Sometimes you make a game and really set some new standards with what to expect, and Bethesda did something special with Skyrim that really made what was a vast, deep and expansive game series appeal to a more mainstream audience. Oblivion laid the groundwork of course but Skyrim launched the game into a whole new light.

After putting my time into TESO, without playing the PC version in the first instance, I really tried not to go into the game expecting much. In fact, as stated in my first impressions, many of my doubts about the Online elements of the game were “sent to Oblivion”. Oh how I like my puns.

But after putting a decent shift into the world I really feel the shadow of Skyrim casts over TESO so much it leaves the game… quite dull. This is no reflection on the quality of the experience, I just feel the action and excitement of playing as the Dragon Born in Skyrim is a gameplay mechanic that was so loved, without it the same excitement and fun is somewhat diminished.

One think to point out with this is rather obvious but, do not go into the game thinking it’s the next edition of The Elder Scrolls games. A very hard thing to do, comparisons are human nature. But, to get the beast experience it’s best to treat this game as MMORPG set in the Elder Scrolls universe and subject to the lore.

It is not the sixth game in The Elder Scrolls series, say it with me gamers!

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Because of the nature of getting around Skyrim the part that really made the game entertaining to play were the random encounters with Dragons as you explored the beautiful lands and varying seasonal weather. Some of the scenery was beautiful, even on the very strained console versions of the game that really struggled with the visuals combined with the size of the database in such a vast world.

With TESO there are two unfortunate elements combining on console to lower your enjoyment. Firstly, the graphics are a bit outdated, they are nicely presented and have some well designed locations but nothing is particularly spectacular. Secondly, there is a lack of random enjoyment to be had from encountering a massive dragon as you wander around, enter a village or even casually walk out of a building. The unpredictability of it’s predecessor has been lost somewhat.

Lore would state that in this time period this could not happen, I get they have to stick with it and while there are some dragons out there, reports of confrontations are minimal.

But within the main theme of the game, we’re talking about creatures from the realm of Oblivion, portals open with some really nasty looking creatures pouring out of them and everything looks so intense during some missions. It’s a shame that generally, this is game what plays like a gentle stroll at times. It would be far more exciting for them to have random encounters more frequently and more input from the Daedric creatures just as you get around.

Not dragons but it could be something to make life interesting as you explore.

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Now this isn’t an insult to the game in any way, it’s my own take so of course disagree with me if you love it, and actually, as you’ll see in the review, I do really like the game as a package. I just feel this could have been worked on over the year building to a console launch.

I’m putting the review together but this was too much to go into within the review alone, the game as a package gives so much it should just have pushed itself further than its predecessor for excitement rather than stepping back from it and, in effect, standing in its shadow. There are a lot of positives to be found in the missions and the Online elements, even the fact you can (to a point!) play a lot of the game solo if you wish and not really miss out too much.

More on TESO Tamriel Unlmited over the weekend but I wanted to share my thoughts before the review. What are your thoughts on The Elder Scrolls Online? Let us know, Join the MGL Gamers and leave us a comment or send us a Tweet or comment on Facebook.

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