The Elder Scrolls I-V, Part 2

Elder Scrolls Online Logo

Back in July, I told you guys that I would be playing through The Elder Scrolls I-V, in anticipation of The Elder Scrolls Online. Well, I did it (kind of), and here’s what I thought about each game!

The Elder Scrolls I: Arena

The Elder Scrolls Arena Cover

Official Description from Bethesda:

“The imperial battlemage Jagar Tharn betrays the Emperor Uriel Septim by imprisoning him in an alternate dimension, then assuming the Emperor’s identity and place on the throne. A lone prisoner must travel to Tamriel’s most famous and dangerous sites to collect the shattered Staff of Chaos, save the Emperor and free the Empire.”

My Take:

Um, so my adventure in the first part of The Elder Scrolls was a bit shorter than I had hoped. I really didn’t enjoy Arena. It’s nothing against the game itself. I’m sure it was kickass in it’s day, but I just had problems adjusting to the DOS gameplay. I used to play games like this, but to me it was more of a headache than fun. It’s just not worth the effort. On to the next!

The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall

The Elder Scrolls II Daggerfall Cover

Official Description from Bethesda:

“The ancient golem Numidium, a powerful weapon once used by the great Tiber Septim to unify Tamriel, has been found in Iliac Bay. In the power struggle that follows, the King of Daggerfall is murdered and his spirit haunts the kingdom. The Emperor Uriel Septim VII sends his champion to the province of High Rock to put the king’s spirit to rest and ensure that the golem does not fall into the wrong hands.”

My Take:

Daggerfall was a little bit better than Arena, but I just couldn’t get used to the gameplay in this one either. What killed the game for me was the combat gameplay, specifically. It was just painful and not fun. I really do hate skipping over these two games, but that’s what I’m going to do. I don’t necessarily recommend either one, unless you really like old school DOS style games and feel comfortable with their gameplay. I really am disappointed, because I don’t mind old school games. I just got through playing The Dig, and that was great. As I look back, it seems as if point and click adventure games are still a lot of fun, while other genres really show their age. Oh, well. Morrowind was the game that I was looking forward to playing the most and it’s next up!

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind Cover

Official Description from Bethesda:

“The Lost Prophecies speak of the Incarnate, a reincarnation of the Dunmer hero Nerevar, arriving in Morrowind to rid the land of a dark curse. To fulfill this prophecy, the Emperor sends an unknown and uncertain imperial courier to the island of Vvardenfell. Through a series of dangerous and magical quests, this unknown courier is transformed into one of the Emprire’s most enduring heroes.”

My Take:

I had never even heard of Morrowind until after I played Oblivion and got curious about all the other Elder Scrolls. It just never crossed my radar, for whatever reason. Not being much of a PC gamer in recent years and not owning an X-Box, I figured that this was a game I would never end up playing. That changed when I got my new computer, found Morrowind cheap during the Steam Summer Sale, and started this journey through The Elder Scrolls. Before jumping in, I decided to mod it to the max. Graphic extensions, romance additions, etc. I booted it up and it started out decent enough. I think the story of the Nerevar is actually pretty interesting. I’m not sure how interested I would have been as a newcomer to the series, though. Anyway, the gameplay itself isn’t too far off from OblivionEven with the graphics mod, those, on the other hand, are way off. It just doesn’t look that good. I can get past that, though. It’s an old game. I knew that coming in. However, there was one really distracting thing in the game: how people walk in Morrowind. They look like they just got back from a prostate exam or something. VERY awkward. Speaking of walking, the player character walks in slow motion. That annoyed me to no end. You can have your character always run, but that uses up all of your stamina. Maybe there’s a way to fix it, but I didn’t see it. Also, to add insult to injury, there wasn’t any fast travel. Not fun. Apparently there’s a mod for that too, but I could barely figure out the original mods that I added. There was no way that I felt like dealing with that hassle again. The controls in this game really got to me. If I was playing the game on a console, I don’t think it would have been so bad. I tried using a PC controller, but it just didn’t work right. My hands ended up hurting really quickly from playing the game and when you add it all up, it just wasn’t fun after a while. I put in a decent amount of hours before giving up, but it was enough to know to stop. Why keep going? I had no incentive to, except that nagging feeling that I hate things that are incomplete, and that wasn’t enough. Again, it wasn’t the antiquated graphics that killed the experience for me, it was the antiquated gameplay. I’m sure Morrowind was an amazing game when it came out, but it just didn’t work out for me. Sometimes you can show up late to the party and it’s still going strong and sometimes the party is over. I’m glad I got it on sale.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion Cover

Official Description from Bethesda:

“In the shadow of evil, a hero will rise from the ashes of a fallen empire. The gates have been opened, and the battle has begun. Only one thing can save the world from Mehrunes Dagon and the demonic hordes of Oblivion. The true heir of the Septim line must be found and restored to the Imperial throne. The fate of the world rests in the hands of one. Find him, and shut the jaws of Oblivion.”

My Take:

Oblivion is the game that first introduced me to the world of The Elder Scrolls and what an introduction! I had never played a game like this before. It was truly a magical game that I could and did get lost in. The story was decent, but it was the setting and immersive gameplay that drew me in. It was hard for me to believe that this game is 8 years old, until I played it again for the first time in quite a while. It was amazing back in the day, but it feels aged now. I blame Skyrim for spoiling me on the quality of the story, the gameplay, the graphics, etc. It was the gameplay that bothered me the most this time, though. The quests and combat got repetitive really quickly. The controls were awkward. It’s not as bad as Morrowind, but it’s still not the sort of fluid controls that I’ve gotten used to. Suffice it to say, I didn’t play all the way through this game this time either. It’s not that it’s a bad game. It was an awesome game at the time, but it’s a really time consuming game and time is precious. So much so that it’s hard to commit that sort of time to a game, if you aren’t really thoroughly enjoying it. So, that’s why I cut my time short in this revisit to Oblivion. It will always be one of my favorites, all the same.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Cover

Official Description from Bethesda:

“The Empire of Tamriel is on the edge. The High King of Skyrim has been murdered. Alliances form as claims to the throne are made. In the midst of this conflict, a far more dangerous, ancient evil is awakened. Dragons, long lost to the passages of the Elder Scrolls, have returned to Tamriel. The future of Skyrim, even the Empire itself, hangs in the balance as they wait for the prophesized Dragonborn to come; a hero born with the power of The Voice, and the only one who can stand amongst the dragons.”

My Take:

Skyrim is the best The Elder Scrolls has had to offer, in every way imaginable. The story premise was enchanting and enthralling. You’re a Dragonborn in the land of the Nords, you’ve got new dragon powers, and you’ve got to save the world from the recently resurrected evil dragons. It’s going to be hard for Bethesda to top that sort of plot. The entire land of Skyrim is filled with all sorts of interesting and unique characters, something that the previous games sorely lacked. There are all sorts of cool factions to join. Loot to find. Diverse landscape to explore. Dragons. I loved the gameplay scheme from the RPG elements to the controller scheme. I can’t think of many complaints, other than how PlayStation users were treated after the game was released. Xbox 360 got the preferential treatment for patches and DLC. PS3 users were left waiting for months with only the rare update with excuses and delays. They eventually did get around to fixing things and even offered a nice discount on all of the DLC, but it left PlayStation users with a sour taste in their mouths. Since I’ve never seen anything like that from Bethesda before or since, I’m going to assume it was an isolated incident. Besides that little fiasco, if that’s not too strong of a word, Skyrim is one of my favorite games of all time. I actually am just starting my Skyrim playthrough with my new female Nord character named Lagertha (Vikings, anyone??), but I had played through Skyrim twice already since it’s release, and I felt like I had enough to finally finish this article. Unlike the other four, I will actually follow all the way through with this playthrough!

Final Take:

So, here’s the irony. I started out with the goal of playing all of The Elder Scrolls games, but I didn’t end up finishing any of the three that I hadn’t played before. I didn’t even finish Oblivion. I had already owned, played, and loved my two favorite games in the series: Oblivion and Skyrim. It was a mostly pointless journey, but here’s what I discovered: The Elder Scrolls games don’t age very well. I think that every one of these games was probably amazing for it’s time, but wasn’t built to last. That’s my opinion, at least. It’s not just The Elder Scrolls, though. The old action/adventure/RPG/FPS games in general don’t age well to me. The two genres in the past that have aged more like a fine wine are platform games like Nintendo games and point and click adventure games. They were developed in a way that makes them more timeless and enjoyable. I think that Skyrim is too much perfection to have the same problem as it’s predecessors, but who knows? Maybe 5 years from now I’ll try popping in the old fashioned disc and Skyrim will feel and play ancient. I hope not, but I’ll enjoy it for now just in case. I also hope I actually have time to play a game like Skyrim in 5 years. All the more reason to enjoy it now!

So, that’s how my journey through The Elder Scrolls went; and even though it didn’t go quite how I had planned, I still can’t wait to jump into The Elder Scrolls Online on my PS4 in June!

Do you guys agree with me? What do you think of older games and playing them again now? Do some genres age better than others? If you have played all of The Elder Scrolls games, what did you think of them?

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