Reviews

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited Console Review

I now spent a few months with The Elder Scrolls Online on my PS4. I've quested through all three starting zones with my three separate characters, and decided to continue questing on with my Dragonknight. Two months ago I posted my early impressions of the game, when the servers weren't yet stable, and I only explored just a sliver of the overall game. I had already enjoyed the game then, but it just further solidified how much better the game felt with a controller in hand.

Fundamentally, the game is exactly the same as its PC counterpart. All the same races, classes, and locations are all present here. Really the one major difference is how you control the game, which works splendidly with the game's limited hotbar setup.

Elder Scrolls Online, compared to its single player brethren, actually boasts a far more enjoyable combat experience, thanks to the numerous amount of skills at your disposition. Even outside of the four base classes, lie a ton of secondary skills that have their own skill trees with active and passive traits. It's easily one of the most flexible MMOs when it comes to class customization. Want to be a Sorcerer wielding a two-handed sword? Sure! How about a bow-wielding Dragonknight with an affinity for alchemy? Yep! The possibilities are virtually endless.

Having so many active skills at your disposal, though only five of them are active at a time, gives you a variety combat options. Unlike previous Elder Scrolls games, you'll be doing a lot more than simply pulling the right trigger to constantly swing your sword.

The world is not only massive, but gorgeous. Graphically, I wouldn't call it a next-gen showpiece by any means, but the world has a beauty of its own, something that distinctly makes it Elder Scrolls, whether it's the familiar flora and fauna scattered across the land, or the majestic, distinct architecture of all three factions.

Supplementing the huge world is the joy of actually exploring it. I can't say this about many other MMOs, but I found myself wandering off the beaten path more often than not, and doing so is usually worth it. You'll come across various one-off dungeons, treasure chests, and NPCs, all worth investing time into, seeing how you'll affect the world around you. Like a few other MMOs, ESO uses phasing to permanently change various locations based on your choices. One of the earlier choices involve choosing whether to use an item to completely rid the town of evil spirits, thus making it habitable by humans, but in the process also vanquishing the good spirits that reside there, or sparing the good spirits, but making the village condemned since the evil spirits will remain as well. It's a pretty heartwrenching decision, especially once you get to know the characters a bit more. Sadly, the long-lasting effect is much less impactful, since all it does is make that piece of land either neutral to you, or remain hostile. But the illusion of a bigger picture is still very much appreciated.

The quests themselves, even on the PC version, have been largely fun to partake in, thanks to their expansive nature. It's never as simple as completing a single task for a character, but instead a branch of quests that usually involve a much bigger picture.

Elder Scroll Online also features a rather unique crafting system. I can only describe it as modular, allowing you to create various tiers of the same item, depending on how many materials you choose to use. And it goes even deeper than that. You can also strip various properties out of items, effectively learning them, and then slot them into future gear you're planning to craft. The unusual aspect about this particular element is that it actually takes six hours of real time to learn, which means you're always better off starting the research on these items before you go to bed.

Since the game is F2P, there is obviously a cash shop in the game, though it doesn't affect the game outside of providing some sweet looking costumes that appear over your armor and providing some cool mounts. Those who love the game can support it by actually subscribing, which comes with a lot of neat additional perks, as well as access to the upcoming expansions for free (subscription price excluded of course).

Generally PVP is not something I enjoy in a lot of games, and ESO is no exception. It's there if you wish to partake in, as soon as you hit level 10. The map is massive enough, littered with various outposts and objectives to complete, all while defending yourself from other players.

Since its release, the game has seen numerous discounts already, making it an even better time to jump into it, whether you're a fan of Elder Scrolls, or simply wanted an MMO on your console without a monthly commitment, that you can freely jump back into at your own leisure. The controls have been perfectly tuned to consoles, making it very easy to jump in and get acclimated. 

Bottom Line

A seamless transition to consoles with superb controller support and hundreds of hours worth of gameplay to dive into, all without a monthly subscription.

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