The Elder Scrolls Online has finally made its debut on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Released in 2014 on PC as a subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMO), the game was re-launched earlier this year. The publishers, Bethesda, dropped the monthly fee and rechristened the game The Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited.
It’s The Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited that is now available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. For the first time new-gen console owners can explore the fantasy world of the award-winning Elder Scrolls series.
Even though console owners have had to wait a year to play the game, we now have a game with gamepad optimised controls and no subscription fees. You can just buy the game and off you go.
The game casts players in a pivotal role in a story set before the events of the previous single-player Elder Scrolls games. The Daedric Prince Molag Bal, is seeking to breach his realm of Coldharbour and enter Tamriel. At the same time the Imperial throne sits empty.
Three Alliances: the First Aldmeri Dominion, the Daggerfall Covenant and the Ebonheart Pact, each made up of humans and non-humans, all believe they have a claim to the Imperial crown. The rich history alluded to in the lore of the previous games plays out before us in The Elder Scrolls Online.
If you are familiar with either the previous Elder Scrolls games or MMO’s in general you will be right at home with The Elder Scrolls Online. Players choose their character from a number of different races, their stats and abilities. They can then either complete a lengthy optional tutorial sequence of just head out into the world.
Unlike Skyrim and its predecessors Oblivion and Morrowind, The Elder Scrolls Online is less of a personal story. The quest system is near identical to that of the previous Elder Scrolls games, but in order to accommodate the game’s MMO features certain compromises have had to be made.
Whilst you are the hero of your particular tale, the illusion is easily shattered as you find yourself among a horde of adventurers on an identical and continually resetting quest.
You find situations like the woman at the cave entrance who has been sending adventurers in to rescue her daughter all day resulting in dozens of would-be saviours hacking their way through the enemy in front of you. To be frank, it’s ridiculous, but something that you have to put up with, especially in the more densely populated areas of the early game, before everyone’s had a chance to spread out a bit.
And spread out players will. The world of Tamriel is vast and offers, for the first time, console players the opportunity to explore this amazing world with friends.
If you’ve played the previous games you will recognise the volcanic land of Morrowind and the snow-covered Skyrim. The Imperial realm of Cyrodiil from Oblivion is also in the game, as the setting for the vast PvP area of the Alliance War. Imperial City, itself, will soon be added to the game as free expansion to subscribers.
Whilst The Elder Scrolls Online is free-to-play, nothing is for nothing. The cost of the disc gets players full access to the game, but to get access to any future DLC and other in-game benefits you need to subscribe to Bethesda’s ESO Plus service. This’ll cost you around twenty bucks a month.
To be honest, most casual players are not really going to need to worry themselves about paying for ESO Plus. If you get into the game, you may want to invest a bit more into your experience, but for the rest of us we should be quite happy enjoying the game that we paid for.
The game looks rather beautiful, the world of Tamriel is a varied and exotic place and the designers have outdone themselves in bringing such a fantastic fantasy realm to life.
The visuals are not quite on par with those of the PC version, but they are pretty close. Having played both, I’d take the slightly lower graphical spec for the opportunity to play the game using a gamepad (something I sorely missed with the PC version).
The years delay has given Bethesda plenty of time to iron out the kinks with patches and game balancing tweaks. The Elder Scrolls Online is now a very stable platform offering players an epic multiplayer experience and fantastic value for money for console fans.
The Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited is a rare opportunity for new-gen console owner to play a truly first-class multiplayer online RPG. The game features a vast world to explore, packed with history and lore. The quests are varied and flow nicely with the rich overarching story of the game.
Fans of The Elder Scrolls games, or fantasy role-playing games in general are going to be right at home with The Elder Scrolls Online.