Elder Scrolls Online has been available for 14 months now, if you had a PC worth running it and were able to put up with a few of the teething problems that all MMO’s go through. Now, after a lot of hard work from Zenimax listening to community feedback and completely shaking up the way that the game plays multiple times, it’s available on Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
MMO’s, or Massively Multiplayer Online games, have been few and far between on consoles up to this year with the hardware being the main limitation. But with the tools at their disposal, more powerful systems and more knowledge of those systems, they are now slowly becoming more plentiful, with the spin ups of games like Neverwinter and Elder Scrolls Online.
Zenimax have used these tools excellently and the port from PC to console feels pretty seamless. Like I mentioned, there are a few teething problems at the beginning of any MMO, regardless of whether or not it is a port, but it’s nothing that would put people off playing the game and these issues will be cleared up with the first big patch, leaving us with a great game in a great universe.
A little bit on the story. You are dead. Not just dead, but soulless. You start out in a daedric prison called Coldharbour after being rescued by a Nord warrior called Lyris, you then proceed to free a man known only as the prophet and escape, leaving Lyris behind, for now. You are then thrust into the world of Tamriel with only the rags on your back and the weapons you found in Coldharbour. You are then told by the prophet simply to go and explore the world and help people as you see fit and that he will be in touch soon. A classical Elder Scrolls beginning leaving you to go wherever you want to and get immersed in the world. Obviously it’s a little harder to get immersed when there are hundreds of people running and jumping around but it’s still a classic Elder Scrolls feeling. It’s also worth mentioning that this world is maybe 5 times the size of Skyrim, so it really is an expansive world.
The control scheme for this game is excellent, with abilities mapped to all available buttons with the triggers as block and swing/cast. A lot of people who bought this game for the Elder Scrolls as they enjoyed Skyrim, will stay because of the well mapped ability controls. Dare I say, it almost feels like it was made for a controller, with the only hiccups being the interaction and consumable wheels feeling a bit clunky,which is easy to overlook as they don’t make up a huge portion of the game.
With Zenimax and Bethesda deciding to do away with their subscription model for the game they have decided to replace it with the crown store. This is a really good way for them to make up on lost revenue without doing so at the expense of the customer as a huge portion of the content is available in game, or is entirely cosmetic. This means that with enough grinding, you can earn or buy pretty much everything in the crown store without having to spend a dime of your real world dollar. I am yet to feel like I am at a disadvantage because I haven’t bought something in the store, which is great and the devs should be thanked for that.
The subject of graphics is a tricky one when talking about both MMO’s and ports from PC to console, this game being both. That being said, the graphics of this game are definitely respectable with it not feeling much different than Skyrim in terms of how beautiful the game is. The only issue I have had is with the games draw distance, which although not a big deal would make the game feel broader and would do wonders for the feel of the world.
It seems unfair to talk about this game without mentioning the steps it has taken from its distant predecessor in Skyrim. Before you say it, I understand the style of game is very different, but there are some similarities that I have found that are worth mentioning. Firstly, the solo questing of the game is very good, with voice acting for every NPC and side quest which is more than some MMO’s can brag. Secondly, the levelling of skills is very similar. Although it doesn’t directly contribute to levelling up your character, the skill system works much like Skyrim in that you have to use them to level them, which is a nice touch. Ultimately it’s tough not to draw comparisons to Skyrim, but you have to remember that if you go into this game expecting it to be the next in the Elder Scrolls series, you may leave disappointed.
For vets of the genre, this game may appear light and unappealing, but invest just enough time to get to level 10 and you will not be disappointed. Level 10 is where the game opens up and the real looting begins. You gain access to two things at this level that will change how you think about the game. Firstly Cyrodiil, the PvP area opens up. Think of Cyrodiil less of a traditional style multiplayer and more of a PvE area with the chance of possibly getting stabbed in the back by enemy factions. If I am just questing for XP and loot, this is one of my favourite places to go as the quests are short and to the point and the loot is scaled to your level.
The second more traditional thing unlocked at level 10 are the dungeons. 4 player, co-op dungeons with multiple boss fights and unique item drops. These dungeons are repeatable at will and will scale to the level of your party leader. You really cannot rival the fun and the rewards from the dungeons in this game. The boss fights are tough, and require a good team that communicate well to complete. If you have a team ready for a bit of a challenge, this is where you want to be.
Ultimately, there is so much content in this game and it’s possibly some of the best dollar per hour entertainment currently available on the current generation of consoles. It’s nice and easy to get into if you don’t mind a little bit of getting ready and grinding quests.
Final Verdict – 8.5/10
+Strong console port
+Improved from original PC launch
+Great value entertainment
+Great with friends
-Graphics aren’t quite as good as PC
-Some of the bugs are still prevalent