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Well, how about almost all? OK, I admit it, I have no idea how much of Morrowind I've actually played. The original base game was designed to be far larger than anyone's willingness to be compulsively complete, and now, as an additional lure, two new pieces have been tacked on. Making the story frightening in scope.
You start out as a memory-less waif shipped to Vvardenfell by the Emperor, and gradually become the most powerful man, woman, elf, lizard or whatever on the continent. You get to lie, cheat, steal, and above all, fight for hundreds of hours. Morrowind isn't an RPG, it's a lifetime hobby. Unless, of course, you can figure out a way to make yourself stop. In my case it took 400 hours of play and the death of anything that even closely resembled a god before I shook free.
This is a classic Elder Scrolls game in terms of delivery. Animation, graphics and design are a notch better than average, but they fall well short of what the Xbox is capable of. In fact, unless my memory fails me, Ultima IX was actually was slightly better from an art viewpoint - and that was nearly 10 years ago. Morrowind has the same, slightly retro feel to it. This isn't bad, but the imaginative architecture and paraphernalia cry out for more details.
Size has both positive and negative aspects, though. Travel rapidly becomes time consuming, and it is only slowly that you will get this under control. There is a limited selection of enemies as well. If I have to kill one more Cliff Racer I am going to exterminate the species. Take my advice, don't try to play the entire game through. Pick a faction quest, wander arounds, and only nibble at the main story line. Be very careful about where you put things, you may need them later. And take frequent breaks.
I was much relieved to see other reviewers mention the fact that the game hangs up frequently - I was worried that my brand new Xbox was having a terminal problem. Take this warning seriously. Save often and compulsively. It is too easy to get caught up in a difficult passage and let saving slide. And there is nothing like the howl of frustration that comes from having hours of effort go straight into digital catalepsy.
Price vs. playing time, Morrowind is a bargain. It is generally interesting, and sometimes ingenious. If you can avoid burnout, you will be playing it for centuries.
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on March 28, 2005
This is a long game, and therefore a long review. I glow about it and all its possibilities for a while, but skip a few paragraphs if you just want the straight pros and cons.

I'll get right to the point of how massive this game is by giving you a brief hypothetical scenario. First, you choose your character and decide on his or her face and hairstyle. Then let's say you begin the game by robbing everything from the first house that you begin the game in. But the guards spot you, so you run. Once outside, another guard gets in your way so you take a swing at him, accidentally knocking out an innocent townsperson in the process. You rush into the local pawnbroker to buy a weapon, but your criminal activity makes the owner hostile towards you. So instead you just grab the spear sitting against the wall and kill him with it, looting his body of all its goods and throwing on some armor along the way. You then jump back outside and stab the guard a few times, but he has friends so you need to run. You make it to the local silt strider transportation, and catch a ride to the next town over where you join the thieves' guild and pay the cost of clearing your name under the table. Interested in what they tell you, you decide to stay with them for awhile and hlep out their organization until the day comes when you kill them all and join the fighter's guild instead.

That's all possible, right from the start of the game. Morrowind is incredible. Without exaggeration, you can go anywhere, anytime, with the only limitation being your yet-undeveloped physical skills. See that mountain in the distance? Sooner or later, depending on your strength, you can climb it. Notice that underwater cave? Once you have the right spells you can breathe underwater and check it out. Wander day and night, walking where you want to with no pressure to do anything other than play the game in the order you want and at your own pace.

Oh, and you can do what you want too. Don't like the way that shopkeeper talked to you? Kill him. Oh, and he'll stay dead, so you might as well use his shop as your new home where you can drop off all your stuff. What stuff? Well anything you want to pick up. Barring furniture, you can pick up almost anything and use it or drop it where it will always continue to sit. Like those spoons on the dinner table? Take them. Think you can get away with stealing that helmet from the guard? Try it. There are definitely repercussions, such as being attacked or thrown in jail, but this game does not discourage you from doing things your way.

If the honest path is more your thing, then play the game straight or go and join one of the factions that share your interests. There are 3 great clan houses you can join, as well as gangs of fighters, thieves, magicians, assassins, soldier forts, and religious organizations. Spend your time making pilgrimages to various locations around the world, or try to get to the top of your magician's order. Or if you want just skip all this stuff and do the main quest, or skip that and do everything else. It's really your own choice.

