The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal
Score: 9.3 / 10
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.
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.
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
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
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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