Out of all the Elder Scrolls games that I have played (Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim) the Third installment of the fantasy series is my favourite. Morrowind – compared to its sequels – had something unique and extraordinary about it. It had a world so diverse and with so much depth that I would still consider it one of the greatest game worlds imagined, plus the humour that Bethesda managed to slither into the title added to the magic. However, before I start rambling on about how great Morrowind is and how it’s the best of the series, I should mention that my first experience with the game was not what I imagined.
It was a few years back that I first laid hands on Morrowind and when I first experienced a true role-playing game. The sequel to Morrowind, Oblivion, was what made me hunt for it like a rabid wolf as I had played the fourth Elder Scrolls for more than 150 collectively. After finally managing to get my laptop to run the game I jumped into the “new” world of Vvardenfell. Unfortunately, the laptop I was playing it on was to no longer live after the game was downloaded. Nonetheless, the very few hours I played of the game were the greatest moments of my video game life. The world I was placed into was remarkable, alien even though I had funneled hundreds of hours into a game set in the same universe. Now, I had no idea what I was doing or what I was meant to do, but that sense of exploration and discovery which I got was a feeling I only ever found in one other game – Dark Souls. But don’t worry, I’ve been playing the game a lot recently so (I think) I know what I’m saying.
Morrowind is something more than just a large fantasy world. The detail that was put into it was staggering – I’m not talking about graphics or anything of the sort, but the thought that was put into each city, town, NPC and book. Yes, the books that were found in the world of Vvardenfell were of a high standard compared to its predecessors. There was something witty and humorous about them, and even though they gave the player a greater understanding of the world they in, they also showed the graphical and sarcastic humour of the people that dwelled in it. And that’s just the books. The NPCs and the many establishments (such as the guilds and Houses) that were placed in the world seemed to mirror the land they were in: ashlanders held a bitter resentment to outlanders (like your own character) while those of the sunny, brightly coloured coastlines were more open and warm to foreigners. This contrast is seen repeatedly in the game, and the longer you play the more natural it seems. The player then starts to feel part of the world, however, they can never be part of the world. This is what Bethesda did fantastically well, and there is even further detail that I have not been able to cover (such as this fantastic anaylis of the metaphysics of Morrowind, worth the read: http://fallingawkwardly.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/the-metaphysics-of-morrowind-part-1/).
Yes, the gameplay and graphics are more than outdated; but with an expertly crafted world like Morrowind, it’s easy to overlook these criticisms. If you haven’t experienced Morrowind yet, do not fret, there’s still time. Get it, play it, love it.