Posted by Tyler Wilson, Site Engineer on Tuesday May 31, 2011.
My favorite genre of games to play are role-playing games (RPGs). I just want to take a moment and share some thoughts about my favorite RPG series, The Elder Scrolls.
I’ve not played Arena or Daggerfall so I can’t say much about those. I think I tried to play Daggerfall once, but I couldn’t get over the old school graphics. I’ve played too many games with fancy graphics to be able to appreciate these old classics. I’m spoiled. What can I say? I have heard that Daggerfall is quite a large game though and just as immersive as the newer games, but I’m not going to spend my time on them.
Then along comes Morrowind. This is where I was first introduced to the Elder Scrolls series and it blew me away from the very start. Never had I seen a game world where I really could go anywhere I wanted to and do anything I wanted to. I have to admit though; I just finished playing through Tribunal and Bloodmoon. I had to go back and take care of that bit of business to get ready for the upcoming Skyrim. Now, I mentioned how much I like fancy graphics. They really add to the immersion of the game and when you’re playing an RPG, it’s all about immersion. When Morrowind came out, this game was beautiful. The NPCs were ugly, but oh well. The two moons in the sky, the changing weather, the stars, I hadn’t seen any other game like this. The game mechanics were also very loose leaving open a mountain of opportunity, or abuse, however you wanted to play. My major annoyances with this game though were the strict leveling rules and of course, cliff racers (I thought I was safe from them in Solstheim, but then I saw one. Do you know where it is?).
Oblivion, I just played through a few months ago. This game definitely improved on the shortcomings of Morrowind. Much better graphics, tightened up on the gameplay mechanics, but not too much and no cliff racers. Leveling was still pretty similar. It was simplified a bit which was appreciated and enemies leveled with you so you didn’t have to worry about it so much. I’ll admit, I didn’t want to worry about it all so I used a mod to allow me to always get +5 stat modifiers, then I was free to play the game as I pleased. Sounds like leveling will be even more different in Skyrim; sweet. What I really liked about this game were the cities. Each was very detailed and had its own architecture. Also, the Planes of Oblivion were truly scary places the first time you went there. Back on to the topic of immersion, the improved graphics and gameplay both contribute greatly to this. Larger scale events help with this to so it’s not just you all the time. The parts of the game where there are many involved are really fun.
Now, in this brief discussion, I come to Skyrim. What RPG lover is not excited about this game?It’s been 6 years since Oblivion and technology has come a long way since then. Better technology usually translates to better immersion in any game. Bethesda has been working with the Xbox 360 at least since Oblivion and they know it well now. You can bet they will push it to its very limits with this game. I’m a PC gamer though and I hope Skyrim can push my PC to its limits to. I’ve heard just a bit about the new radiant AI system. This was still one of the main limitations to Oblivion in my opinion. Everything still happened in a pretty much set manner. I did appreciate at least that NPCs weren’t all walking about at all hours of the night and had schedules. It definitely made the game better and it sounds like this radiant AI system will improve on that. I really hope they use it to make quests more dynamic in nature. I did hear one example where a magic user might get a quest from a mage where a fighter wouldn’t. I always felt a little guilty about going through both the mage and fighter guilds.
To me, RPGs are all about telling a rich story and immersing you in that fictional game world. The Elder Scrolls does that well and I’m really looking forward to Skyrim. Tell us about your favorite RPG adventures!