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Past Articles
Home > Review Archive > Video Games > Results: Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
by Robert M. Andrews
July 10, 2003

Oh, the places you'll go...

Reviewed for PC, XBOX.

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GamerDad Seal Of Approval - 14+.  Click to learn more about our review seal. Oh, the places you'll go...

Bethesda's Morrowind is the third game in the Elder Scrolls saga, but, like most PC game series, you need not be familiar with the first few games to feel at home here. Right at home, in a massive fully 3D world with amazing sights to see, a rich history (they report six novels worth of text - and it reads like six hours), towns ‘aplenty, and hours upon hours of exploration. Morrowind is one of those rare RPGs that offers a central quest, but its one you can ignore in favor of questing, exploring, or simply role-playing, until you want to solve the storyline.

Morrowind uses a skill-based system and with that you can determine exactly what you want to be. An Assassin, a Mage, Thief, Warrior, Monk, Priest, or any combinations in between are possible. You can let the game determine your class for you by answering a series of ethical dilemmas, pick a class from a list, or simply pick skills to make a custom class. A Thief character can rob merchants, explore ruins for artifacts and sell them to a fence, and more, while a Mage character might roam in pursuit of knowledge and a Priest on the lookout to do good deeds. In this way the game is different every time you begin, and everyone will have a different experience with it.

Exploring would be pointless if the graphics weren't attractive and Morrowind's are flat out gorgeous. The sun rises and sets, wind and dust storms kick up, the geography is consistent and the graphics are capable of not only showing a castle across the desert, but also lets you keep it in sight as you walk for miles to reach it. It looms ever larger as you go. The world has a sense of mystery and age that belie the fact that it's all just visual state-of-the-art graphical trickery. Morrowind breathes like a real world.

On top of all that wide-open gameplay the PC version ships with the toolset anyone can use to make their own content. Already the web and various fansites are home to custom Morrowind items and soon enough we'll likely see new islands and quests too. The tools are difficult to master but it was generous of Bethesda to include them.

The only drawbacks are those inherent in this sort of design. The larger the area modeled and the more options you cram into a game, the more dilution you're going to experience. Consequently even the most die-hard players are going to have to ignore the dull-as-dishwater non-player characters populating this land (there are thousands of them) and infrequent boring stretches between thrills. The advantage of a smaller story based RPG are the thrills and story, Morrowind buries its story under freedom. This is nirvana to some, but may feel pointless to others. Taken on it's own strengths Morrowind is a fabulous RPG and one fans have been waiting for for years. When they finish it, perhaps years from now, they'll have to agree it was worth the wait.

ESRB: T- Teen
Ages: 14+Versions The PC version is superior. It allows for higher resolutions and a ton of user-made modifications available, for free, over the net. Producer/Developer Bethesda Softworks

More Morrowind
Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal
Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon

Click to learn more about GamerDad's Kid Factor review section. Morrowind is a deep and involving game. It requires patience, motivation, and lots and lots, (and lots) of free time. It's the perfect summer game for a fantasy fan but may be too intense for some younger players. I can imagine 10 year olds getting into it, but I placed the age at 14, because that's when I would have really dug this game. On the plus side, Morrowind is beautiful to explore and there's plenty to do without combat. Bethesda has hand crafted a compelling and unique fantasy world. One on par with the Ultimas and Might & Magics you may wax nostalgic about yourself. Kid Factor by Robert M. Andrews

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