After absolutely hammering The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited PlayStation 4 beta virtually all weekend, we’re actually a bit sad to see it go. Our jaunt back into Tamriel has been an enjoyable one, despite the fact that it never truly wowed us. Perhaps this is another case of keeping expectations relatively low, and coming out of the experience pleasantly surprised – we can’t really say, but what we do know is that console players looking for a meaty massively multiplayer online time sink will definitely want to keep an eye on this one.
The presentation of the game is completely Elder Scrolls Online gold store, as defined by Oblivion. The characters have that same glass-eyed look when you approach them for conversation, even if the NPCs do look like they’ve lost a bit of weight since Skyrim. When you’re in conversations, they’re all fully voiced. It’s an appreciated inclusion, but the voice acting is hit or miss, as one would expect from a project of this scope. Get used to hearing the same voices over and over again. Urns, crates, and bookshelves litter the world, full of random items for you to steal or books for you to read. Overall, it feels like falling into the warm embrace of a close friend; Zenimax Online knew what type of visual presentation modern players were looking for in the Elder Scrolls name and they’ve delivered on that end.
So, down to the gameplay. I’ve never played an MMO before so purism can be thrown out that window. The game is basically an Elder Scrolls game (but not as pretty because of the sacrifices needed to host the MMO style) but you have a bunch of people all doing the same quest you are – giving a completely different experience. This sort of hinders the feel of the game (compared to its predecessors) because I feel like I’m doing some sort of fantasy murder-mystery tour where you ask various characters for clues before completing the quest, while seeing about four other people doing the same thing. This can get quite confusing, as you will kill an enemy, only for the enemy to re-spawn the second someone else gets to the same bit as you. So far this has only happened with standard enemies.
Starting with character creation, the detail put into cheap ESO gold online is uncanny, which should be no surprise to fans of the Elder Scrolls franchise. Between the ten playable races and a seemingly endless supply of appearance customization options, you’ll be able to create virtually any look you want in game – from reptilian Argonian to sleek and furry Khajiit to your standard, stoic almost-human. Each race comes with its own unique traits, as well as racial skill trees to sink points into as you progress through the game. If you’re any kind of min/maxer you’ll do well to check out your race options before committing to a race/class combination, to ensure that your racial skills complement your class choice. Classes are fairly minimal in The Elder Scrolls Online, with only four options available; Dragonknight, Sorcerer, Nightblade, and Templar.
Though that may seem restrictive at a glance, the open system for skills in game will allow you to tailor your character to your own playstyle as you level up to some extent. Every one of its systems has been done better in the past, repeatedly. A few exceptions serve only as bright flashes to illuminate the desolate wasteland of dead ambition and imagination that is the rest of the game. From the first moment it’s a dull, dreary affair in every respect. The aesthetics are grey collections of fantasy tropes that draw solely from the most boring areas the franchise can offer. Quests don’t feel as such, more odd jobs to fetch animal livers or confirm information between two NPCs within earshot of one another.
That last bit is brand new for longtime Elder Scrolls gamers, since all the past console-based games were single-player. A few of the beginning quests are doable on your own, but most pursuits-including multiple-tiered assignments, dungeon raids, and mega-powered bosses-need more manpower. Some events even require a group of at least four strategizing adventurers just to make it through in one piece. The quests themselves range from puzzle-solving affairs (that need the right magical book or weapon to solve) to logic conundrums (that require listening skills and reasoning) to murderous hit jobs (that are self-explanatory) to out-and-out warring battles (that demand the right blend of healers, tanks and ranged shooters).
The newbie island experience is so anguish-inducing that, in a rare case of listening to beta tester feedback, the developers provided an option of skipping it entirely as the default choice, foregoing a half-dozen Skyshards for skill point upgrades, leveling, and equipment opportunities. If you aren’t clear on what skipping the newbie island means until later, you may find yourself backtracking to find this choice that the game glossed over without prompting.