Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Elder Scrolls

Morrowind. Chapter III of the Elder Scrolls series. I've mentioned before how highly I think of it, both as a fun way to pass an hour or two (or more...), and also as a beautiful experience where you have the opportunity to snap some good virtual landscape shots.

I recently picked up a copy of the Elder Scrolls Anthology for a very, very cheap price. This package includes Arena (never played, never going to play), Daggerfall (played for about 20 minutes before coming to the conclusion that sometimes progress is a good thing), Morrowind (have been playing this for many, many years already), Oblivion (played it, never really liked it when compared to Morrowind), and the latest, Skyrim. The package is very nice: a handsome book-like box, which folds out to display artwork, and copies of the maps for all the games (yes, these are games that come with maps..).

Morrowind has been a part of my life for a long time now. I have never got tired of it, and hope to continue enjoying it for many more years to come (especially as projects like the impressive Tamriel Rebuilt continue to add interesting new content). I don't believe any game before has had such detail while at the same time as having such wide scope. With the new land added by Tamriel Rebuilt it can literally take many, many "real time" hours to cross from one side of the playable area to the other. And this is to ignore the landscapes, towns, cities, people, caves, mountains, rivers, streams, waterfalls, seas, lakes and other assorted things on the way. Morrowind is a whole land, filled with people and history and things to do and see.

I always think that Morrowind should be the game that "non-gamers" should try playing, to see what games as a medium are capable of, both technically and artistically.

I have been playing Morrowind for nearly 12 years (there's a scary thought..), and I still have places to explore and things to do, so I won't feel bad at all if I'm still playing it in another 12 years. A fascinating world.

After playing and not really enjoying Oblivion (the game between Morrowind and Skyrim) I wasn't expecting much from Skyrim. However, it was included in the Anthology, so I felt I should install it and have a go. Actually, I am impressed it even ran on my eight year old computer, but run it did, and quite well too; the system requirements are surprisingly low for a game that looks as good as it does.

I installed a few mods, mostly to make the game a slightly more immersive and realistic experience. There are still things I don't like about it, such as the hand-holding quest markers etc (Morrowind didn't hand-hold), but if you can look beyond things like that, it really is an engrossing experience. Just as with Morrowind, when I find myself wanting to explore simply to find out more about the world I am playing in, and its history, that's quite an interesting thing. How fascinating is it to think, "I can go to that place far off in the distance and explore. Or, I can head to that town over there and see what's happening there. Or, maybe I want to climb that mountain over there.. Or..." Within reasonable limits, these games really do let you go and do whatever you want, and be whatever kind of character you want to be.

I think a game like Skyrim should appeal to people who don't think of themselves as "gamers". It gives you so much freedom to play in the way you want to play, and includes an interesting story and set of characters. Certainly, if you have enjoyed something like Game of Thrones in the slightest bit, it's a fair bet you would enjoy a game like Skyrim. Give it a go maybe.

Anyway, some screenshots of my time so far in Skyrim: