Skyrim makes me miss Morrowind - User Reviews - www.GameInformer.com
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Skyrim makes me miss Morrowind

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.

Races
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.

Combat
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.

Quests
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.

Comments
  • I personally think that Skyrim went back more to Morrowind's roots than Oblivion. Level scaling is nearly gone. I have no idea what you're talking about saying that it's there. The dragons MIGHT be scaled to your level, but everything else is not. I remember dying from bears a lot until lvl 20ish and even seeing a large Dwemer robot that took forever to kill at lvl 16. The game offers a good mix in diversity almost the entire game. And if you think the animations are better in Morrowind, what animations? At the time Morrowind was made, it was pretty amazing, yes, but if you look at it now, animations were very stiff for most games anyway. Games need to evolve, and Skyrim took a BIG step in the right direction.

    To fix the UI problem, at least you can plug in a controller and play it the Xbox 360 way. That's what I did and I enjoy it, thoroughly, although the developers should have put a couple days into designing and creating a couple optional UI interfaces for playing PC with a mouse and keyboard. However, this stuff can be fixed, and you should judge the game for what it is, an excellent adventure RPG experience, and one of the best ever created, I'll say.
  • I think skyrim is a great game and is worth its high ratings but, i agree with you on alot of subjects, i completely miss the depth that morrowind had in its armor slots, amount of skills and stats, and just pretty much in everything, i mean morrowind has to have atleast double the depth in anything like that, i just look at skyrim for what it is, its diffrent than morrowind and it infuriates me every year when they dumb down all the great skills and armor pieces they had the year before, but one voice is only so loud so what can i do about it? while skyrim still could be soooo much better if it even ONLY had the addition armor slots, or all the skills the series started with, but it doesnt and yet it is better in alot of ways, but in alot of ways its not. so like i said i just have to take skyrim with a grain of salt, and for what it is, which is a great game that isnt worse than morrowind and yet better :( Theres much to love about skyrim and much to miss about last years game, and how they are simplifying every *** video game these days but theres nothing that can truly be done and you just have to enjoy the games today for what they are. and believe me, i still go back to older games like Fallout 1 and 2 to play them for they're excellent amount of depth and immersion, but in the same sentence i would play New Vegas atleast one more time over, because theres alot i like about that game! I hear what your saying and i agree that skyrim could be better, but i disagree that its a only worth a 6.5 rating! but hey you're making alot of sense to me budd and i'm on your side

  • this review is to based on comparisons to morrowind, look at the game and rate it as it is. Skyrim easily deserves a ten+ the ui is better than any of the other layouts in the other elderscrolls, you ust happen to be used to morrowind.

  • if you miss Morrowind so bad why not go play it instead of complaining how Skyrim isn't a 100% perfect game. They took away so much armor so it would not be so complicated, and so they could fit more into the game. I think many people agree too that the animation fighting is really great. If anything Skyrim is a perfect direction for where the game industry is headed.

