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Platform

PC

 

Genre

RPG

 

Publisher

Bethesda

 

Developer

Bethesda

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2002

 

 

- New journal system

- Great plot

- Cool new creatures to kill

 

 

- Ending a bit of a let down

 

 

Review: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC)

Review: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (XBox)
Review: Diablo II: Lord of Destruction (PC)

 

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The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal

Score: 9.3 / 10

 

If any game could have gone without an official expansion, it is Morrowind.  The basic Morrowind game is huge if one only follows the main quest.  Adding in the side-quests makes the game clock in at around 100 hours.  Additionally, hundreds of quality, user-created modules are floating around for free on the Internet, making getting over a thousand hours of play out of just one purchase possible.  Still, given the quality of the original game, I couldnít wait to get my hands on the first official expansion: The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal.  Iím happy to say that it does not disappoint.  In fact, assuming players have left their high level characters saved on their hard drives, Tribunal actually improves on the gameplay of the original, making it well worth the purchase price.  

 

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The way Tribunal is integrated into the main Morrowind game is smooth and fascinating.  The first time you rest after installing the expansion, your character is the victim of an assassination attempt.  When you report the attack to the first Imperial Guard you encounter, you are informed that the assassin was likely a member of the Dark Brotherhood.  You are also given the name of a person to see who knows about the Brotherhood.  After talking to that informant, you are given a way to open up the new area where the adventure takes place.  It is possible to switch back and forth between the Tribunal quest and the main Morrowind quest if the player hasnít finish elements of that before he or she installs the expansion.  Possible, but not recommended.

 

Any player who hasnít completed the main game, or at least played a significant portion of it in order to ďlevel-upĒ his or her character, will find the Tribunal quest nearly impossible to complete.  Tribunal is much harder than the original, even when tackled with high-level characters.  If you played only a few sections of Morrowind before growing tired of it, be prepared to spend some time leveling up your character in the original game before attacking the expansion.

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The above scenario is certainly possible as I talked to many gamers after my review of the original game appeared who were confused by the praise that I and most other reviewers gave the game.  They felt the game was too non-linear, too confusing.  Many said they felt lost walking around the huge world of Morrowind hoping to stumble on to what they needed to advance their quest.  Those people will likely appreciate Tribunal.  It is completely linear and takes place in 

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a much smaller area.  Because of that, Tribunal feels like a tighter, more controlled game than its mother-code.  Though I liked the freedom of Morrowind, I found that I enjoyed how Tribunal constantly nudged me along the main quest without the distraction of side quests.  

 

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The other element that makes this expansion stand out next to the original is its story.  Morrowind had an interesting and epic story, but I spent a lot of time consulting the guide Bethesda sent along with the game just to keep the story straight.  It was complex and had too many players on the stage.  More importantly, I never felt my character was truly involved in the drama.  Tribunal has a tighter, albeit much less epic, story, and, from the start, it feels personal.  Thereís nothing like being awakened in the night with an assassinís blade against your throat for focusing oneís attention.

 

The graphics and sound of Tribunal are identical to the main game, which means Tribunal looks and sounds great.  Even after beating the original, the gameís engine still continues to stun me.  The gameís interface is improved however by a more feature-rich, more configurable journal feature.  My favorite part of the new system is that it allows players to click anywhere on the map and make notes about the adventure.  These note points appear any time the map is activated, making it easy to leave plot breadcrumbs to lead you through the adventure.

Not including leveling-up weaker characters, Tribunal should provide between 20 and 30 new hours of play time.  All of that time is filled with action and mystery on par with the original game and any other role-playing game currently on the market.  Morrowind: Tribunal is highly recommended.

 

- Tolen Dante

(January 26, 2003)

 

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