And what a world Morrowind is. Composed of fields, mountains, volcanic barrens, islands, grottos, and hundreds of caves and tombs and ruins, it will literally take weeks and even months to cover everything and go everywhere. Just walking from one corner of the map to its opposite would take at least an hour or two of your life, and that's just a straight line without doing anything interesting. There is a lot, I mean, A LOT to do. There's so much variation though, it takes a lot to get sick of what you're doing. Don't worry about getting around though, there are boats, wizard teleporters, spells, and more to get around. Oh and you can walk on water and levitate once you get the right spells, too.

Okay, now for my more objective review. Morrowind, being the third game in the series (you don't have to know the first two at all), is all about open-endedness and exploration. Clearly there are hundreds of choices and dozens of ways to play the game, all presented to you in a first or third person perspective (your choice). You can play as a male or female of 8 different and very unique races who all have their own skills. And this game has dozens of skills to hone: Keep hitting living things with your sword to develop your long blade skill, or do lots of jumping to improve your acrobatics. The point is that your character develops how you want him to, with lots of customization and honing to do as you go up in levels.

The meat of the game is the exploring and questing. And there are hundreds. Any faction, such as clan house or guild, each has its own dozen or so missions, and there are about a dozen of these such factions to join. Each faction has its own specific mission style, too. Join the religious cult, and you'll run around asking for donations. Join the mage's guild and you'll be looking for plants and ingredients to make spells out of. In addition to this, there are also a hundred or so miscellaneous quests to undertake at your discretion, requiring you to just stumble on them. A man in the wilderness may ask you to help him find the thieves who stole his goods, and you can do it or not, and then even decide how you do it (such as getting the goods but then keeping them for yourself). The main quest alone is a good thirty or so missions long, and comprises an interesting tale of legend and deceit. It's all fun stuff.

There are a few gripes about the game. There are lots of things to kill, so one would expect combat to be better. It's very, very basic, with each weapon having three ways to swing and battle being nothing more than repeatedly tapping the attack button. Kind if cheesy and disappointing, but nothing that makes the game terrible. The other gripe I heard was that all the characters say the same basic roster of dialog, which to an extent is true. Conversation is initiated through dialogue windows, and you choose the topics from a list of relevant things. There are a lot of unique and specific dialogue options depending on who you talk to during your quests, but it's true that everyone will say the same thing when you ask about "fines and compensation" for example. It's somewhat boring and disappointing, but you get used to it, and it seems that this gameplay shortcut allowed the rest of the programming to go towards the exploring and questing which is fine with me. You won't feel like the only real person in the game by any means, since there are hundreds of characters in a couple dozen towns and they do all say a lot of different things, it's just that too many of them share a lot of the same topics.

The graphics are good, with beautiful skies and shimmering water but with some clunkiness such as a generic shadow and somewhat stiff character animation. But the entire game is fully 3d and gives you complete range of vision, which is quite impressive. The music is ambient and quiet, yet more dramatic and tense when the situation calls for it. It doesn't seem to get repetitive even after hours and hours of play because it's not very intrusive.

Basically, though the game has a couple flaws, there's still a genuinely startling amount of things to do, places to go, items to collect, and new things to try. I've had the game for a year and a half now, and there are still caves I haven't visited and items I've never used. There are still quests I haven't undertaken as well, and I've played this game for literally about four or five hundred hours (It can honestly be that involving). I only recently found out that I can kill the owner of a large house and then command people from all over the world to follow me and permanently reside there with me. That alone has been a fun task that's given me another dozen hours of gameplay, and that's just a silly task that I undertook to make my home seem more one of a kind. But that's the whole point of this game- you can do so much, with so few limitations, that this IS literally the first role playing game I've ever played that lets me overtake the home of my choice and force my favorite characters to come live in it with me (then decorate it with red candles and so on). More than anything, this game is meant for some good old fashioned exploring and discovering, with loads of mission variety and your own pace to set. Rent it if you want to just check and see how deep it goes, but I guarantee that if you like what you see, you will have multitudes of free-roaming action at your fingertips. All that's left for you to decide is how deep you want to go.

