The Elders Scrolls series is famous for its numerous award-winning titles like Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim and even the early 3D tunnels of Daggerfall. All of which laid the foundations for many of the RPGs we see today. The Elders Scrolls Online seems like a natural progression for the series, and many fans have yearned for the day they could quest in one of Bethesda’s beautifully crafted worlds with their friends. Could this possibly be the finest Elders Scrolls experience ever conceived?
When you think of an MMO you usually think of things like monthly subscription fees, and that’s one of the best things about TESO – there isn’t any fee whatsoever. When it originally launched on PC a year ago there was a fee, but luckily it has been dropped due to community backlash for its horde of bugs at the time, which for the most part are all sorted out now. So luckily Xbox One players are jumping in at the right time. There are however lots of micro transactions in the game but you will be happy to hear that they are mostly for cosmetic changes to your character. Speaking of cosmetics you can expect the same deep character customization the series is well known for returning in TESO. You can select from 9 different races and 4 classes. The classes are pretty much what you would expect form a Scrolls game, ranging from your Fighter class to your Mage class.
You start the game off by escaping a prison in the Daedric underworld. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve had to escape a prison in an Elders Scrolls game – I would be able write this review from a private jet while Richard Branson gives me a light foot massage. After freeing ‘The Prophet’ you escape to Tamriel where you are literally told to go off and do whatever you want.
The world is certainly vast but it’s not as detailed as the world of say Skyrim. Naturally sacrifices had to be made when taking the concept online, things like object based physics are missing and the wilderness is certainly not densely populated with animals and lush vegetation. MMO’s have never been about stress testing your GPU, and games like World of Warcraft have sustained millions of players on decade old visuals just fine. It certainly looks okay for an MMO, but it’s hard to not directly compare it to the vast detailed tundra of Skyrim and not get a little sad. However there are lots of things to get excited about if you are a fan of previous games in the series, such as the ability to once again join guilds that offer some great varied quests to help your rise up within the ranks. The crafting system has also been improved to offer more depth, such as the ability to master your cooking and woodworking skills – essentials for those mid-quest dinner parties when you want to leave a lasting impressions on your fellow party members.
The combat feels good and very similar to Skyrim on console. You won’t be able to re-map your control layout sadly but it does feel very intuitive from the get go, with magic abilities easily accessible via the D-pad and combat on the triggers. Holding the right trigger down powers up an attack, and you can easily switch between third and first-person by holding down on the D-pad.
I must say that I am no veteran to MMOs, I find them to be a bit too difficult to get into and even intimidating. Having said that I got into the Elders Scrolls Online with ease, it really does feel like Skyrim with lots of people running around. Even though the world is populated with plenty of other players the game still lets you lone wolf it if you want and you can pretty much play it exactly like you would Skyrim – which is a little pointless but the option is there. When it comes to the Xbox One there certainly are not a whole lot of options when it comes to MMOs, especially ones that can compete with the greats on PC.
The Elders Scrolls Online does a great job of offering not only a great MMO experience to console players, but one that fans of the previous games will quickly latch onto and enjoy. It doesn’t have the wow factor of a fully-fledged sequel but I think fans of the Scrolls games will be more than satisfied with this latest online adventure.