# of Players:
When The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was released last year
on Xbox, I rejoiced. I was a huge fan of The Elder Scrolls:
Daggerfall, and didnít have anything close to the hardware
required to play the PC version. Although buggy, it was the first
time Iíve felt a PC style RPG was actually worth playing on a
console since Kingís Bounty (which was more strategy anyway)
for the Sega Genesis. The freedom it offered was a refreshing
change from most console RPGs, and itís still one of the few RPGs
for any system that really lets the player roleplay the character.
PC gamers eventually received two expansion packs for the game in
Tribunal and Bloodmoon, and for months Xbox gamers hungry
for more Morrowind pleaded for a version of these.
Finally Bethesda has answered our prayers with the Game of the
Year Edition (GOTY), which features the original Morrowind
and both expansion packs in one complete package.
Since we discussed the gameplay in detail in
review of the original game, I wonít bore those of you whoíve
played it with too much depth here. Basically, Morrowind
is an open-ended RPG where the player is in control of his destiny
to an enormous degree. There is a ďmainĒ storyline to follow,
but the player can choose to ignore it if he wishes and still get
100s of hours of gameplay out of the numerous side quests presented
by individuals, guilds, Great Houses, etc.
While Morrowind takes place on the island of Vvardenfell,
Tribunal and Bloodmoon add the areas of
Mournhold/Clockwork City and Solstheim respectively.
Bloodmoon is the better expansion pack overall, as it features
more locations and landmass to explore, a frozen terrain much
different from Vvardenfell and just plain fun to explore, and a
slightly better storyline than Tribunal. Bloodmoon
borrows heavily from mythology (it is home to Nords after all), and
this shows in a better diversity of quests and story elements.
The landscape is littered with frozen lakes, standing monoliths, log
cabins, and icy caves. Bloodmoon also provides the
opportunity to turn into a werewolf, which dramatically alters
gameplay (even more than turning into a vampire in the original
game) and adds a nice bit of variety to the Morrowind
Thatís not to say that Tribunal is bad by any means, but the
few new areas it provides are fairly repetitive and not much
different than the original game. I do like the fact that
Tribunalís storyline ties into the main quest much more than
Bloodmoon (including some awesome cameos of characters mentioned
in the original), but unfortunately that means that the quests,
characters, and locations often feel like a rehash of the original
game. The architecture in Tribunal is unique, but not
diverse enough to stay interesting throughout the entire city of
Mournhold (where most of the action takes place).
Both expansion packs are geared towards higher-level characters,
although almost any level character can participate in them.
Lower-level characters should probably stay away from these for a
while, as even with a Level 68 Wood Elf Iíve found a considerable
amount of challenge in each. In addition to providing new
quests and enemies, both expansion packs add new armors & weapons to
the mix. These for the most part arenít drastically different
from those found in the original game, but do have their own unique
look and advantages.
They also address a few other complaints about the original game.
For instance Mournhold has merchants that carry considerably more
money than in those in the original game, which solves the problem
of having nowhere to sell expensive stuff collected during the game.
Mournhold also features a museum that will buy the most unique and
expensive of artifacts for display. The game also now displays
an enemy health bar, which is a big addition because before it was a
complete guessing game as to how much damage an attack was doing to
an enemy. If you still need a challenge even with the
expansion packsí harder areas, thereís even a difficulty slider that
can make the game a true challenge for even the toughest characters.
Speaking of combat, it takes place in real-time with the player
using a variety of weapons (swords, axes, bows, daggers, etc.) and
magic to dispatch foes. Characters must be planned and
developed smartly in order to maximize efficiency in the skills the
player wishes to use. Weapons are used with the right trigger
button, with the length the button is held down determining how hard
it hits. Again, Iím barely scratching the surface here so be
sure to read our
review of the original game if youíd like more detail.
additional content Bethesda added to the game is great, but
unfortunately itís what wasnít fixed that hurts this game. The
dirty disk errors and freezes that plagued the first game are still
here, although gladly they do not occur as frequently as before.
In fact, I've only encountered the dirty disk error once the entire
time I've played - using my original character no less. That's
a big change from the original, where I got them daily. Make
follow Bethesdaís advice before you start a new GOTY game
though. The loading times are even worse than before, with
frequent pauses in combat, dialogue, new areas, etc. This is
most frustrating in the heat of combat, as youíll often find
yourself frozen for a few seconds before getting the freedom to move
again. Itís also common for the timing of events to be off due
to this, such as the sound of an axe coming several seconds after it
Page 2 of 2-->