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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Role-Playing

 

Publisher

Bethesda

 

Developer

Bethesda

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q3 2003

 

 

- Werewolves are so cool

- Some of the best “role-playing” available in any computer RPG

- New quest well integrated into main game

 

 

- New adventure low on the challenge meter

- New plot not particularly exciting or original

 

 

Review: Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC)

Review: Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal (PC)

Review: Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Xbox)

 

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The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon

Score: 8.3/10

 

The workhorses at Bethesda Softworks are back again with a second expansion to the wildly popular Morrowind RPG.  Morrowind: Bloodmoon expands the original with a completely new island, roughly twenty hours of gameplay, new weapons, creatures, and spells.  The big selling point of Bloodmoon, however, is the ability to fight against and play as a werewolf.  Either through being bitten in the course of combat with a werewolf and catching lycanthropy or through following the quest and choosing to become a werewolf (a necessity if the character you are playing is immune to disease), players can become powerful man-wolves and obtain new powers and limitations, as well as a very focused and dramatic role-playing experience.

bloodmoon-1.jpg (24033 bytes)   bloodmoon-2.jpg (12369 bytes)   bloodmoon-3.jpg (23270 bytes)

Like the first Morrowind expansion, Tribunal, Bloodmoon integrates seamlessly into the original adventure.  In fact, finding a way in to the new adventure is easier than it was in Tribunal.  All a player needs to do is ask any NPC (Non-player character, for the newbies out there) about recent rumors and the new quest is activated.  Finding a way to the new island is just as simple as arranging transportation to any of the original locales. 

The difficulty level of the new quest is such that it is impossible to complete it with a newly generated character without first spending some time in the wide world of Morrowind gaining experience and beefing up the character’s abilities and items.  Conversely, the game is a bit on the easy side if players start with high level characters that have completed the original game and the Tribunal expansion with all the items and abilities garnered there.  The best way to enjoy this expansion would probably be to start a new character and play around in Morrowind proper long enough to reach level 19 or 20 before going on to the new module.  For purposes of total disclosure, I played Bloodmoon with a maxed-out character left over from my reviews of the original game and Tribunal and I didn’t die once (or even come close) while a normal character in Bloodmoon.  After becoming a werewolf, things became a bit trickier, but s the game is still pretty low on challenge for experienced players or characters.  However, it is not the challenge that players are likely to remember about the Bloodmoon experience—it is, instead, the werewolves themselves, which bring with them some of the best pure role-playing I’ve had in years.

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Werewolves are powerful beasts that, though unable to hold weapons or use magic, can rip through even the most powerful NPC’s and monster with tooth and claw alone.  The leaping ability of the werewolves has to be seen to be believed and is especially effective visually while in first-person mode.  On top of their limitations on using items, werewolves come equipped with a thirst for blood that must be satiated each night.  That need brings on the danger of being caught 

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be city guard or, worse yet, seen changing into a beast by a local.  Lots of pen-and-paper RPG enthusiasts bemoan the lack of real role-playing in computer RPG’s.  Those detractors need to look no farther than Bloodmoon to see how computer RPG’s can sometimes get everything right as far as a true “role-playing” feel goes.  Playing as a werewolf has marvelous emotional impact and forces players to play the role in a deeper, more thoughtful way than most games of its kind.  Morrowind was already a marvelous system; Bloodmoon just makes it deeper and more visceral.

The new quest in Morrowind seems a bit perfunctory.  It is possible this expansion exists simply to get werewolves into the game and introduce a handful of new elements.  As such, maybe Bloodmoon could have been down as a free, or low cost, download, but the added value of the werewolf alone make the twenty dollar cost seem like a bargain.

Tolen Dante

August 13, 2003

 

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