It has been a while since round 1, so time for round 2. ENVIRONMENT. The world you get to explore. The Link for round one is below, check that out first if you have not already:
Now, this will not be about size, and how much is there to explore, then there would no need for the blog because Skyrim wins that hands down given the amount of dungeons and places you get to delve into and have wandered through compared to the previous two. But it will be more about variation, the difference in areas, the difference from one side of the map to the other. Can you tell the difference from one dungeon to another and the enjoyment each one brings and adds to the overall enjoyment of the game.
As I said in my previous round, this game set the standard in this genre of games. Now it was originally supposed to encumber the entirety of Morrowind itself, not just Vvardenfel, which it ended up doing so. Now in the days of the late nineties, early 2000’s the technology that was available was a lot more limited, so they had to scale back. But, what they delivered was still a diverse sandbox environment to explore.
Massive Dwarven and Daedric ruins to explore. Hell the buildings and area that are on Red Mountain, the end game area, can take many hours if explored fully. Not even mentioning the differences from the city friendly and more rural farmland of the south, to the harsh, destructive Ashland’s to the north. An area that when you have to visit for the first time in the main quest do not be surprised if you get lost, or die a few times before finding the camps and buildings you are looking for. Why, because they are some places in the Ashlands you do not go to until you are near ready to fight the end game content.
Lush, vibrant and beautiful, are three words that probably crossed your mind as soon as pop out of the sewer from your cell in the Oblivion and see the hills surrounding the Imperial City, and to be frank I remember using the same words to describe it. On the outside, on the ground, it looks stunning. You want to just go out and look through the forests, venture to the south to Leyawin and Bravil and see yourself getting closer to the swamps near Black Marsh. The nearer to Skyrim in the north when the hills start to have snow and the mountains come into view when you near Bruma. Now some fans have problems with some of this given some lore content stats that Cyrodil is a jungle region, but it is something I will not take into consideration due to the previous action of Bethesda with the game series. Hell, even ESO’s story line is something that ripped from this game and dumped into a random place on the timeline, seemingly, without explanation, but another blog for that topic.
My one major issue with this games environment is everything is almost streamlined, the churches are the same, the houses are all similar, the dungeons have all virtually the same layout. Except for the very special ones that feature in the main story or in bigger quest lines, everything else is the same layout, the same pattern. Once you visited one or two dungeons, unless you are going to do stories you won’t have seen anything different. The enemies will be roughly the same place, the dungeon boss will be in the same place, the loot is in the same place. But they were all built by one guy, so not that person’s fault when you have to do loads and loads of dungeons in probably a tight time frame to do them in.
Variety, different layout, and keep you on your toes, is what the dungeons in Skyrim do to you in your first playthrough. Dwarven ruins, catacombs and tombs, hell we even get ancestral tombs making an appearance in the Dragonborn DLC. The main environment of Skyrim feels raw, inspiring and harsh to make you want to go out in the world and kick some ass, and given you start the game running from a Dragon you want to kick that things backside for been a pain in the butt and trying to kill, despite the Legion also trying to do that at the same time, two wrongs make a right apparently. My only one thing is that the repetitive quests send you to very similar to dungeons, but not the extent of Oblivions almost everyone is the same.
I say that but one thing this game has on the other two is you can ride a god damn dragon and see the world from above, and it makes me so happy to be able to do that. Now hardened fans will way you can levitate in Morrowind with potions, and yes you could but flying on a dragon and not needing to go into your inventory to ruin the view every few seconds of minutes to top up a potion is much more gratifying and a much better way to allow us to do so, for gods sake its so much cooler to.
Only just but it clinches it for me. Flying in the world on a dragon, visited massive open areas like Blackreach which is stunning and gorgeous and you can so easily get lost in there without a care in the world. The Forgotten Vale in the Dawnguard DLC again is huge and you want to see what it fully has to offer.
Yes, you have the oblivion plane to visit in Oblivion, but again most of the area are the same.
Now Morrowind could have taken this, with its rich diverse land, but it misses out on the fact that Skyrim just has that little more to offer, the quests themselves held within the dungeons. Plus a lot of the dungeons are just that little bit too much to take on within Morrowind that you if you venture off track you will probably die, several times, in fact, did annoy me when I started playing the game the first time round. So this games environment takes a few restarts to get into and can have a steep learning curve.