One of the biggest RPG franchises went to MMO on PC over a year ago, along with a promise of a console launch. This took Bethesda a year longer than expected but to make us all feel better the subscription fee was dropped and now we can bring you this The Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited Review.
But those coming into this game expecting the next episode of The Elder Scrolls, following the outstanding Skyrim in 2011, will be expecting something this game is not. This is a MMORPG set in Tamriel at a time where there are no dragons constantly swooping into attack you, rather the nasty influence of Molag Bol and his Daedric army attacking the mortal realm.
It’s a shame the potential of this premises often crosses the line into being dull and mundane at times. As a package there is so much to do, explore and get involved with but no one element strikes you as something special that you simply can’t stop from playing.
I missed the PC version of this so really took my time with TESO Tamriel Unlimited on Xbox One, and very much enjoyed it, I just never got full engrossed in the experience like in the traditional TES games. The excitement brought to the series by Skyrim, is lost somewhat and the game almost feels like it’s hiding in its predecessor’s shadow, even if it’s not a direct sequel, comparisons are hard not to be made.
Still, it’s a huge world and an enjoyable experience both for the lone adventurer and in teams of players.
Look & Feel
There was a certain beauty to playing Skyrim back in 2011 mixed with a sense of adventure and unpredictability as you explored the land in habited by dragons. I earlier wrote of the Shadow of Skyrim and how it really makes it tough for the Elder Scrolls Online and the graphics & atmosphere of the game suffer.
Its a different style of game of course, but comparisons are hard not to make and this game has more a feel of playing a Morrowind type adventure. The graphics engine is nothing spectacular, the game looks nice on console, but nothing more than that. The sheer size of the game, even to run on the Xbox One as I played it or the PS4, had effected the level of graphical output compared to the PC version.
Most Elder Scrolls fans won’t mind this too much since its not why you play this type of game but it is a little downgraded and loses some of the wow factor from those beautifully designed cities and lands of Tamriel which is a shame.
The atmosphere of the title starts very nicely and feels very Elder Scrolls in its start. Soon after getting to grips with things everything becomes a little bland in general play but when you enter into campaign missions and multiplayer challenges it soon picks up again.
There are compromises here, none of which ever spoil the game but they do hold it back a little.
Story & Gameplay
You begin as one of the souls trapped by Molag Bol within his realm of Oblivion, the prison is being used to capture the mortals from the world of Tamriel but soon you escape with the help of Lyris. Once you release the prophet to guide you on a quest to save the land, you are returned to Tamriel to begin your journey. This all depends on your faction of course, choosing your character will land you in one of three factions and different regions of Tamriel.
Once free to explore the game really takes hold as an MMORPG with solid balance between playing solo and playing in teams. As a person prone to a more “lone wolf” approach it was nice to be allowed to level up with a large number of early quests that seemed to be available at every turn. Some ranging from simply “get quests” to more intricate missions that required some exploration and skill.
There is defiantly no end of things to do in The Elder Scrolls Online, your desire to do them varies from task to task here but, much like the traditional games, there are some very well designed missions to undertake outside the main plot. Once you are at higher levels you can tackle more missions in the main quest and also engage with other players and the online element starts to shine.
Taking on dungeons or big creatures in groups is very satisfying and now a few patches have come along the experience I had was very stable with some really fun action to be had. With a rich levelling system that means you get some very handy abilities, again varying between your character’s race and class. Being a dark elf I was all out action, duel wilding weapons and slashing up as many monsters as I could.
Combat is similar to that expected of an Elder Scrolls title, playing first person is best to get the up close brutality of slicking your enemies in bits or making that perfect parry so they are vulnerable to a massive strike. I often found myself switching to third person in tight situations however, in order to get more vision in the dungeons and caves of the world. With distance and view settings for each one, it’s very handy and more games should do this.
Ultimately, this is about working as a team and there are so many missions you can take with your party you’ll have a lot of opportunity to build up your levels and loot as you do more. It’s strange that on a quest all party members must perform the one action, so if you are finding something each of you must find your own, but other than that oddity it’s really fun if lacking in the same addictive quality as other games.
The reason to play The Elder Scrolls games is gameplay and while missions can be good and really give you a challenge, in general play the game still seems a little too safe but it’s still enjoyable to play.
With an endless array of missions and some well created main quests there is a seriously large amount of things to do in Tamriel and it’s a wonderful land to explore. The lack of excitement in the game may well keep you from wanting to get involved with it at times however, as the game takes a backwards step from Skyrim in how addictive and fun the experience is overall.
This is not the next Elder Scrolls adventure however, as its own game set in the land of Tamriel and its lore, The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited is a solid start to online action in this universe with some clever touches and enjoyable moments. It’s a solid foundation to build from for coming updates and potentially a sequel. I did miss dragons and they should be in a sequel when it comes along but for now there is plenty to TESO to keep gamers happy.
The Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited Review Format: Xbox One