The Elder Scrolls Online Reviews
Inferior to competitors and predecessors in every respect.
The Elder Scrolls Online is a brave attempt at combining two seemingly polar opposites, but it ultimately fails to build a continuously compelling world, compromising too much on either side. It's an MMO that can't hold a candle to likes of Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World, and an Elder Scrolls game that can't hope to be as deep and rich in content and solo experience as Morrowind and Skyrim. The allure of an online Tamriel is strong, and when the game's disparate parts align, it really is a bit special, but those moments are too few and far between to recommend for a game with this much of an inflated price point.
Zenimax have a lot of work ahead of them to turn TESO around.
Despite all I've said sound pretty down on the game, I do have a strange compulsion to continue rolling with it a while longer because I do enjoy exploring it. My impressions from the first week may not be so hot on it, but I don't hate it. Yet. I'll let you know if that changes.
So another lukewarm MMO, then. But occasionally heated up a bit by the rare confluence of scenery, music (the majority of which is excellent) and raw atmosphere that can transport you for a fleeting moment to the Tamriel we've grown to know and love.
Whether or not The Elder Scrolls Online is for you depends on what you are looking for. It is not a conversion of the single player series that many might have hoped for. You can finally trot around Tamriel with your friends, slaying goblins and daedra, but the experience is hindered by uninspiring combat mechanics and far more restrictive exploration options resulting in a less immersive world.
With better MMORPGs already out there and seemingly more great ones coming, The Elder Scrolls Online is using the name to appeal to its large fan base, and I have no doubt some will enjoy, but for the rest, this game is an vacillating anomaly in a packed market.
The mini-dungeons are extremely repetitive, almost identical in their layout. What's worse, they're shared with other players, meaning that you often move through areas cleared by someone just ahead of you, to find the boss encounter vacant save for a dozen players standing around,
Playing The Elder Scrolls with your friends may sound like fun, but after playing a bit, you might just end up wishing for the sweet release of Oblivion.
The Elder Scrolls Online isn't a terrible game, but its shortcomings make it impossible to recommend, especially considering the diverse options gamers have in the MMO marketplace. It's possible that future updates will make the game worth revisiting, but quite a bit of the core gameplay would need to change for that to be the case.
ESO is missing the spark that got us lost in Skyrim and Morrowind
The Elder Scrolls Online immerses you in its intricate quests and fantasy landscapes, only to undercut its strengths at every turn.
It's tempting to write off subscription MMOs completely, but there are some signs of life in the sector: Final Fantasy 14 is doing quite well, and the forthcoming WildStar is in the final stages of a persuasive charm offensive with the MMO community. But there are only fleeting signs of life in The Elder Scrolls Online itself - and few of them have anything to do with The Elder Scrolls. Maybe this grand project sounded like a good idea in 2007, but now it feels like a leftover obligation: a game no-one really asked for, and a flawed premise from the start.
Personally as an MMO player, I think I'm mostly going to be putting my time in the near future into Final Fantasy XIV and WildStar until that happens.
A few well-designed systems struggle to overcome lifeless presentation. Capable, but ultimately hard to recommend.
By their very nature, MMO's evovle - but as it stands right now, The Elder Scrolls online isn't a worthwhile investment. If you're an Elder Scrolls fan, you might want to give it a try but I do think you may be a teeny bit disappointed. If you're an MMORPG fan, there are some ideas here that you will certainly like.
All in all, The Elder Scrolls Online is a pretty good game. It's not outstanding, and it's not terrible. Once it's less new and the developer has had time to polish and clean it up a bit, it may be a good game, but I think there was so much effort put into making it feel like an Elder Scrolls title and so much effort was placed in checking off every bullet point on the MMO checklist that they forgot to make the game stand out from the crowd. And when you've paid $60 plus a monthly subscription fee for a game, it should.
Under the surface, not enough has changed to the formula that separates The Elder Scrolls Online from existing free or established properties, and I would find it genuinely hard to recommend to anyone seeking an experience outside of a cosy, well presented, box.
Bethesda's big budget, massively multiplayer trip to Tamriel has some great ideas, but struggles with execution in places.