The Elder Scrolls Online Review
The Elder Scrolls Online Box Art
System: PC*, PS4, Xbox One
Dev: ZeniMax Online Studios
Pub: Bethesda Softworks
Release: April 4, 2014
Players: MMO
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence

In fact, The Elder Scrolls Online struggles to find a balance for solo or group play. The starting towns are littered with new players, making it easy to find help with the first few quests, but this comes at a cost. Since most dungeons are public instances, the early ones pose little challenge after being wiped clean of monsters from players who entered shortly beforehand. You will find more freedom the farther you travel into the wilderness, however the challenge shifts to other extremes. Players will discover they need to be a few levels above an equally leveled monster and be properly equipped to survive one-on-one encounters. Pull even one more monster into the fight and you're in trouble. The class selection and skill lines also have trouble keeping every gamer type content. For instance, there is no ranger class for bow and tracking enthusiasts, and healers will find most skills do nothing but healing, rather than providing well-rounded support buffs.

The Elder Scrolls Online Screenshot

The game is not without its expected share of bugs either. The biggest issue I've found involves broken quests that cannot be completed due to non-interactive items or unresponsive NPCs, of which I have about dozen that await completion. Developer ZeniMax has been on top of fixing these issues, though it has forced the servers down twice already, much to the dismay of many Early Access purchasers. Despite these in-game glitches, a welcomed surprise was the smooth process of logging in thanks to the company's highly touted megaservers. There are no hours long queue lines. You just log in and start playing, a refreshing change from most MMO launches.

After reaching level ten I was able to travel to Cyrodiil and take part in the massive PvP battle. With the Imperial nation now collapsed, the three factions are all vying for control of the area and the Ruby Throne. Each team has their respective keeps tucked in a corner, and must spill their armies into the countryside, taking over enemy forts and resource locations, then holding them steadfast against attacks. So far I am not impressed with the system. The massive land is devoid of anything but plains and hills to travel across, and winning the day is about quantity over quality. It's quite a sight to see hundreds of players launching catapults, ballistae and clashing into each other in swarms, but it's chaos above anything, with little sense of strategy involved besides making sure everyone in your faction is headed to the battle site. The strongest player of the winning faction becomes Emperor, with all the ensuing bragging rights, but otherwise there are no tangible rewards for your participation in the event.

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After a few dozen hours in Tamriel, I've been given a good sense of what The Elder Scrolls Online has to offer. A few bugs and balance issues aside, it genuinely feels like its single-player predecessors rather than a cookie cutter MMO, and that in itself is enough to draw back in the weary crowd yearning for something fresh from the genre. There's still plenty of "veteran" content that awaits me once I breach the level fifty mark. Keep an eye out in the coming months for an updated feature about the endgame content and anything new that might crop up. Until then, grab your friends, play with or against strangers, or go it alone in The Elder Scrolls Online. The choice is finally yours.

By
Sean Engemann
Contributing Writer
Date: April 4, 2014

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.3
Graphics
Plenty of imaginative variety in the locales, and impressive environmental effects. Character animation are still a little stiff, and close inspections reveal the rough detailing.
4.1
Control
Combat seems better designed for a controller, of which the PC version does not support. Handling the camera and scrolling through menu screens is smooth and simple.
5.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
From realistic thunder claps to strummed melodies, and stellar voice acting, The Elder Scrolls Online succeeds in every audible aspect.
4.6
Play Value
Bugs can be fixed, but some meat needs to be added to the bones of PvP. Otherwise, its hundreds of hours of Elder Scrolls goodness.
4.5
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Experience this epic adventure on your own or together with your friends, guild mates, and thousands of alliance members. Explore dangerous caves and dungeons, embark upon adventurous quests across Tamriel, and engage in massive player versus player battles, where the victors reap the spoils of war.
  • With an enhanced Elder Scrolls mouse-driven combat system, engage in real-time targeting and strategic attacks and blocks. Use any weapon or wear any armor at any time, no matter what type of character you play and develop your own style with deep character customization and abilities.
  • With ESO's shardless Megaserver technology you no longer choose a server, but instead play in one connected world. The game seamlessly integrates with the social media sites you already use to automatically place you with friends, guild mates, people you've encountered before, and other like-minded players.
  • Explore the hidden secrets of Tamriel at your own pace using the game's compass to guide you to areas of interest. Save the world from the evil machinations of the Daedric Prince Molag Bal and his henchman, the first necromancer, the Prince of Worms, Mannimarco.

  • Videos / Game Trailers
    The Elder Scrolls Online - Voice Cast Trailer - click to enlarge
    Voice Cast Trailer
    The Elder Scrolls Online - PVP Trailer - click to enlarge
    PVP Trailer
    The Elder Scrolls Online - Gameplay Trailer - click to enlarge
    Gameplay Trailer

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