  • I just got my ass whooped last night. I was a level 22 and the boss I came across basically blew me away in one blow. Where's the level scaling in that? I went back to try my luck again with him at level 25. Didn't die as quickly :D Also...really? Comparing Skyrim to Dark Souls somehow SUPPORTS your argument? That game PRIDES itself on being *** near impossible to beat lol I...I don't understand that at all honestly. I gotta say though, the BIGGEST issue I take with your review is your criticisms of the quests. So many of them have such incredibly developed plots on their own you could easily make a game around them. And I, for one, am glad I don't have to backtrack through these dungeons just to get out. Who the hell would want to do that? Does it break realism? Sure...but so does shooting lightning from your fingers or reanimating a corpse. And yes, SOME quests require you to kill people and whatnot but not all by any means. There was a quest I finished just last night where I got by only having to kill a handful of people out of dozens. If I were to really break down the kinds of quests you typically find in Skyrim, they're the kinds of quests you can find in ANY RPG. But the great thing about Skyrim is that a simple fetch quest can suddenly turn into this crazy adventure that has you going in search of something only to have you kill something on the side or defend someone or crash a ship or frame a merchant, etc. You over-simplify way too much in your review and give a lot of people the wrong impression of this game. Yes, you're entitled to your opinion, but you're not giving this game a fair shake at all. You make quests sound basic where there's an obvious amount of loving attention to detail in nearly every facet of their storylines. You make the animations sound annoying as hell when they look cool. I'm sorry..I am never going to get tired of watch an orc get a flaming mace to the face (that rhymed :D ). Fights CAN'T be handled in the same way. Enemies have pretty obvious weaknesses and strengths, especially when the top left of the screen mentions how your fire breath had practically no effect on that flame atronach. When you damage a magic user's magicka, you KNOW it has an effect because now the guy can hardly seem to attack you. I can actually go on about the combat a lot. Within the last ten minutes of the game I just played, I can think of countless examples that disproves your claim. And anyone who doesn't spend every minute playing while saying "Gah, I miss Morrowind" can see how FAR this series has come. It still appeals to a vast majority of the TES fanbase and managed to draw in others as well. As far as bad reviews go, I'm almost tempted to put this up there with all those Sonic user reviews complaining about how Tim isn't a "true" Sonic fan. And guess what? All of this is coming from a guy who could care less for TES as a whole. Never really liked the series much at all. Played Morrowind, attempted Oblivion, never really liked em. I even had a tendency to blast Skyrim fanboys for how annoying they tended to get in their comments. I still think it's stupid, but now I understand why they like the game so much. I'm just glad I didn't read your review before I bought the game. I woulda missed out on this honest gem.
  • I completely agree with you. Skyrim made me miss Morrowind.

    For the last 2 months, I've been playing Skyrim ever so slightly, on and off. I would play for an hour, get bored and come back in a few days. I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong with it.

    Then, I realized, Skyrim is made for little babies. Waaa, 7 stats is too many for my simple mind to keep track of, so please condense it to health, mana, and stamina. Please take away some skills while you're at it. Also, having more than 20 spells is too confusing for me, so please keep it less than that. By the way, having more than 3 guilds and 2 armies is too complex for me. And while you're at it, new worlds scare me, so please replace the guars, giant fleas, and cliff racers with cows, deer and wolves; things I'm used to seeing while playing every other fantasy RPG. Oh also, I think spell crafting and repairing armor is too tedious for me. Please remove that from the game so I can concentrate on killing n00b npcs. And, I hate reading things, so please just give me a marker, telling me where to go.

    Honestly, Morrowind had interesting quests that didn't involve murdering people. I liked the quest where I had to figure out where the dude stashed his life savings, so I can give it to the debt collector. I liked the quest where the woman in the road gave her glove to the charming gentleman. In Skyrim it's just "pick 10 flower X" and "single-handedly commit genocide in cave #37".

    In Morrowind, you had go-go bars, slave plantations, slave traders you could talk to, and lots and lots of different factions. Daggerfall had nudity in it. Back then, Bethesda knew the audience were functioning adults. Leveling enemies and game balance was never a thought, because Bethesda knew that we knew the real world was not balanced. And, it was fun making interesting armor combinations, and unique spells. It was an art. You felt gratified, creating something advantageous.

    Now in Skyrim, you just have 7 identical houses with 1 or 2 generic quests each, 3 short guilds with nothing original about them, and 2 generic armies where one is slightly racist (but not really because they recruit you), and the other is slightly classist (but not really, because they also recruit you).

    You can tell, Skyrim/Bethesda just assumes you can't do anything on your own, anymore.

    Looking back, it felt like Morrowind was 60% about doing things, and 40% about combat. Skyrim, on the other hand, was 90% about how efficiently you can murder everyone, and 10% swearing to carry someone's arrows to their knees. 5 years from now, that last 10% will be the ONLY thing I'll remember about Skyrim.
  • Agreed, horribly disappointing game. Lost all of the feel of previous games.