The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is one of my all-time favorite games for many reasons. The plot's awesome, character customization is deep and varied, the sense of immersion is tangible... I could go on about how great things are with Morrowind, but this is about Skyrim and how, in so many ways, it's failed to live up to my expectations.

Good things

The Environment
It looks really great. The way the clouds obscure distant, intense-looking mountain peaks is something I haven't seen in a game before. Also, the multi-tiered flowing bodies of water are pretty sweet. It was a good idea to incorporate that flowing water into the dungeon design, you know, to get a feel for where the exits are and stuff. Compared to Oblivion and Morrowind, the dungeon and cave design in Skyrim is awesome, and compared to Oblivion in particular (while it did look nice, I thought the environmental setting was too un-fantastical) the outside environments of Skyrim are really spectacular.

They're all distinctive and no longer ugly-in-a-bad-way (unlike Oblivion). Especially nice is how the elves went back to their earlier Elder Scrolls look.

Other things
Dwemer ruins are back. 

Awful things

The UI
I got Skyrim for the PC, and the thing that hit me initially was how bad the UI design was. Bethesda did nothing to optimize UI navigation for PC users and instead, for whatever reason, chose to port over the same exact system from the console version.

Armor/Apparel (some skill development stuff too)
Morrowind was great in this department, the way players could stack various pieces of unique armor (Left Gauntlet, Right Gauntlet, Left Pauldron, Right Pauldron, Cuirass, et-cetera) on top of clothing and stuff, enchanting each piece of apparel with enchantments to boost stats in myriad ways. Of all the things to streamline (to put it nicely), why this? I mean, Skyrim left a lot of crap in the game that really didn't need to be in it, so who's the guy who was ultimately in charge of determining where the line would be drawn in terms of content? It's okay to implement a bunch of amateurish combat finishing animations that add absolutely nothing to the game, but when it comes to apparel customization, four main pieces of armor's the limit. And one ring, players can only equip one ring at a time. Where's the sense in that? Give me the option to at least equip two rings without having to find or make a mod!
Say what you will about balancing the gameplay mechanics and player stats, this has nothing to do with it; otherwise, Bethesda would've spent more time fleshing out how skills are developed. The player can become, for example, a master-level blacksmith by making hundreds of leather bracers over and over again. Bethesda could have at least added milestones in skill development --you know, maybe a player would have to craft some specific armor set before he/she's able to move on to a higher skill level. But no, leveling skills, if that's something you're focusing on, has the potential to feel like a simple grind. And on this note, since when can mortals craft Daedric armor and weapons? Also, the fact that the components needed to craft more complex pieces of armor and weapons is so frighteningly simplified leaves me feeling unsettled. I find it hard to believe that with three, 0.1 stone leather strips and five, 1 stone ebony ingots, one can craft an elaborate piece of 38 stone ebony armor.

Despite what Bethesda says, the only thing that's been remotely updated are the combat animations, and even those leave much to be desired (there's zero finesse when it comes to fighting in Skyrim, in terms of both look and feel). Every fight can be handled in the same way. As it is with the entire game, and when it comes to doing battle in particular, Skyrim's made it so that players don't have to think. Even fights against dragons aren't all they're cracked up to be, as all the player's got to do is wait for a dragon to land before running up to it and assaulting it with a barrage of low-brow flurries. And why bother adding V.A.T.S. style kill animations if they all end up looking awkward?
The animations themselves lack a certain finesse, though this is something more of a personal feeling. Sure, the game takes place in Skyrim, but does everyone have to look like a barbarian when they fight, tactlessly swinging their weapons about like muck-raking savages? Adding variety to animations or, if nothing else, making the different attacks more cohesive with one another would work out better. Take a page from Dark Souls --that game's got some really nice attack animations -- excellent sense of weight, good timing, finesse -- and they all fit with one another; that is to say, I believe that my character in Dark Souls is capable of performing all of these varied moves with all of these varied weapons.

While some of them have a solid set up and the potential to be engrossing, 85% of them will wind down to the player having to remorselessly kill all the inhabitants of a cave or dungeon in search of something, a cave or dungeon that always wraps around on itself and has some magical pull-switch that opens up a hidden path that'll spit you out near the door from which you entered.
Also, and this has got to be mentioned, the mage's college quest is balls-out ridiculous. Without spoiling too much, the basic story would be similar to if Harry Potter was chosen to fill the role as Headmaster of Hogwarts at the end of his first year after retrieving the Sorcerer's Stone. How unbelievable would that be?
And something else that should be mentioned that more or less falls into the realm of quest design is player-character dialog options. Why bother adding dialog options if they all end up making the player-character sound like a know-nothing loser? Bethesda should've spiced things up a bit or gotten rid of the dialog option completely, kind of like how it was done in Morrowind or Oblivion.

A few other things
Level scaling is back, and while it's a little more subtle than it was in Oblivion, it's still a huge drag. The field of view is claustrophobia-inducing; would've been nice to add an option to change that instead of needing to tweak .ini files. The seemingly blatant disregard to ensuring how different armor pieces stack with one another is unacceptable (for example, wearing a hooded robe with a mask makes my character's head disappear).
Morrowind felt like an immersive experience. Skyrim feels like a game and nothing more. As much as I'd like to explore the beautifully realized world of Skyrim, I know that underneath the nice veneer is a rotten core. I don't understand how games like Risen and Two Worlds II get metacritic scores in the 70's while Skyrim gets a 95.

The bottom line is this: For the $60 price tag and for all the hype surrounding it, I shouldn't have to settle. I should be wowed by Skyrim, and I'm not. I don't wanna have my hand held when I play a game, and I'm sick of being reminded about how lame my Skyrim experience is by its numerous quirks. Skyrim is a horrible ode to the direction in which the game industry is headed. Playing Skyrim makes me miss Morrowind.