Starfield by Bethesda -- PC and Xbox exclusive -- 11-11-22

Yeah, I would say all 3 have different strengths and weaknesses. I enjoyed all 3 in different ways.

Morrowind:

Strengths:

  • Dope ass map that came with it. So good.
  • I love the systems. How you could create and combine spell effects. Made me feel like I was hacking the game systems and breaking them.
  • Exploration was incredible. Such a strange wonderful landscape.

Weaknesses:

  • Terrible combat. Possibly the least satisfying first person melee combat in any game I’ve ever played. Limp press left mouse button to swing sword, then hold, then let go of left mouse button. Yuck.
  • After you “hack the game systems” (which felt awesome), the game was super easy, barely an inconvenience. So easy that I got bored. So after about 23 hours or so of gameplay, I felt like there was no challenge left in the game at all, and I stopped playing because even the exploration started feeling meaningless since nothing pushed back at me, nothing was dangerous anymore.

Oblivion

Strengths:

  • Much better melee combat than Morrowind on Xbox 360, could block with the shield on left trigger, and swing sword with the right trigger. When the enemy banked into your shield blocking arm you felt it through the controller. Satisfying. (PC version still had the limp mouse button interface for melee. Lame.)
  • Even though the world exploration had you looking at a more generic fantasy landscape than Morrowind, they had a lot of unique things to find throughout the world. There was a quest where you could get lost inside a painting. There was a quest in which you got trapped inside a frozen landscape looking for bigfoot. There was all these Oblivion gates that opened up that basically took you to a hellscape. There were so many unique places to go, I felt it made up for the more generic landscape. You never knew where you would find the next unique quest that could take you to some kind acid trip or other thing.
  • As long as you didn’t “hack the system” this time by building a chameleon suit for yourself, the combat stayed challenging for much longer than Morrowind.

Weaknesses

  • Generic landscape, no unique WTF looking landscapes and cities like Morrowind.
  • Could make a chameleon suit that broke the game systems and made you invincible pretty much
  • The level scaling made it so that whatever you fought kind of was a similar level to you, which gave a feeling that you never really grew stronger, even though you did.
  • Eventually you gained enough equipment through quests that just like with Morrowind, you were strong enough to beat anything, and exploration felt meaningless again. But it happened pretty late in the game this time.
  • It felt more limiting than even Morrowind that you had do something in order to improve it. So you had to constantly run and jump everywhere to improve athletics, etc.
  • Unlike Morrowind, the world was more broken up, and you couldn’t fly, you couldn’t experiment with spells to the same extent.

Skyrim

Strengths:

  • Much improved melee combat on the controller than even Oblivion. You could now do power attacks and a couple of other moves that improved on the controller melee combat system of Oblivion. Plus you could use the excellent controller controls even on PC. (Still included support for limp mousebutton melee combat).
  • New system where you leveled up, you didn’t have to only improve the things you had been doing, could improve other skills. Could get perks. Made for much more interesting leveling.
  • Hard difficulty was really well balanced. I played for over 120 hours, longer than Oblivion. I only saw 60% of the world, maybe less, and it was still challenging.
  • Much better scaling system so that it only scaled monsters when you first went to an area. So you could still have monsters that were very weak to you later, or monsters that were really strong, and yet, it was still an open world where you could go anywhere.
  • Exploration excellent as usual, with a combination of interesting landscapes like in Morrowind, and some unique quest places like in Oblivion

Weaknesses:

  • Like the other two, still had weak animations and character looks and faces and such.
  • Landscape wasn’t as interesting as Morrowind, unique places weren’t as unique as Oblivion’s quests.
  • Yes, game systems were even better, and you couldn’t break the game systems but that also meant that it felt less thrilling.

I personally would love to explore Morrowind with Skyrim’s systems, if that’s possible. I’m not sure if that’s possible all around. I remember exploring some places in Morrowind using a levitation spell and extended levitation to get into some places where you couldn’t go on foot.

But I could totally see how Oblivion could be someone’s favorite. Or Morrowind. Or Skyrim.

Fair enough. And wonderful synopsis!

