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The Elder Scrolls 3: Bloodmoon Review
publisher: Bethesda Softworks
developer: Bethesda Softworks
PIII 500, 128MB RAM, 32MB Video Card, 1GB HD
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Jun 03, 03 (released)
|» All About The Elder Scrolls 3: Bloodmoon on ActionTrip|
As one of the most complex RPG's in recent memory, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has been impressing fantasy-driven masses ever since its release. This game has been on the RPG scene just over a year now, during which time it has achieved a considerable reputation, receiving a tremendous amount of support from its ever-growing community. Seizing the opportunity, Bethesda Softworks launched The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal which turned out... okay (even though its AI suffered from certain pathing issues). It's more than obvious that the folks at Bethesda are pretty pleased with the attention their work is getting, so they made an effort to create yet another expansion pack for the game - The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon.
The story of Bloodmoon takes us through the frozen Island of Solstheim where the Empire is establishing a new mining colony - a venture being threatened by the prophecy of the Bloodmoon and rumors of werewolves. You journey north from Vvardenfell by ship...and from there; your adventures are your own. This new adventure will introduce you to a completely new world, where the ash lands and rainy coasts of Morrowind merge with the beautiful forests and hills covered with snow and ice. The realms of Morrowind are huge and this time around players will get to explore the vast wilderness of Solstheim. We all know that this expansion pack was developed with the intention of satisfying the hunger of the vast hardcore RPG crowd. If you consider yourself one of these people, then you'll be thrilled to know that the add-on brings over 40 hours of play throughout the new island of Solstheim. Careful now, for these realms hold many dangerous like dense blizzards and a plethora of perilous new creatures like ice minions, frost trolls, and wolves... (Oh my! - Six) (Put 'em up! Put 'em up! - VADAR).
Those of you who generally disliked Morrowind, shouldn't expect any radical revisions in the basic concept of the gameplay. The purpose of this expansion pack is merely to enrich the content, while staying true to the elements that made the original game so successful. And, to put it simply, it worked! Similar to the previous add-on (Tribunal), players are going to begin their ventures in the same old surroundings of Morrowind. The difference is that now, you'll be able to play a variety of unique new missions that will take you to the remote fort of Frostmoth (in Solstheim). For those gamers who enjoy strolling around the countryside and exploring the areas, the developers have designed a commendable range of tombs, dungeons, and caves (that are all scattered across the island). The moment you arrive to Solstheim, numerous quests will be available for completion. But first, you have to make a choice whether you'd prefer working for the East Empire Company, or just being a werewolf. Both of these are challenging and fun to play.
Of course, one of the primary innovative features of this add-on is that the gamer can choose to play as a werewolf. This should be pointed out as an original way of allowing players to take a slightly different side to the whole Morrowind experience - the bad and ferocious side; as opposed to always playing as the standard character races. Playing the whole game through the eyes of a werewolf brings certain benefits, which you may find rather helpful during quests that require characters to be a bit more resilient. The coolest thing about werewolves is that they are a highly skilled species with enhanced physical abilities that come in mighty handy when you head off into action. Although you'll mostly be fighting with your claws, you can also run and jump with greatly improved skill and agility. The good thing is that these werewolves have the ability to use regeneration, which usually gives them an edge over other opponents.
Last time we played Morrowind: Tribunal we noticed some weak moments in the AI of the NPC's that occasionally accompany you on your quests. Now it appears that such issues were promptly adjusted, hence the AI seems to work fine in general. Also, developers augmented the presence of other creatures that inhabit the Solstheim, including wild boars, bears, wolves, Nordic folk, and many more.
Not much of the game was changed visually, so you'll basically get to see the same familiar ambiance. Therefore, we won't waste too much time on the graphical specs - check out our coverage of the previous titles for the skinny on that. All you really need to know is that all of the new creatures were carefully and precisely modeled; the new surroundings look great. You'll also witness some nifty new weather effects, which can cause several different reactions from NPC's. For instance, when a nasty blizzard is raging you can see some of the NPC's shielding their faces from oncoming snowdrifts... Nice one. Perhaps the only technical downside that we found was the badly positioned loading sections on Solstheim, which cause some seriously annoying gameplay issues. This aspect is particularly frustrating when you're in a hurry or if you're in the middle of a battle.
Sound effects don't lag far behind in terms of quality and variety. Each new monster and area was provided with an adequate range of sounds. We were somewhat disappointed not to find any new music themes, since we're all kinda fed up with those old tunes.
In a nutshell, The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon possesses several new and intriguing elements that include diverse new items, weaponry, indoor and outdoor environments, monsters, etc. I guess they could've always put in more features -weapons, items, and skills; there's always room for more, if you ask me. At any rate, the expansion pack succeeded in broadening the depth of gameplay of an already lengthy and complex RPG. True fans shouldn't miss it.
Recently, we've learned another interesting piece of info, which I don't know if you're aware of or not. Xbox gamers should be glad to know that Bethesda Softworks plan to launch Morrowind GOTY, a version that's going to feature the content from both Tribunal and Bloodmoon add-ons - this will no doubt be a field day for hardcore Morrowind fans. Be on the look out for more announcements soon.
8.5 Very Good
Cool new weapons, items, environments, and quests. Good story. Choosing to play with the werewolf. A must have for Morrowind fans;
No new music themes. Badly placed loading sections. Aside from that, we couldn't any particularly annoying setbacks, other than the ones that have plagued the series in general.
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