Tuesday, 8 April 2014

First Impressions: Elder Scrolls Online

So, this is a game that I have been waiting to play for a long time and so far, I haven't been disappointed. When the game works that is.

So after not being able to access our (mine and Satamer's three days early access due to massive maintenance breaks, the nice people at Zenimax gave us another three days early access. Even though it was released worldwide by that point. But still. Anyway, the thematic sequence at the beginning of the game really impressed me and got me even more hyped for the game as well as showing how much more work they had put in since beta.

We then created our character (a wood elf Nightblade in the Aldmeri Dominion by the name of Satamer if anyone wants to find us) and went through the tutorial section of Coldharbour (for about the fourth time now). This is where we noticed even more differences from the beta version. First of all, the weapons were now on a table rather than on racks and the bow was no longer a starter weapon (which is a slight problem as our character is an archer). But there were also things that hadn't been changed from the beta version such as the fact that enemies and their attacks were sometimes invisible so you would just die for no apparent reason.

But ignoring this bug, the tutorial level was still fun and we got a load of items and weapons to start the game with mainly by interacting with nearly everything. And that was where one of the biggest differences to Skyrim lay. You couldn't pick everything up. More on that later. Now, onto the combat (when the enemies were visible). It was quite tactical with enemies being able to interrupt your special attacks as well as use special attacks of their own. Also, for a tutorial level, the enemy types were nice and varied with four types of Skeleton (normal, archer, pyromancer and cryomancer), a Flame Atronach, Feral Soul Shriven and a Child of Bones. However, your attacks didn't always hit the enemy, instead stopping a few centimetres in front or to the side of it which was a bit annoying. 

Anyway, onto the rest of the game. After Coldharbour we went to Auridon rather than beta's Khenarthi's Roost (which you can go to later) and proceeded to meet one of the many bugs in the game. This bug came in two parts. First of all, quest characters disappeared and when we crossed a bridge to look for a captain, who we had to return her shipmates to, we fell through said bridge. And then got stuck. And so spent the better part of an hour trying to get out from under the bridge (type /stuck if this ever happens to you to die and then travel to the nearest wayshrine). Euan, who was playing the game as well, also managed to get stuck in the void between a wayshrines and then found himself off the map in an ocean, dying. Later on, we also got stuck in a forge, so collision detection is definitely something that needs addressing. The only other bug is that sometimes people or landscapes don't load straight away so you need to wait before you can do most things.

Now, onto the graphics and the sound. Both beautiful, both amazing and both worth buying the game for. The water reflects things beautifully (provided you've turned water reflection on) and everything just looks excellent. The music contains many different parts of the soundtracks of previous Elder Scrolls games so its always nice to listen out for them and its generally just astounding. Enough said.

So, overall, this game, when it works, is amazing and definitely worth buying. I just wish they had spent more time fixing it. More in the review later.

Goodbye for now, Harry

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