The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC) Second Opinion Review

By Carrick Puckett 01.05.2017

Review for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind on PC

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was released on Windows PCs by Bethesda Softworks on the 1st of May, 2002. A version for the original Xbox was released the following June. The game got two expansions: Tribunal, which was released in September 2002; and Bloodmoon, released the following February. The home console release is regarded as the game that introduced the series to a new audience of players, but the PC version will be the basis of this review.

Morrowind begins with the player character waking up in the hold of a prison boat, where it is learned he is to be released on the island of Vvardenfell in the province of Morrowind. As the player is directed towards the local Census Office, he is asked for his name and heritage; there are a total of ten player races to choose from, each of which benefit from various bonuses to skills and unique racial powers. For example, the Nords, a hardy race hailing from the frozen tundra known as Skyrim, are naturally proficient with a variety of weapons and armour, and are immune to damage from frost spells. The Khajiit, a race of cat folk hailing from the desert lands of Elsweyr, are natural thieves, and can strike fear in the hearts of their enemies with just a look.

Screenshot for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind on PC

Once the player has chosen his name and preferred race, he is ushered into the Census, where he is met with a bureaucrat, and a choice: he may answer a few questions that allows the game to choose a class for him, choose from a pre-generated list of classes, or create a class of their own by choosing from a list of the game's combat, magic, and stealth skills. Before handing over his release forms, the paper-pusher has one last question: the player's birth sign. Each of the twelve birth signs convey bonuses to a character's primary statistics, such as Strength or Intelligence, and a few provide powerful abilities at the cost of the character's magic or stamina.

The player is paid a small release fee and given written instructions explaining what he should do once he exits the building (travel to the city of Balmora and seek out a man named Caius), but once the player has left the Census Office, he is free to do whatever he wishes. He may travel the width and breadth of Vvardenfell at his leisure, plundering ancient ruins, spelunking dank, dark caves, and taking the occasional side quest, all the while honing his skills, finding new weapons and armour, and growing stronger.

Screenshot for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind on PC

Starting out, players may have difficulty traversing the land, as the entire island is crawling with all sorts of vicious beasties. To top it off, without a decent combat or magic skill, battles against even the common rat can easily turn into a drawn-out affair. Attacks can deal downright pitiful damage, and if your skill in a certain weapon or school of magic is sufficiently low, attacks may miss with little explanation and spells may fizzle. At low level, exploring caves and ruins can be extremely hazardous to your characters well-being. The most effective ways to improve your chances of survival is to pay for skill training, which can be provided by select characters living in cities and towns, and always be on the lookout for better equipment.

Once the player begins following the main story path, he learns about "The Tribunal", a trio of individuals with divine power, and their struggles against Dagoth Ur and his "Sixth House" cultists. Additionally, he learns that he may be the reincarnation of one Indoril Nerevar: the "Nerevarine", as indicated by ancient prophesy by the nomadic Ashlander peoples. To prove he is, in fact, the Nerevarine, the player must uncover information regarding the prophecies, and fulfil them.

Screenshot for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind on PC

Much of the dialogue within Morrowind takes place in a text window, and all of the conversations one will have over the course of the game will be conveyed through the written word; voice acting is present within the game, but it primarily is heard as a part of idle chatter between NPCs in the form of greetings or reactions to your condition or status. When talking to an NPC, you will be presented with a list of keywords; this list starts out rather small, but as you progress through the game and learn more about the land, its people, and the story, this list will grow to nigh-monumental proportions. Further, because of how the game's dialogue system works, the NPCs will become veritable encyclopaedias, each one spouting off the same few lines of info as the next.

After proving himself as the true Nerevarine, the player is then invited to meet one of the Tribunal: the warrior-poet Vivec. Vivec reveals to the player the secret behind Dagoth Ur's power: the "Heart of Lorkhan", the still-beating heart of the dead god who created the world. Additionally, he tells the player the only way to destroy the Heart is by the means of weapons of a long-lost civilization renowned for mastery of the metaphysical: Keening, a dagger; and Sunder, a massive warhammer. But, to use either without risking lethal injury requires a third artefact: a gauntlet known as "Wraithguard", which is in Vivec's possession. Before relinquishing the artefact to the player, Vivec demands an oath from the player, stating that he will take Wraithguard with him into Dagoth Ur's stronghold within Red Mountain and use it to destroy the Heart of Lorkhan.

Screenshot for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Morrowind is a game that has held up reasonably well, but it's difficult to recommend to just anybody. The graphics might not be the best to look at by today's standards, the combat mechanics can make fights drag if the player character isn't proficient with his tools, and conversing with NPCs quickly devolves into just trying every keyword at your disposal until something new reveals itself. To this day, though, fans of the game still produce mods that do a variety of things, such as fix overlooked errors and bugs, overhauling the graphics, and improving everything from combat to dialogue. Further, due to its lasting popularity, the publishers have updated the game to enable it to run on modern systems, ensuring the game's lasting success and preserving its legacy.

With the right mind set, Morrowind can be a deep and engrossing experience.

Developer

Bethesda Softworks

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (1 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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