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The Elder Scrolls Online - Post-E3 preview

10:28 PM, Jul 3, 2013   |    comments
'The Elder Scrolls Online' from ZeniMax Online Studios.
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Over the past number of years, Bethesda has wowed gamers with editions of its The Elder Scrolls franchise with the award-winning Skyrim being the latest to come out two years ago.

The company is now busy at work on what will literally be the biggest The Elder Scrolls entry yet in The Elder Scrolls Online.  Unfortunately, as shown at E3 2013, it's simply not very good.

Taking a few things with a grain of salt because Bethesda and its parent company ZeniMax are still working on the game (they only recently announced that the player-character's hands will be view-able in first-person mode), TESO gets a pass on some thing such as its unappealingly dated graphics.  What it couldn't get a pass on, however, is its dull and disconnected gameplay.

Players will get to run the gambit in terms of TES-style character creation with all of the game's races available complete with multiple face and body types, as well as a number of visual customizations that can be made to them.  That part of TESO looks to be great - even if Bethesda only allowed E3 attendees hands-on with three pre-set builds.  It's just too darn bad it's all downhill from there.

Once actually in the game, it's amazing just how plain and generic it all seems.  This sensation is grossly disappointing when you think about just how special the TES setting of Tamriel has become over the years.  Take away location names and TESO could pass for nearly any other high fantasy MMORPG that's been on the market for the last five or so years.

Actual gameplay, too, seems generic.  In fact, it's generic to the point of being dull.  Combat is nothing special and is where players will feel the largest disconnect.  There was no feedback, no satisfaction from landing a blow on an enemy and there was little in the way of feeling accomplished upon defeating a foe, regardless of how significant that foe may be.  To put it plainly, the game got boring very quickly - something that doesn't bode well for a game which should have players losing sleep and missing work or school to play.

Because of the success and strong following the series had achieved over the past two decades, it's easy to want TESO to succeed.  The problem is that the franchise may fall victim to its own success as fail to meet lofty expectations.

Bethesda still has time before the game goes public in Spring of 2014, so there's time to make this the unique and high quality experience it should be.  Sadly, there is a formidable amount of work needed to get it there.

Bethesda showed The Elder Scrolls Online as a PC game during E3 2013, but the game is also set to release for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.


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