Review: The Elder Scrolls Online
"Oh, the places you'll go!" Honestly, that was the first quip that came to my mind when I really I dug into The Elder Scrolls Online. After I got past the initial frustrations of the economy, the chat, and grouping systems. "What is the new devilry?!" was what I had to keep asking myself. Props to Bethesda and the ESO dev team for going out on a limb and bucking the trends of your generic WoW clones and wannabes but for everything that is stellar, there are a few heardscratchers. Now, let's back up a bit shall we? Why even wait so long to release a review of a game that came out months ago? Well, let's start at the beginning.. First off, The character generation and starting areas of the game are absolutely stellar. With a strict attention to detail and a level of polish, even at launch, is extremely impressive to say the least. I had very few connection problems at all throughout most of my play sessions. Technically, the game is quite amazing. Now, after you get a million items in the starting area, you want to sell those on the auction house.. right? Nope. There is no public marketplace or auction house. You have to join a guild to sell your items in an auction style format. Great idea, right? Not if the interface and search engine completely sucks. Yep, for every good idea, there seems to be something that holds it back. Yes, there are mods but come on, this game has been in dev for years.
"Oh the places you'll go!"
For better or worse, most of the convential MMORPGs elements are different here in ESO. While that is extremely refreshing in some ways, it's really painful to have such an item heavy game and such a poor economic interface and design. Also, dungeons, while extremely fun, detailed and for the most part, well designed and integrated into the story, it's painful to see "LFG Spindle!" being spammed over and over. There are options to find groups but it seems backwards and outdated in the age of dungeon finders. You may enjoy that change but we found it quite tedious. Without killing all the fun and spilling all the games secrets, the the strongest point is there IS a ton to do, explore, find and discover for yourself. YOU be the judge if it's worth your mighty gaming dollar but for us, we thought it was worth several months of game time and you may find even more..
Malificent - Summer 2014
Graphics and Sound
If you can't tell by the untouched screenshots in this article, this game looks fantastic and in some areas, absolutely jaw dropping. I took almost 600 screenshots during my months of playtime and I wish I could include them all here. This is eye candy at it's finest, especially for a MMO. While some textures are lacking in detail, for the most part, every area is either a blistering desert, a shimmering oasis or deep, dank cave but what shines the most is the amazing spell effects, skyshard glow and other lighting effects. The character design and facial animation is a huge leap beyond previous Elder Scrolls titles as well and that deserves special mention. Overall, It's stunning to behold and if you have a machine beefy enough to handle it, MAX this sucker out. You won't regret it! A staggering acheivement in both design and execution, THIS is how you do the graphics and effects in a MMORPG. Be sure to check out our industry 1440p video and screenshots below!
If the graphics and effects aren't good enough, you will absolutely be immersed by the stellar sound effects and soundtrack to boot. Still not impressed? How about an all star cast of talented voice actors? Well, this game is chock full of several hours of full voiced quest and story dialogue. While you may get annoyed by some recycled actors a la Skyrim and Oblivion, you can't help to be impressed by the sheer amount of ear candy in this game. Audio and video wise, I can't imagine this game getting any better...
Barbie Horse Adventures Online!
Well, here we arrive at last, for me, the most important part of any game: Is it any fun?! This game is a polished gem in a sea of lame WoW knockoffs, quest and level grinding borefests and other missteps so, there is definitely that to be considered. Did I have fun over the past several months with the game? Definitely. Do I think I'll still be playing this with my friends in a year from now? Probably not. While I praise the devs and had a blast, I can't help to think that making another single player adventure with a co-op option would have been a better option than trying to "force" a full blown MMORPG. That being said, I had fun. I got my money's worth and you will too! Jump in, enjoy the game and you be the judge.
Forget all that you know, love or hate about current MMORPGs because The Elder Scrolls Online, for better or for worse, plays quite a bit different than almost every one out there. While it absolutely excels in the questing, voice acting, graphics and production value area, it slumps in actual grouping, reasons to play with friends and especially the in game "econonmy". Regardless, you will always find some beastie to kill, awesome quest line to follow and something entertaining to do. Overall, this is a fantastic game but.. why not just make a single player sequel to Skyrim instead..?
4/5 Stars -- Digital Hippos Recommended