Dec. 12, 2002
Morrowind

Morrowind, an RPG presented in the first person, is one of those games: Looks cool, gets you all excited because of the seemingly boundless potential, etc.

...so you invest 10, 15, even 20 hours playing it before you realize that it suX0rs.

I review from the outside in, so let's talk packaging. Morrowind comes the new small format box, so it's good for the environment. There's a paper map of the "Island of Vvardenfell," so that's not so good for the environment.

Two CDs provide the game files and the "ElderScrolls Construction Set," for those of you who have nothing better to do than learn how to use proprietary CAD software to design video game add-ons (I will not say "loser").

The game manual is woefully incomplete, however, and if you play for hours before visiting one of the fan sites devoted to the game, then you'll be agog with annoyance at the various undocumented game rules and logic(s). It's one of those manuals kept deliberately spare to encourage the gamer to purchase the strategy guide...

...which, coincidentally, is published by the same company that publishes the game itself.

Fucking crass.


Is it me, or is this
the
darkest game ever
?



Spend more money!


What's he doing?
I can't see!



Is that a bird or a tree?
I can't see!

Installation is pretty straightforward. You'll find that Morrowind plays much better if you use one of the easy-to-find game cracks that allow you to play without the CD-ROM in your drive. Morrowind employs the SafeDisc copy protection solution from those pricks at Macrovision.

Morrowind utilizes a character creation system that's pretty clever. You're asked a series of question, in-game, which then determines what type of character you'll start with.

Of course, you can choose your own attributes and skills, if that's your druthers, but it doesn't really matter, because regardless of which character type you choose -- Acrobat, Battlemage, Barbarian, etc. -- you won't be limited by this choice.

Any character type can use any type of armor, magic or skill. The character types are simply templates that distribute your starting-off points to different areas.

Your skills and attributes will grow by use, so even if you select a warrior class to start, if you find yourself casting lots of magic, your magic skills will automatically ramp up.

I'm sure this all sound just dandy to you, but Morrowind's gameplay is where things start to get ugly. First off, your character moves rrreeeaaalllyyy...

...ssslllooowwwlllyyy. It's a real fucking drag to have to explore one of the largest three-dimensional gameworlds at a snail's pace.

Also, the game lacks soul. NPCs have fairly unique looks, thanks to Morrowind's "paper doll" 3D models, which use the same body type, but have different hair colors, clothes, weapons and so on -- but they typically have only one or two unique phrases; the rest are generic.

For instance, if you speak to a bookseller, the conversation tree is the exact same conversation tree as a thief on the other side of town -- the only notable exception being that she will sell you a book.


Maybe moving slowly is okay when you're moving in the FREAKIN' DARK.


Your database.

Fuck screens you can
hardly see, let's check
out Bond Girls...

Combat is particularly g@y, as neither the game engine nor the monsters themselves provide any feedback when you're duking it out.

Like, there's no grunts or squeals of pain -- just a repetitive attack noise, and then a groan when they die.

Gimme some location-specific damage on the models, or at least some fucking blood decals on the walls and ground! I don't want a little "puff" of colored texture to let me know the bad guy's dead.

To Bethesda's credit, however, corpses will stay on the ground indefinitely, unless you specifically "remove" the corpse--there's no sterile "fading out of sight."

The graphics themselves are impressive, particularly the landscape. Morrowind renders its world with high counts of polygons, detailed textures and even reflective, pixel-shaded water that ripplesas you pass through it.

Character models look generally excellent...except when they're moving. They're all elbows and knees, particularly when running, just look terrible in motion. Monster animations are sometimes worse, sometimes slightly better -- probably because I don't know how a chicken-legged troll with a prehensile tail would move in the Real World.

I'd been anticipating Morrowind for years, and it was not what I'd been expecting -- I quit in disgust.

Morrowind's a great looking game, but it feels like a 3D interface for a database, where you simply wander around like a cursor, punching in values. When I stopped playing, my character was hauling around a few hundred pounds of flour, bowls, forks, arrows, shields, broken gears, books, and Christ knows what other miscellaneous horseshit.

It doesn't help that Morrowind commits the grevious sin of being a single-player ONLY game, filled with boring, generic NPCs.

Not recommended at all.

EDITOR'S NOTE:
I hate this game. As a rule.

Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind

Bethesda Softworks
- Win 98, Me, 2000, XP
- 500 MHz processor
- 128 MB RAM
- 1 GB hard drive space

Complain here, preferably with
"You shoot me in a dream, you'd better wake up and apologize."

King Mongo | Rants | NA!P

Text is copyright © 2002, King Mongo
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