do anything at anytime and that no one is holding a stopwatch on you. Another thing was the way the game unfolded at the starting to define your character?s appearance and his or her strong points and week points. If you?re the type of player that does not like reading this is definitely not the game for you. You have to have the time and patience to play this game. Trust me.

As soon as you pick up the controls for the first time and start to explore the vast universe that makes up this latest creation from Bethesda, you know you're in for a treat. You can move your character with the left thumb stick and look at the environment around you with the right thumb stick. The A button will help you interact with everything and anything in the beautiful world of Morrowind. The B button will allow you to access a series of important menus. Y will allow you to use magic and X will allow you to draw from a very wide variety of weapons. A good features is that you can scroll threw you weapons and magic quickly and efficiently with the cycle weapon/magic combination. Just simply press and hold the L/R trigger and press either the Y for magic or X for weapons. The attack system is not equally impressive. It is a very repetitive system that gets really frustrating when you miss the enemy several times in a row. Another thing that gets on my nerves is when you are fighting with a creature and you push accidentally on the right thumb stick and it zooms out to third person perspective that really gets annoying. But another great feature is that you can rest anywhere to quickly restore your health and magic. I really like the way the magic works in this game. The way you can make spells and enchant weapons is very impressive details that bring that much more fun to this title. You can join different factions in this game that will give you advantages latter on because you can get stuff for very low prices and make new friends that will give you advice all threw the game. That has to be the best part of the games the faction. The drama that goes on within the faction and the big plot lines that all blend in with one another to end up making some conflicts similar to one of those sopeopra. I really like the way you talk to people in this game. You can ask them almost anything and the way the system work is that some key words will be highlighted in blue and then you can ask about that particular subject.

Remember how impressive it was when you first started to explore around in the 3D environments of the Xbox for the first time? With Morrowind, Bethesda has raised the stakes considerably. Once you step out from underneath the boat and into the world of Morrowind you will be blinded by the early morning sun, you will be mesmerized by the incredible scale and depth of the landscapes. Rolling hills extend all the way to the far horizon, with Morrowinds?s towns barely visible in the hazy distance. After a few minutes, the sun will set, it will get dark, and the moon slowly rises in the sky. Far, far away, a wolf hauls and creatures will ascend from there sleep The graphics are incredible. Elder Scrolls is all about details and visibility. The towns are highly detailed with elaborate wall textures and the beautiful day/night changes. Characters animate fluidly and display several different expressions on their faces. The polygonal environments, colors, and visibility are the best yet seen on the system. The water is so realistic it?s freaky I was amazed at the depth in all the small details Bethesda accomplished. In addition to all the wonderful environment there is also and abundant of creatures roaming the dungeons and outskirts of the towns. The only thing that is not up to par in this game is when you play as a third person perspective. Your character kind of runs weird the motion is not smooth but it doesn?t distract me that much I just play as a first person perspective. Also the weather system is astonishing I admire the way Bethesda programmed the timing and the effects of the weather. The thunderstorms has to be the most authentic part of this marvellous game.

What really makes this game so great is the depth of the sound effects. Every location has a multitude of ambient noises, from the crackling of a fire, the subtle trickling of water to the howling of the wind. The sound effects are brilliant. Depending on what you hit with your sword, you hear a cool metal clank, the bow and arrow are as convincing as the real thing, and the screams of pain of creatures are just downright scary. The environment is alive with bird calls, chirping crickets, animal noises and footsteps. At certain times, thunder can be heard and it will start to rain. Award-winning musician Jeremy Soule returns to deliver a whole new soundtrack full of marvellous melodies that really help to set the mood. Like some of the eerie dungeon tunes recall some sneaking suspicions that something bad is about to go down. Tunes that bring out emotions are surely well done. But one minor suggestion make the melodies a bit longer they are to short and they start to get on my nerves. But other than that the sound is very impressive.

Morrowind is essentially a flawless victory. That?s brings the almighty bar to a new level. One suggestion though make the battles more interesting and exciting. But my hat is off to the Bethesda team.

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


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