The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited - Orsinium (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 09.12.2015

Review for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited - Orsinium on PlayStation 4

Orsinium is the second major DLC pack for The Elder Scrolls Online, and whereas The Imperial City was dedicated mostly to the high-level players out there and with a focus on PVP, this one promises to bring something for everyone. It's definitely the biggest pack to date, with a gargantuan new zone, a massive amount of story details to experience, new public dungeons, new crafting and plenty of side quests and some brand new features - undeniably a lot of content, but is it worth the high price tag?

In the world of Tamriel, Orsinium is the ancestral home of the Orcs. While they have become a clan-based system of fragmented tribes, a charismatic leader "King Kurog" is now trying to unite all these factions, with an aim to restore their ancient home and the glory that was once their empire. It's not going to be easy, however, since there are enemies all around willing to stop this alliance, and, even worse, enemies within their own ranks who would take the leadership of their people for their own. For fans of The Elder Scrolls, the prospect of exploring the history and lore of the Orcs is fantastic, taking into account the fact that they have been very much unexplored since way back with the second title in the series, Daggerfall.

The ESO Orcs have a culture far more rich and diverse than their counterparts in Warhammer or Warcraft, for example, and there are some fantastic quest chains that dig deep into their universe; in particular, a series about the Orc god Malacath and another one known as Trinimac, who is trying to usurp Malacath's position. The story aspects of Orsinium feel like a big step up compared to what has come before in the original, with far superior writing, and a story that truly captivates - not to mention the improvements in the performances of the NPCs, since they don't feel as wooden as before, featuring tons of new emotes and animations that make for an all-around better end product. It's an extra level of detail rarely seen in MMOs, but one that really pays off, giving the story a feel more like that of a full Elder Scrolls title.

Screenshot for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited - Orsinium on PlayStation 4

Note that this is strongly focused on solo play. There's nothing stopping a group of friends experiencing the content provided here, but most of it can be cleared by solo players too. Additionally, for those who are yet to reach the Veteran ranks, there is also a scaling system that appropriately boosts their level for the area. With such a strong story it's great that things have been put in place in this way for everyone willing to experience it. The scaling system works better for some things than others, however. While playing through the core story it is fine, although some parts of the DLC require better gear along with full understanding of character builds and how to play them in order to contend with some of the challenges at hand.

The restoration and rebuilding of Orsinium along with uniting the clans is the main objective in the story, and doing so leaves a mark on the world. As objectives are accomplished and the story progresses, Orsinium develops from a half-built ruin into an impressive looking seat of power. This is done using something like the phasing system of Guild Wars but, thankfully, it doesn't separate players. The developers have stated they learned a lot when working with the "layers" of the world, and have managed to implement this changing of the world without separating parties, just altering what each person sees for their development of Orsinium. The museum in Orsinium also develops based on the progress of the player, there are numerous quest chains that reward items of note from Orcish history which can be displayed in the museum.

The new zone is more than just Orsinium itself; it is also the lands all around it, collectively known as Wrothgar. The land is enormous and diverse, with Giants and Harpies presiding over the snowy peaks of mountains, which are bordered by the rich forests and frozen coasts which reach into the Sea of Ghosts. Wrothgar brings with it two new public dungeons, new enemies, crafting styles, world bosses and more. The area is one of the best yet seen in The Elder Scrolls Online; massively expansive and rich in content, and, therefore, players who enjoy the exploration aspects of MMOs will be able to lose themselves for numerous hours off the beaten path.

Screenshot for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited - Orsinium on PlayStation 4

Surely, the notion of these regular releases puts some gamers off, making them think that they will need to play more to keep up with the content, but, thankfully, that hasn't been the case with ESO. This new DLC brings with it plenty of new gear, but no new level cap gear. The max is still VR16, the same level as the previous Imperial City add-on. This gear instead focuses on filling gaps in existing sets and items, and there are some great jewellery items to round out some existing armour sets - as well as some new sets for some alternate builds that haven't previously been catered to.

Additionally, when it comes to new gear, there are, of course, some cool new vanity items available on the crowns store for those willing to spend some real cash, and it's all looking pretty grizzly with Cave Bear mounts, Bear Cub pets and bear pelt cosmetic items along with plenty more.

With a focus on solo gameplay, there are no new group dungeons, only the two new public dungeons, Rkindaleft and Old Orsinium. Rkindaleft is an ancient Dwarven stronghold deep beneath Wrothgar - thought to be nothing more than a rumour or story to keep the Orc children in place ("Don't stay out late or wander past the River or you'll find yourself lost in Rkindaleft," Old Orsinium is the original and abandoned site of the Orc capital, destroyed in the first age.

Screenshot for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited - Orsinium on PlayStation 4

Both of these public dungeons are absolutely huge and have plenty of incentive for explorers, including the new crafting motif "Ancient Orc," which has its pages split across both dungeons, in essence creating the motivation for conquering both. One of the best aspects of both Rkindaleft and Old Orsinium are the new boss encounters, with some fantastic fights that require real work to overcome. The dungeons aren't the only place to encounter such cool encounters, since across the wilds of Wrothgar there are World Group Bosses that are magnificent. They burst into the world in dynamic entrances and have superb fight mechanics that are great fun to be a part of.

One of the best new aspects of the content is the Maelstrom Arena; something of a hoard mode area to fight through waves and waves of enemies along with mini-bosses. This is a fantastic activity for solo play, with each arena consisting of nine rounds of enemies and traps that reward the player with some veteran gear loots from the boss of each arena. It's been announced that these rewards will be updated and added to in the future, though, meaning that plenty of players may find themselves farming this arena for a long time. Not only is this a fun side attraction to run through, but it also serves as a unique take on the classic "practice dummies" of other MMOs, giving players a place to play with different builds and skills. There are even leaderboards for players to compete for bragging rights, with the top 100 players getting special rewards via mail in the future.

Screenshot for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited - Orsinium on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The price of admission for Orsinium is 3000 crowns, which works out to equal around £14.99. For this price there is a ton of new content, with 20 hours of it easily just from the story on its own - and this is some of the best story content seen in all of The Elder Scrolls Online. There is, however, little innovation here compared to what has already come before. Those who haven't been able to enjoy the original, will find nothing new to change their minds with this DLC, but it may just be enough to win back players who had given up on Tamriel, though by just adding more of the same, they may not stick around for very long.

Developer

ZeniMax Online Studios

Publisher

Bethesda Softworks

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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