IMPORTANT: Last thing- you may hear about this game being glitchy. Some people aren't aware that SOME older Xboxes have trouble with this game, as mine did, so don't just assume it's faulty. Once I upgraded my old "Thomson" Xbox drive, It's been smooth sailing.
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on February 12, 2004
A Dream Come True.
This game is, to me, one of the single best games I have ever experienced. It is without a doubt a masterpiece, and I would like to meet each and every one of the game designers and thank them from the bottom of my heart. What a beauty. What a concept. What an experience.
First and foremost I guess you could say that the game is very relaxing and calming. It's not like most of the other games out there these days that can only be handled in small doses at a time simply because of their graphical overload to the senses. With Halo for example ( a great game by all means ), the game gets so intense that your eyes sometimes get dry and irritated from not blinking! Morrowind GOTY Edition is not this type of game. Instead, Morrowind encourages you to pull up a chair, turn the lights down, crank the volume up and get ready to lose yourself in a completely immersive world.
For me, after a hard day at work, there's nothing like crashing on my couch, gathering some pillows together and securing some refreshments to get ready for a solid couple hours of great, relaxing gameplay. If I can only get the TV for an hour or so, because my girlfriend wants to watch TV or something, for example, then I won't play Morrowind because it's simply not worth it to tease myself for such a small period of time. I'd suggest at least 2-3 hours of playing at a time, and you will be completely blown away. This may be a negative to some people, but it is one of those games that is totally time consuming.
The reason that this game is so consuming is because it is very rewarding to the player. For example: I know that some gamers have written about the frame-rate problem in the game, and I must say that at the beginning, I thought the game was a little slow. But these people must not have played it for very long because as soon as you build up your speed levels, the game is almost as fast as you can react to. By this I mean that you can only react and turn a corner in a house so fast. Any faster and you'd run into the wall in front of you before you could react to the turn. Sure, when you're out in the wilderness, walking around the vast landscapes in Morrowind (which of course is completely optional), I can see how some people would call this area of the game slow. But you're out in the wilderness, and there should be a lot of walking and roaming. You DO have the option of taking a faster method of travel. This game is very realistic in so many ways, it's hard to describe.
It's also very rewarding because as you level up, learn new skills, earn money and spend your money, you can achieve some really great gameplay elements that you couldn't do when you were a little `wetter behind the earsE Your character does become very strong and it does take some work to get that awesome blade and armor. But that's the point of the whole thing, the game is so huge, that you have to put in the time to get better. But that time, as I've said, is very relaxing and a helluva lot of fun.
Two more things I really like about this game is one, there's only one character: you. You can really customize this character, but as opposed to many of the other RPG games out there, there's no `teamEto control and deal with. This is something that I have missed since the days of Dragon Warrior for the NES. No more having to deal with his or her weapons and etc., only my own. I go out in the world of Morrowind and spend 5 hours (of real time) to get MY character some good stuff, not some other schmuck. Now some people in the `Square Enix can do no wrongEhouse of thinking will argue that more characters make an epic RPG, but let me just say that this game is as big of an epic as you'll want to get. Nothing compares to it.
Secondly, I really enjoy the fact that you can do anything and go anywhere you want at any time during the game. This game offers the gamer total freedom over what to do in the game and how to play it. Been a bit long winded here, gotta go. Oh yes, the weather effects in the game are also very effective. What a wonder.
Basically, this game is the quintessential RPG of this console generation, in my opinion. Get the Game of the Year Edition, it is much better than the original, I've heard (never played the original). And what is with giving the original game an 8.5 and then giving the newer version a lower score? Does this mean that I should go out and buy the first one? Ridiculousness. Also, what is up with the Gamespot people criticizing Star Wars games for their `same `olEmusic style? Star Wars games get bad reviews because of having Star Wars music? We're not all in the reviewing industry here people and someone who's playing a Star Wars game for the first time would probably love the music. Start thinking like the players guys, not video game gods! Something to think about anyway.
But yeah, as for Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, it is a complete RPGer's dream come true Ein every way. Don't pass this up. Josh aka Squish.
