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The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Xbox) artwork

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Xbox) review


"Welcome to Morrowind, home of the the Dunmer, Outlander. You have been taken from the imperial prison back in Tamriel where you were kept for unspecified crimes and, on the Emperor's orders, placed aboard a ship and sent to this plague ridden and near lawless imperial colony steeped in ancient tradition and littered with ancient treasure for reasons unknown to you or your keepers. You have no memory of your past, nor is one ever imposed on you. You are a commoner of questionable parentage with o..."



Welcome to Morrowind, home of the the Dunmer, Outlander. You have been taken from the imperial prison back in Tamriel where you were kept for unspecified crimes and, on the Emperor's orders, placed aboard a ship and sent to this plague ridden and near lawless imperial colony steeped in ancient tradition and littered with ancient treasure for reasons unknown to you or your keepers. You have no memory of your past, nor is one ever imposed on you. You are a commoner of questionable parentage with only the knowledge of your birthday to go by.

Upon reaching Morrowind, you are sent through the Census and Excise office, registered as a citizen of Morrowind, handed a coded package and given orders to deliver it to Caius Cosades in Balmora-wherever that may be-and then let loose in this vast world.

What to do? What do you want to do? Will you go to Balmora and deliver the package to this Caius Cosades? You can, certainly, but no one says you have to, and that is where Morrowind truly shines as an experience. You don't have to. You needn't do anything at all that doesn't suit your fancy. Make it up as you go along. Sure there's a main story in there somewhere, and yes you can go ahead and complete the "main quest" and gross a total of maybe 10-12 hours, but that's not what Morrowind is about, not by a long stretch.

With 400+ "sidequests" and a myriad of other things you can do that aren't official quests-and mods, if you've opted for the PC version of the game-Morrowind takes a long, long, LONG time to grow old. Your custom made and named character, whose base stats, skills and race you specified in the very brief tutorial/introduction can and will be anything you want them to.

Morrowind is known for bringing out the OCD in anyone. It's a collectors dream. Collect anything you like. Weapons, plates, forks, bottles, armor, plants, alchemy components, clothing, amulets, enchanted items, gloves, arrows, knives, spoons, shoes, pearls, gems, houses, potions, drugs, or CANDLES *twitch*. Need a place to display the hefty collection your character is carrying around in his/her sack? You can get one a couple of ways. Become the head of one of the three Dunmer Houses and get your very own stronghold in that Houses particular style, complete with guards and retainers. Find a vacant one and set up shop. Maybe you want one that someone is already occupying? Find one that suits your fancy...and claim it. Seriously, just walk in and stick a knife in the owners ribs. Tada. You have a house. Or a shop. Or a castle. Take your pick. My personal obsession was decorating houses across Morrowind with my vast collection of candles and armor. Display your massive collection proudly on the bloodstained tables as a testament not only to your achievement, but to your unflinching dedication in reaching that achievement by whatever means necessary.

Chat it up with the locals to hear rumors of haunted ancestral tombs, a mine having a bit of plague trouble, bandits out of the mountains raiding towns, a quest for them or even just vague directions to some dungeon or another somewhere past the Foyada to the west. Anywhere outside town limits is fair game for anyone, where the law cannot and does not reach (unless you do something really stupid) and don't even think of trying to rest out there. You become fair game for any wandering monster to attack you in your sleep, and they do! Monsters, bandits, necromancers, zombies and plague infested things that used to be people can and will come out of nowhere-and do watch yourself near daedric ruins. The daedra aren't fond of visitors unless those visitors are their own special worshippers, which you aren't.

This is where your skills come in to play. Locks require skill in lockpicking or you can do nothing with them except find yourself a spell scroll with a high enough level Open spell. You need sufficient level in your weaponry of choice to even begin doing decent damage or hitting often, though combat is...not where Morrowind excels.

Combat in Morrowind is an exercise in patience and no amount of levels in your chosen disciplines will ever make it otherwise. Swinging your sword, wether in first or third person, is like watching a blindfolded child swing at a pinata they know is there and certainly they can feel themselves hitting it, but somehow it just isn't breaking. Don't even bother with throwing weapons or bows. Only the enemy has anything resembling accuracy with them. Destruction magic is a little more promising, though that still leaves much to be desired until you've reached a sufficient level of proficiency. The best parts of the game are those that require exploring and completing quests, and the skills that lend themselves to that are the most useful. Lock picking, for obvious reasons. Alteration magic is a must for any adventurer, with water walking, levitation, water breathing, open lock spells, and feather spells which make you able to carry more. One of the armor classes is a must, as no matter what happens there are times when having good armor on is all that will save you from a sudden and unexpected demise. Even your levitation spells can and will give out midair, and if you don't have the Magicka to recast it before you hit the ground, it's going to hurt.

But of course, everything I've told you about is optional. Go on a killing rampage. Join cults and guilds and rise through the ranks to become the head of each one. Be a vampire hunter or a necromancer hunter-or a treasure hunter. How about a vampire? Just don't expect to talk to anyone again. You don't even ever have to finish the 'main' storyline at all.

And so, welcome to Morrowind, Muthsera. Lift a cup of Jagga or Rotmeth, sample the sadrith, play zhab on Hel Anseilak, walk with me past the Foyadas of Ald'Ruhn, admire the varlais and just remember: Var var var. For you outlanders that is "What will be, will be".

See you in Vardenfell, Sera.

Rating: 9/10

Lavieta's avatar
Community review by Lavieta (February 20, 2008)

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