DLC Review: ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE: MORROWIND is Sublime Yet Confused

Gameplay and Story

I have extremely fond memories of loading (and reloading over and over) my save with Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind on my original Xbox. Even though the models, animation, and textures were crude, the freedom and exploration aspects were second-to-none. Now, Bethesda has graced us with the latest iteration of the mushroom filled land in Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind. Yep, once again after creating a new character, you find yourself on the docks of Seyda Neen and yes, it looks absolutely glorious. As you quest, fight, and explore your way through Vvardenfell, there is so much that looks familiar and yet so much that is new. Experiencing these lands and characters with the latest game engine is Morrowind's biggest strength. It's a near perfect mix of nostalgia and modern wonder. 

With gameplay, it's the same old ESO for better or for worse. Combat is the similar though the Warden is a welcome addition to the class roster as it feels fresh and new. All the other classes, are basically the same and it feels just a bit.. flat. Either way, I still feel that this game would be much better suited as a single player game as the MMO elements just don't promote social interaction or bring a sense of community besides trading which just feels broken. It's extremely sad to see an amazing single player opportunity forced into a MMO. 

Graphics and Sound

As mentioned, the lands of Vvardenfell realized here are absolutely sublime. Water laps up against the dock, the sunsets across the swamp are stunning, and fire, mist, fog, and character models are near perfect. As you can see from the screenshot above, (click for full 4K resolution), lighting effects are gorgeous and you will not be disappointed if you have a machine powerful enough to handle the graphics maxed out.

The audio is equally impressive as voiced acting is stellar, the soundtrack is one of the best I've heard as of late, and combat effects are powerful and pack a punch. Absolutely no complaints in the sound department.

Replayability and What Could Be Better

Another thing that ESO: Morrowind has going for it is there is a ton to do and see. You could spend months in this fleshed-out world but once again, it brings us to why is this really even a MMORPG? It could easily be it's own stand alone world of Elder Scrolls while we wait for the next entry after Skyrim. So, as MMO, the game is somewhat fragmented and weak, as a single player experience, Morrowind shines because of the number of fully voiced quests and areas to explore though nothing adds to make it a better online experience. This could easily be 100% offline.

The Verdict

Once again, I find myself at a crossroads on giving this game an actual numbered score. As addon for the base ESO, it's IMHO, the best of the bunch by far. There is just something special about Morrowind as a whole. Maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it's the swamps with volcanoes. Either way, it's a lovely adventure. As an MMORPG, I find the online and "social" components to be cumbersome at best. I'd rather just take this wonderful land and make it a polished single player experience instead of shoehorning in the MMO portion. If you're a fan of ESO, you're going to love it. If you are a newcomer, I don't know if even the best DLC will make you pony up for a monthly ESO Plus sub. Either way, it was a sheer plaeasure to be at the docks of Sedya Neen yet again...

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