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on March 6, 2004
One warning slash complaint: DO NOT BUY THIS GAME IF YOU HAVE A LIFE. It is best if your a loser like me who doesn't do anything except play his xbox. The reason I say this is because the game seriously starts taking over your life because you can't stop playing it.
Okay with that cleared up, here's the skinny.
Your a bum who just got realsed from prison and was brought to the land of Morrowind. Your on a continent sized island called Vanderfall. You pick your name, your class, your race and the sign you were born under. Choose well! What you pick will determine the way the game will unfold for you. Once you finish your business, your a free man...that means in there are no set guide lines about what you should do... AS IN YOU CAN DO WHATEVER THE HECK YOU WANT. The thought of it kinds of goes to my head.......
Seriously though, there is a main quest, which is to...never mind, I won't spoil it. Okay a short list of stuff you can do. Join guilds. Guilds like fighters, thieves or mages. You can become members of factions like certain temples or healing groups. You can join people's houses. Pick a side in multiple types of feuds. You may choose to become a free ranging hero, helping people in need. Or you may fall to the lure of the
"dark side" (I'm a big star wars fan) and turn to theivery. Whatever you want, the game lets you do it.
The exploring aspect is big. Like I said, the island is about the size of Australlia, and lots of times you'll have to travel in the beast ridled wilderness to get to places. Sometimes, if you're along the coast, you can ride in a boat, which is instintaneous transportation to a new location. If your not along the coast, you can ride huge bugs called silt striders. Same concept of boats, except across land.
People complain about the loading times, but there not really that bad. When you first load your game, it will take a while. But once you get going and are on your way, the loading never takes more than a couple seconds. And when you leave a building, you automatically can leave it with NO loading time what so ever.
The level of customization is amazing. There is no limit on the types of armor you will find. (from iron plated to troll bone) The weapons are awesome, especially the magic ones. Oh yeah, you can find people (or do it yourself) that will actually create new spells from old ones. You choose all of the features about it, even its name! I myself have a "super big fireball" spell in my arsenal. You can also enchant your armor, weapons, rings and amulets using souls you've captured in soul gems.
Along the lines of weapons is the magic. Magic is an aspect where many games seem to stumble. Either the magic is too strong, too week, too corny, not enough, too hard to regain, too easy to regain........The list goes on. Morrowind is the first game I've seen that gets it just right. The spells that hurt others are not all powerful, but they are not wimpy, either. There are plenty of spells that enhance your abilities, as well as spells that unlock doors, paralyze, make you invisible, and a host of others. Magic is one of my favorite parts of Morrowind.
Interaction with the environment is virtually limitless. The world boasts and entire ecosytem of vegetation, all which you can pick and use in potions. You can pick up ANYTHING you find lying about, even in peoples homes. They lock a chest on you? No problem. Just bust out the old lock pick out and (if you have a high enough security skill) you can break into a wide variety of different locked things.
The cities are breath taking. No, not the junky little town you start in, but the bigger ones like Balmoro are sweet. And Vivec is amazing. It is the capital of the island. It is divided into nine sections, each one floating on enormous platoons on the water. Very realistic and cool.
The game is supposed to be like living someone's life. And it is. Things like fewer people on the streets at night, prices that vary depending on how much the people like you and small stuff like that really make the game. The one thing I was very impressed with was the legal system. The dudes who made the game came up with a very original (if simple) system of law and order. If your crime is reported, you must pay a fine or go to jail and serve some hard labor. If you steel something, the stolen goods are returned and the fine is small. If you kill someone, the fine is huge. There are guards a plenty to uphold the law. The bigger the town, the more there are, and the powerful they are. The guards in Balmoro where this totally awesome armor and have spiked swords and shields. Small towns and villages only will have the basic guards, who look wimpy but are really strong. And the largest towns have dementors, who are probably some of the toughest fighters in the game.
That's all I'll say. The rest is up to you to find out. So get out of here and onto the road.
Good adventuring!!!
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on July 2, 2014
I really don't have a full review of the actual gameplay, but before buying this I had a lot of questions and couldn't find the answers I was looking for. I will review the actual gameplay a little so you know what you're getting.

