The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002)

Info

Genre Period Developer Publisher Theme
RPG, Action adventure, Open world, Sandbox Modern (2001 -2010) Bethesda Bethesda Medieval, Fantasy, Magic

Once in a while, in the world of games, arrives such exceptional products like TES III: Morrowind. This game can be considered near perfect, and one of the most complete packages you will ever come across as far as games are concerned. It is a hardcore RPG, with solid combat system, deep levels of immersion, full freedom of choices, vast open world, sandbox gameplay, complex customization, crafting, rich lore, and a deep dark mystifying story of corruption and power among other attractions and features. Although pretty old, you get fantastic mods to improve your graphical experience. In the game, you start as a nobody – a prisoner sent to the island of Vvardenfell in the province of Morrowind. Your task is to unearth the mysterious cause of the blight that is affecting the island and its creatures, and various related problems, of which some are political in nature. You start from the bottom and slowly work your way up one or the other of the ruling houses in the island, while gathering experience by working for the various guilds. Soon you start uncovering the destiny you have been entrusted to fulfill, as you come to terms with your growing power and influence, and you discover the freedom you have to forge the destiny of the island and its people. And all this in the surreal and unique natural setting of Morrowind, with its giant mushrooms and cliff racers. The island is as dangerous as beautiful it looks, with all types of nasty monsters lurking around. Other types of enemies include bandits, smugglers, rogue mages, daedra, and members of rival houses, as well as guards if you go on a criminal spree! Just buy this game and enjoy.

Game Assessment

Complexity Matrix 

Complexity Parameters Values (0, 0.5, 1)
Control Scheme 0: Simple
Complexity 1: Complex (inventory, trading items, character creation, factions)
Story 1: There is a story (a very good one)
Lore 1: World of Elder Scrolls
Immersion 1: Very immersive roleplay
Difficulty 0.5: Moderate
Learning Curve 1: Very steep
Total Score 5.5/7: Heavyweight game 

Satisfaction Matrix

Needs Satisfaction Score (0-3)
Analytical 3: Well met (map reading, trading, puzzles, character alignment, character creation, choices, factions, etc.)
Creative 2: Moderately met (environmental interaction, spell-crafting, alchemy, base building)
Mastery 3: Well met
Destructive 2: Moderately met
Entertainment 3: Well met
Pace 2: Moderately met
Horror 2: Moderately met
Total Score 17/21: Exceptional Game

Game Review

TL;DR Arguably, the best ever hardcore action-adventure RPG to date, also one of the most immersive. An absolute must have for hardcore RPG fans.

Pros

  • Weapons, spells, alchemy, and loot
  • Robust progression system
  • Hardcore RPG features
  • Immersive
  • Good story
  • Vast open world
  • High level of freedom

Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Combat control scheme needs to get used to
  • Lack of in-game guidance

Game completed. DLCs in progress.

Game-time 244 hrs.

Purpose – Entertainment, Challenge, and Study

Gameplay – Gameplay is very solid. Hardcore RPG elements, unforgiving, and tight. You must save frequently, and in different slots in order to brave the difficulties as well as the occasional bugs.

Graphics – Good for its time but will feel too crude for today’s standards, hence there are excellent mods, MGSO being one of the most stable packages.

Performance – Good.

Entertainment – Very good story. Deep sense of foreboding, darkness, power, corruption, mystery, and redemption.

Plot (if applicable) –Good plot.

Replay value – Immense replay value. Innumerable choices regarding character creation, joining of guilds, joining of factions, character growth, etc. Every time you play, your experience will be different, almost like a new game altogether.

Immersion – Immersive RPG. Day-night cycles and weather. NPC routines. Interactive environment and objects. Basebuilding. Spell-crafting, alchemy and a lot more to discover as well as plethora of mods to enhance your immersion experience.

Overall it is a solid, meaty, and memorable experience which you will cherish for a long time. Possibly, it will be the best game you ever played. For me it is, till date.

Condemned: Criminal Origins (2005)

Info

Genre Period Developer Publisher Theme
Action, FPS, Horror Modern (2001-2010) Monolith Sega, Warner Brothers Horror, Supernatural, Urban, Crime, Detective

Condemned: Criminal Origins is a decent first person action horror game. Good gameplay, paranoia inducing immersive environment, and good level design are its positives. A weak story and a weaker climax are its negatives. You play the role of an FBI investigator working on cases of several serial killers operating in your city. During an investigation at a crime scene, the perpetrator shoots your colleagues with your gun and leaves you unconscious. By the time you come to senses, you have become a suspect yourself. Now you have to search for clues and follow the tracks of the killer to clear your name. Enemies are substance abusing individuals and addicts, and in some cases demonic creatures. Focus is on melee combat. Guns and ammo are rare. Various types of melee weapons can be collected from the environment. If you like atmospheric horror games with plenty of jump scares, then this is for you.

Game Assessment

Complexity Matrix 

Complexity Parameters Values (0, 0.5, 1)
Control Scheme 0: Easy
Complexity 0: Simple
Story 1: There is a story
Lore 0
Immersion 0.5: Identity and immersion via environment and GUI
Difficulty 0: Low
Learning Curve 0: Easy
Total Score 1.5/7: Lightweight game 

Satisfaction Matrix

Needs Satisfaction Score (0-3)
Analytical 0: Not met
Creative 0: Not met
Mastery 3: Well met
Destructive 2: Moderately met
Entertainment 1: Slightly met
Pace 3: Well met
Horror 2: Moderately met
Total Score 11/21: Good Game

Game Review

TL;DR An enjoyable first person action horror game with a weak storyline.

Pros

  • Robust gameplay
  • Melee combat
  • Immersive scary atmosphere

Cons

  • Weak storyline

Game completed.

Game-time 19 hrs.

Purpose – Excitement, Entertainment

Gameplay – Standard gameplay. Emphasis is on melee combat. Combat is somewhat realistic. Ammo for firearms is scarce.

Graphics – Standard for its time.

Performance – Not really the best optimization around, but not too bad either.

Entertainment – Good amount of paranoia type horror.

Plot (if applicable) – The story is weak and presentation is flawed.

Replay value – Lot of collectibles which may not be easy to acquire in one single playthrough. Also some achievements which are not possible to obtain in one playthrough.

Immersion – Decent level of immersion.

Overall-  A satisfying experience with a weak climax.