The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited Review
PS4 | Xbox One
The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited Box Art
System: PS4, Xbox One
Dev: ZeniMax Online Studios
Pub: Bethesda Softworks
Release: June 15, 2015
Players: MMO
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence

There needs to be some measure of text integration to keep the community thriving and happy. Perhaps a trading interface that allows you to tag specific items for trade and notifies you when a buyer or seller responds. Guilds should be allowed to post their pitch within the game via the guild tab, with players able to peruse a list of perspective guilds and sort them with filters such as casual vs. raiding, roleplaying, trading, PvP vs. PvE., etc.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited Screenshot Screenshot

For those who drifted away from the PC version, Tamriel Unlimited has a couple of new features that were integrated after my initial review last summer. First is the Champion System, an alternative leveling system that unlocks once one of your characters breaches the level 50 mark and starts on the path of Veteran Rank. Applying points to various passives provides a meaningful drive for those looking to maximize their character's potential. It does, however, create a wider segregation when grouping for the toughest Dungeons and Trials. The other new inclusion is the Justice System. Now players can pickpocket or murder non-essential NPCs to snag their inventory. These "hot" items can be sold to a fence for a decent bit of coin, or laundered if you would like to retain something in particular. If caught committing these acts, however, a bounty will be placed on your head until you are either caught by the law, pay to have the bounty wiped clean, or flee into the wilds until the bounty decays over a time. It's a tasty appetizer for those who enjoy subterfuge, yet it is still not a fully integrated feature as there is no formal quest line for the Thieves Guild or Dark Brotherhood, and no PvP vigilante/bounty hunter as of yet, though the rumors persist that these are coming at some point.

One glaring difference between the console and PC version is the visuals. Tamriel Unlimited on the PS4 and Xbox One is not pretty at all. The environments are grand in scale, with hundreds of miles of varied landscapes to discover, but in close proximity, the flat textures of the architecture and natural landscapes paired with a very muted color palette are far beneath the quality the PC can provide. Even the well outdated Radeon HD 5700 Series card on my PC was noticeably better than what the Xbox One version displayed.

Little has changed on the audio front. Much of your time exploring the vast world is done in the peaceful serenity of The Elder Scrolls' beautiful compositions. Sound effects invade the clashes of combat, but don't provide much vigor to the engagement. The hundreds of quest givers and other NPCs are voiced by a handful of skilled actors who do little to alter their accents between characters. Yet still, having an encyclopedic sized script all fully voiced is impressive.

From my endeavors thus far, The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited has the potential to defy the skeptics and bear fruit on the PS4 and Xbox One. The controller is a far superior input, the interface is much cleaner and more accessible, the voice chat is ideal for grouping, the subscription is now free, and it brings the MMO genre to the console platform that has few competitors at present. The social aspect needs some additions and the Justice System needs to be finished, but these are features that can, and hopefully will, be included with near future updates. But even with its caveats, when faced with both options, I find myself gravitating towards the couch rather than my desk chair for a romp through Tamriel.

Sean Engemann
Contributing Writer
Date: June 15, 2015

The poor quality of the visuals is apparent from the moment you boot up the game on the console. The grand scale makes it immersive, it just looks very dated up close.
Using a console controller is a refreshing way to play an MMO, and ideal for The Elder Scrolls interface. Voice chat works well in groups, but eliminating text input limits certain functions.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The Elder Scrolls series has always masterfully orchestrated melodies that fit the mood and environment without being overly cinematic, and it is no different here. It's all fully voice acted, though the cast list is fairly short.
Play Value
With the subscription format removed, hundreds upon hundreds of hours of engaging gameplay are yours to enjoy from the comfort of your couch.
Overall Rating - Great
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:

  • THE FIGHT FOR TAMRIEL BEGINS - Three alliances vie for control of the Empire. As these powers battles for supremacy, darker forces move to destroy the world.
  • PLAY THE WAY YOU LIKE - Battle, craft, fish, steal, siege, or explore. The choice is yours to make in a persistent Elder Scrolls world.
  • A MULTIPLAYER RPG - Adventure alone, quest with friends, or join an army of hundreds in epic PVP battles.
  • TELL YOUR OWN STORY - Discover the secrets of Tamriel as you quest to regain your lost soul and save the world from Oblivion.

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