I had the original Xbox years ago, but didn't play Morrowind on it. I have been wanting to try it ever since finishing Skyrim, but had seen so many varying opinions about its compatibility with the 360, that I didn't know if I wanted to risk it. Here are the questions I had and hopefully others are looking for these answers.

Will it play on the Xbox 360? I have the Slim Xbox 360 and an old "fat" white Xbox 360, it plays on both without a hitch. I didn't need to update anything or download anything. Of note: You cannot install it to your hard drive. Also of note: The disc reads smoothly and there's no noise unlike most games played from disc instead of hard drive.

Are the add-ons Bloodmoon and Tribunal expired, have to be downloaded or how do those work? They are included on the disc and are incorporated into the main game. You do not have to download anything. You just put the game in and play, Morrowind, Bloodmoon and Tribunal are all included on the GotY disc.

Those are the main questions I had and had searched the internet for hours looking for the answers.

Next "problem": I had no interest in ordering a new version at the prices people are asking. I ordered a used copy "fulfilled by Amazon" and had Prime shipping, it was from the seller "Nextworth". It arrived early, I opened it and I said, "This is not the GotY edition!" It was the platinum hits version of just Morrowind. I returned it and reordered, this time choosing "Amazon Warehouse" as the seller and this time when it came, it was the GotY edition and it was only listed as "good" condition, but it has the manual (still has the crisp sound when flipping pages), it has the original box though it is cracked, has the foldout map and even has the registration card.

So, I can't guarantee you that if you order through Amazon's Warehouse that you too will get what I consider a like new copy, but I would recommend ordering from Amazon Warehouse.

Okay, now for the game. I wasn't shocked in a bad way by the graphics. It's not bad at all, the movement is as fluid as Oblivion, if that's a compliment. It does take a while to get used to everything, especially if you've played Skyrim and/or Oblivion. I've enjoyed it so far. I have roughly 60 hours in a character. If you're still hung up on it being an old game, I'm going to list all the things I notice as possible being detractors for Skyrim/Oblivion players.

Unless I missed it there's no character physical appearance customization. You pick your race, then decide if you want to pick your class (custom) or you can answer some funny questions that will decide your class for you, similar to Fallout 3's Generalized Occupational Aptitude Test if you've played it. I went with custom. You then pick your sign your character is born under.

There's a lot of fog out there. I'm guessing this wasn't intended fog for visual effect, but it's not the worst I've seen. The first hour will most likely see you run around pointlessly trying to figure out what to do.

Combat (armed): It's pretty funny really. You jab away with your dagger, sword, axe. This could be the biggest turn-off for me since I didn't even like the visual attacks in Oblivion. If you can deal with Oblivion's visual attacks, you should be fine with these though.

Magic: It's very basic looking. Quite a bit more basic than Oblivion's, but I use a Warrior class so I don't pay much attention to the magic.

Menus: This is a big one. The menus are hard to read, inventory can be a pain at first, but if you can get by the muddy graphics on the menus you'll be fine.

Oh and it's not 1080p resolution. My 1080p screen has a black box on both sides of the game screen.

I still didn't mind. If you're really wanting to play it, it's fun, after a few hours. Everything does feel slightly clunky and I had to turn the subtitles on. You will find yourself stuck from time to time, running into a wall, over and over and not realizing it because the game has a very dark look to it. I would recommend it for those like me, have played Oblivion and the DLCs for it, have played Skyrim until you've done everything you can at least twice and still want more. Just be sure to read over the first part before ordering.
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on November 6, 2005
Firstly, I have to agree with the posts on here about what an addicting game this is. I played way to many hours on Morrowind.. My baby's momma more so (I think she was level 89 or something).

Anyway's.. my opinion of this game is basically the same as the other posters on here (amazing) but I want to elaborate on the bugs..

The game has some serious bug issues. Most noticeably, the game could freeze after any moment after your file reaches above 140 blocks. This makes it important to save very often, which is annoying because the game takes a LONG time to save after your file surpasses 100 blocks. You know the game has "frozen" when it lags for a moment, then goes to the "Dirty Disc Error" screen. Fear not, neither your DVD Disc nor your DVD-ROM is malfunctioning (I know because I went through three discs from EB-Games).

Over the past few months I have compiled a list of Morrowind freeze fixes that seem to work for people. I'm going to post them here just so more people can see them.. and hopefully continue playing an amazing game.

Fixes for freezing:

Don't leave bodies lying around; dispose of corpses.

Don't leave items out in the open; store in containers or sell them.

don't re-arrange peasants items, as fun as this may be.

save often, and make new save games instead of writing over old ones.

If your game keeps freezing:

Sleep for a week. this will make all/most bodies left in the open 'biodegrade', reducing memory usage.

