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The Elder Scrolls III : Morrowind

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: ZeniMax Media Inc.
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: RPG

Graphics & Sound:

With Morrowind being made on such a grand scale, some may have thought that the developers would have had to shave off some of the visual power in order to put out a better game. This is definitely not true. While there may be some graphical glitches here and there, along with a fair share of rough edges and loading times, the world of Morrowind comes off stunning enough to hold even some of the most jaded gamers in awe. Not only are character animations well done, the unique environment comes to life before the players eyes in a way that draws you into the fantasy world.

Along with the graphics comes a host of sound effects and musical tracks. The music is prevalent through most of the game, and does as good a job at drawing the player into the world as the graphics do. The sound effects also add to the enchanting spell cast over you as you enter Morrowind, but make their appearance in far less quantities than the music. What can mostly be heard is the sound of your character running, or the calming sound of rain or a body of water when you can come across one. More would have been better, but there is enough to get by.


Gameplay:

The gameplay of Morrowind revolves around the Main Quest, though it does not revolve fast enough to keep you locked to it if you feel like moving in another direction. Equally as important as the Main Quest are the many Faction and Miscellaneous Quests that can serve as another means of gaining experience and knowledge of the huge world.

As you enter this strange new place, you are given the choice of your race and class. 10 unique races and 21 different classes are what you have to choose from, leaving open the door to a heaping number of possible character types. As the beginning of the story unfolds, you find your traits falling into place as you make the crucial choices on who you are and where you came from. Also, if you feel up to it, custom classes can be made, making it possible for anyone to find their niche in this game.

At the root of the game, the very force that advances the story is your desire to adventure. Without this desire, you would go nowhere. No matter what paths you choose, the things that will get you there are your curiosity and lust for excitement. If you like sticking to the beaten path, you'll still be pleased at the end of the game, but taking the road less traveled and exploring the world for yourself will reveal loads of opportunities to advance your character as well as the storyline.

The Main Quest is broken up into dozens of linear adventures that you have to go on, as is true for the Faction Quests. How you go about accomplishing these errands, though, is entirely up to you and what your character can do. The choices are many, but are not plain as day. Different people with different imaginations will never go through the game the same way, and the same is true if you start another character. No two experiences here, whether they happen to the same person or different people, will ever be the same.


Difficulty:

Morrowind can either be the hardest or easiest game you've ever played. The difficulty will depend on your character and your method of playing, eliminating the need for difficulty settings. Figuring out what traits you prefer and how they best suit you isn't hard at all, and you'll probably start more than one game, giving you a better scope of how Morrowind is designed.

If you're extremely new to this genre, however, you may want to pick up the official strategy guide, which just so happens to be put out by the same company that made the game. This excellent book provides race and class descriptions, maps, and walkthroughs of every quest in the game. It's doubtful that anyone could fully complete the game without it.


Game Mechanics:

From either first or third person, you can explore the world of Morrowind. Neither view really has any big advantages over the other, instead, they serve to give more variety to the game. Moving around the fully 3D world is done the same as in most other first or third person games, with the keyboard and mouse configuration.

The press of the right mouse button brings up all the menus you'll ever have to use. These scalable windows present vital information about the world and your character, including but not limited to a map, skills, and personal stats. From here you manage your inventory and check up on your current state of being.

Fighting inside of a 3D world isn't a daunting task, a fact that holds true in Morrowind. Whether you're using iron or intellect, the act of bringing harm to your foe is inherently easy. Blocking is taken care of by the computer, as it is a universal skill that you must get better at in order to block attacks more frequently. Magic is probably the most complicated aspect of battle, as it requires the use of hot keys more often than not. However, it is only relatively difficult, and actually works very well to achieve the desired effect.

Morrowind is a masterfully designed piece of software. It meshes together diverse gameplay with an even more diverse story line, ultimately delivering one hell of an experience no matter how you go about playing it. Perfect for both veterans and newcomers of the genre, this title is a diamond in the pile of filth that people have been forced to sift through for too long.


-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows ME/98, 128 MB RAM, 500 MHZ Processor, 8X CD-ROM, 1 GB Free Hard Disk Space, 32 MB Video Card
 

Test System:



Windows 98, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce 2 mx 32MB video card, 40 gig hard drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card, T1 Internet connection

Windows Midnight Club 2 Windows Morrowind: Bloodmoon

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated