I cannot play one of Bethesda’s games without thinking back to the one that started it all for me. Plus a friend of mine has been watching videos of Skyrim a lot lately so I’ve been reminiscing quite a bit. Morrowind wasn’t the first Elder Scrolls game (I believe it was the third) but it is the first one I ever played, as well as my first real open world game. It’s probably fair to say that I logged more hours into this game than Skyrim or Fallout 4.
Morrowind is pretty much what you would expect from Bethesda if you’ve played an Elder Scrolls or Fallout game before. Massive world, freedom to do whatever you like and the ability to mod the piss out of the game. This particular installment took place in (in case it wasn’t obvious) the province of Morrowind, home of the dark elves of this world. You start off as a prisoner, as per usual, although this time you’ve actually been paroled at the start of the game. (As a side note, it’s kind of funny how the characters’ situation gets worse from game to game. In Oblivion you’re rotting in prison and in Skyrim, you’re about to be beheaded). You’re dropped off by ship in a backwater town with vague instructions to go find some washed out Imperial agent, and that’s it. Run free little prisoner and make the world your bitch.
That’s basically how it goes. From there you can choose to pursue the story, join one of the multiple factions or guilds (there were at least ten compared to the much-reduced number of later games) or just run around exploring, questing or pillaging, whichever catches your fancy.
Story-wise the game was kind of meh though the lore surrounding everything was rich enough to be interesting. I don’t know what it is with Elder Scrolls games, to me it always feels like the story has the potential to be great but ends up playing out so weakly. Even in Skyrim, which was an excellent game overall, the main storyline felt lacking. Maybe it’s just me.
Anyway, back to the review. Elder Scrolls combat has never really felt complex and it was very straightforward back then. Attacking consisted of spamming the mouse button to swing at the enemy as fast as possible. You were pretty much committed to either magic or a weapon if I remember correctly, you had to put one away in order to switch to the other. There were also a LOT more skills. Simply running and jumping were designated as Skills that would level up over time. Weapons were drastically more diverse, for example you had short blades, long blades, and large blades, all just for swords! So god forbid you want to change your preferred killing instrument late in the game. At the time the graphics were decent, to my way of thinking. Nowadays they’re…well, not so great.
Though you could probably find any number of mods to clean that up if you wanted to give the game a shot. That’s got to be what I like most about these games, the fact that any problems you have with them can usually be remedied with a quick download from any number of modding sites. The game also came with a creator kit, so you could make your own items, quests, enemies, etc. and plug them into the game.
The game had two add-ons of its own, Tribunal and Bloodmoon. Tribunal sent you to the temple city of Mournhold to find out why assassins were suddenly attempting to fill you with bits of metal. Bloodmoon sent you to the island of Solstheim (which anyone who played Dragonborn in Skyrim will be familiar with) where you can enjoy such delights as becoming a werewolf. Albeit, not the fun kind like we got in Skyrim, but for the time it was cool.
I used to love this game. Nowadays, I doubt I could bring myself to play it again. Aside from the crazy amount of time I already put into it, it just doesn’t hold up well against Skyrim in any way. But if you’re not turned off by the graphics or simple play style, Morrowind is still an amazing game and well worth experiencing for yourself.
Happy gaming everyone, have a great weekend!