Load three other game discs (ie Spyhunter, DOAX, Halo). this clears the Xbox cache of Morrowind data OR, if you have a modchip, clear volumes X, Y, and Z of all data (these are temp drives)

Bug Conclusion: The game is totally playable if you are really conscious about where you leave items and corpses. As you know from playing, the game remembers where you leave EVERYTHING. Once you re-arrange every peasant's home and distribute their items to random points on the map, it is understandably strenuous for the Xbox to remember these THOUSANDS of items. Of course, it would of been possible to have this fixed, but it is something we have to live with until they possibly make a fixed version for the Xbox.

Game Conclusion: Morrowind is a startlingly detailed game with TONS of text, plenty of voices, and LOTS of different people and places. Playing this game truly puts you into a world of your own, where you can choose what you want to do; who you want to work for; and what you want to accomplish. There is of course a storyline in the background, which is as equally as exciting to follow. Morrowind is unique because it is the most recent popular game where you are free to do what you want, whenever you want. The graphics are astounding considering the sheer amount of textures and game data that is packed onto the disc.


9/10 - Graphics - As I said above, beautiful for such a large game.

9/10 - Gameplay - If you are a gamer, the controls can be mastered within an hour. Well thought out and effective while playing.

9.5/10 - Sound - there is simply so much that happens in the sound.. although you hear voices repeat eventually, there are still TONS of voices, sounds, sound effects, and generic background music that is soothing, and not annoying like some games.

7/10 - Replay Value - You could play forever in one file, but restarting after getting a long way, dying, and forgetting to save can be very discouraging.

Overall Score (average) - 8.6/10

My Score - 6.6/10

I subtracted a whole 2 points because of the incredibly annoying, frustrating, and stupid freezing glitch. I don't pay big bucks for games that freeze (I bought it when it was new.. not a bestseller).
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on August 7, 2005
Every once in a while I think about this game and I feel look an absolute loser playing a game with dark elves, wood elves, argonians (giant lizards), and other such folk. But then I put the game in and all my doubts are erased. Simply put this is the greatest rpg of all time and one of my favorite games ever. I am more of a fan of the old school rpg's like final fantasy but this game blew me away.

You ask why this is such a great game? It's the FREEDOM you have throughout the game. You can do absolutely anything you want. ANYTHING... you can be told to go kill some rats for a poor village girl, and you can walk to her house and kill all her rats then kill her if you want to. You can enchant rings to make yourself constantly invisible, you can wipe out every single orc in the game. And you can do all of this outside of the main storyline. I have even played through the entire main storyline and I've logged in well over 200 hours on this game only counting the main island. In this new version with 2 new expansions the possibilities have become endless.

The game itself is easy to get used to and the graphics of the enviroment are unbelievable. The graphics of the people in the game are a little rough and stiff but you will soon forget about that. I dont think I have even scratched the surface of this game and that is saying alot considering I have maxed out my level and have over 1 million gold pieces not to mention my numerous possessions.

Another thing is the leveling up in this game. It is not a traditional rpg experience points system. How you level up and grow your character is totally up to you, not just when you level up, but everything you do contributes to how you level up. You have 5 major and 5 minor abilities ranging from marksman and athletics to destruction magic and alchemy. If you run around and jump everywhere you go you will slowly gain points for your acrobatics skill. Once any combination of major or minor skills has been raised a total of 10 times then you can fall asleep and level up. Once you level up you can choose which stats (endurance, strength, intelligence, etc.) to raise. You can raise a total of 3 stats and you can raise some stats more than others depending on which skills you raised while in between 'level ups'. (i.e. you raise your heavy armor skill up 10 times then you can raise your endurance stat by 5 instead of 1 since heavy armor governs endurance).

I've told you all I can about this game, now all you can do is go out and play it for yourself because you won't truly appreciate the greatness of this game until you experience it for yourself. Do yourself a favor and go out and buy this game immediately.
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on October 14, 2004
It isn't perfect, but if you're a dyed-in-the-wool CRPG'er who owns an Xbox, you owe it to yourself to buy this game. Heck, I bought an Xbox just to play it. (Somewhere, a Microsoft executive is laughing maniacally...)

The beginning is rather clichéd: You are a prisoner released into a remote locale. Through the introduction you can set up your race, class, and characteristics. Then follows the standard RPG fare, building up character abilities and levels while completing quests and fighting monsters.

No surprises, but the elements of the game are very well done. The development system allows you to become better at specific abilities, not by adding points at will but by using them in play. (I've always wondered how swinging an axe for three days made you a better tailor.) Increase your class' major skills enough and you level up. I would therefore classify this as a third generation RPG.

Inventory is weight-based, a step up from the usual ("The weakest among us can carry 40 anvils, the strongest among us cannot carry 41 feathers"). And true to the promise of computers in RPGs, this calculates your carrying load and factors it into fatigue-- while giving you several ways to reduce fatigue when you have to (rest, drink a potion, use a spell). Damage can be cured by sleeping for eight hours, which is (for better or worse) expected in computer fantasy games.

Graphics are a step up from most third-person CRPG fare. Monsters aren't so blocky as to appear like early FPS games, and the terrain looks better than in any similar game I've played. Weapon and armor choices are reflected in the player's toon.

Talking to people, especially about topics they know about (or the ever popular rumors and tips), will reveal highlighted words. These words now become topics for future conversations, and may allow you to ask other NPCs about things that can reveal new tasks or secret info. I first saw this on an Apple // game in 1983 or thereabouts, and I wish other games would employ it-- the method works. However, reading texts is not linked into the "topic" system for conversations-- I would think that reading about an area would allow you to quiz people on it.

Sound-- also well done. The voice actors perform admirably, and don't get on your nerves too much (unlike in the PC game Neverwinter Nights, an otherwise extraordinary game). Incidental counds are well chosen. You won't be turning off your speakers for this one.

Complaints? Sure. The text in books is clearly the developers' fanfic, and like amateur fiction it varies widely in quality and is not always to the point. (Tip: Open the books anyway. Some increase your abilities. You can even open a book in a shop where it's on a shelf waiting to be sold.) However, the real game-related books, like the histories and the descriptions of the world's religions, are worth reading to pick up background information.

As another reviewer noted, interaction text is not always fitting. Even with a highly favorable reaction, someone might say "We don't trust outlanders like you."

Quests are not always easy to manage. You get minimal information about them in your journal. As an example (and I apologize for the indefinite references; it's been a while since I've played) there are two quests outside of a town, one involving a naked guy whose armor and weapons were stolen by a witch; the other, a dealer in sham and tainted goods who wants an escort to a nearby town. But unless you carefuly record the place you met the naked guy while escorting the merchant, the direction "northeast of here" will make no sense. And you will have a loincloth-clad friend trailing you for weeks.

Another quibble is targeting. While slaying some slavers, I inadvertently killed the slaves. Sorry, guys. An option not to target (or perhaps not to attack) friendly units would have come in handy. It's also not the easiest thing in the world to notice or pick up small items-- you really have to swing yourself in precisely the right direction. A screen that lists nearby items that are available to you would have been a big help.

But all in all, well done and a worthy game on which to waste a sizable chunk of your life. Buy the "Game Of The Year" edition if you're going to buy it at all, as that has two add-ons that I don't think are otherwise available. Man, this would make a great framework for a MMORPG...
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on November 12, 2005
I LOVE this game. I own it for the PC, and its even more fun on the XBOX. The character creation is totally customizable or you can pick from premade types. Character development is great too, you can buy training or go the slower method of practicing. The world is impossibly huge with cities and open landscapes. You can go where ever you want and do what ever you want. The centeral quest is long and involved, but there are so many other things to do and side quests, that I've been playing for MONTHS and still have not done everything. There are tombs, shipwrecks and temples to explore. There are objects and souls to steal and sell. You can make spells and potions, collect plants and dive for pearls. You can join guilds (not all of them friendly to each other) and they will give you special training, free potions and basic weapons, as well as a place to sleep. I like the freedom and intriguing storyline of this game. The world is imerssive and detailed. Overall, its my favorite game of all.
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VINE VOICEon April 13, 2005
Ok so the characters in this game leave a little something to be desired in the asthetics area. But that is where my complaining ends. That's it. That is the only thing I could find to complain about in this game. And trust me I know how to complain, I'm a librarian. I could sit and play this game for hours at a time completely immersed in the details. I never found it tedious or repetitve. The controls are spot on and the menus are easy to work after an initial test run. The combination of role playing and adventure elements was perfect. I even found it scary at times especially during the beginning when your character is new and even the rats threaten you meager existence. Becoming a "homeowner" of sorts is a great deal of fun and an interesting element. I just hope they intend to make another game like this in the future. I hope this was helpful.
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