Custom-creating spells was one of my absolute favorite parts of Morrowind. And oh, man…that exploration. Oblivion felt like a step backwards on both of those counts, to me. And hell yes to flying.

Skyrim is an absolute masterpiece, and the ability to have a different weapon/spell/shield in each hand is just…really effective and can be a lot of fun, especially for spellcasting.

Still miss custom spells, but I deal.

Is it a spaceship game? Obviously it’s going to have a bigger scope, but could it not easily be along the lines of Outer Worlds, or for that matter Mass Effect, where the spaceship is basically a fast travel hub between planets?

Okay, touche. That’s a very valid point. And I suppose that jives quite well with “Skyrim in space.” So maybe my assumption was way off-base.

I’m going back to the information Alistair found on RPS -

It’s true that this may be background info. The Normandy also had weapons that were never used outside of a cutscene. But to have those kind of details at this stage of discussion might mean they’re a bit more than window dressing.

HORSE ARMOR, CONFIRMED!!!

The main story. I f’n hated it. The constantly appearing things to Oblivion, the very similar Oblivion instance maps for those … just annoying. Skyrim peppered things with the Divines much better in my opinion. And lets be frank, the dragons were simply amazing and still are to be honest. Nothing made me feel like I’m knee deep in a high fantasy RPG than when I had to run out and actually battle a dragon (after the first initial scenes anyway.) It felt so crazy. The fights against liches, also crazy.

That’s the only thing that drew my attention in this pointless teaser. My first thought was: I wonder how old that bread is. Then, there’s a sandwich shop nearby?

I don’t believe Bethesda can make a truly hard core RPG. Ever since Oblivion they’ve watered things down a bit more with each game.

I can only hope it’s at least on par with Skyrim, which was no hard-core RPG but still one of the most entertaining games of all time for me and an improvement over Oblivion. Still, Morrowind was the best overall experience of the three, even with the poor combat system.

Well technically there is an expansion that takes you to Morrowind in Skyrim, or rather the island north of it which, from the Morrowind Bloodmoon expansion…happens to be very similar to Skyrim (oops!)

If it is Fallout 4-ish, I won’t be unhappy, as I played that to death, not as much as I did Skyrim, but a lot. Loved the combat and exploration and stuff, didn’t give one hoot about the story or RPG-ish stuff. I would of course love a “real” RPG layer with that sort of exploration and combat, but if all we get is Fallout 4 in Spaaaaaaace, I’d be ok with that.

I have to ask what you mean here because we’ve played Bethesda games for like … ever … here and they are known for their style, not changing it. But when I hear, “hard-core,” I wonder what you mean. Dark Souls like? More complex leveling? More complex social or faction systems?

The one of the above that annoys me to no end is that RPG’s need to be more like Dark Souls. The sole game that has led a sub-genre of, to me, annoyance. Never while growing up did I ever play an RPG where repeated death loops was a game mechanic. Never did I, happily, play a game where repeated death and starting again was a system mechanic built into the heart of a game. I know we’re just sharing personal opinions here but no, I do NOT want that in a Bethesda game and do NOT hope that’s what, “Hard-core,” might mean, but I truly don’t know. I don’t mind hard combat or like in the case of Skyrim, difficulties that amped the HP and difficulty of enemies. But most surely I don’t want a forehead bashing type of game.

Again, hard-core is a generic term so it’s hard to know which parts you mean. I think you might mean just generally harder or more realistic, in which case I agree completely and we’ve had long discussions in the Skyrim thread about adding more realism to it via mods.

Probably my grandest hope here is that they leave this game open and provide tools for modders. They truly are what take a good game to greatness in many cases.

I think the main hardcore elements of Oblivion were the lack of quest/map hand holding, less details on skills/stats/mechanics(the player is supposed to ‘discover’ some of them) and generally harder combat.

As for the need to be like Dark Souls, it’s just what’s cool nowadays, part of a cycle similar to what happens in the fashion industry. You played plenty of games based on death loops (anything from Mario to Ninja Gaiden), it’s just that in the 90s the loop was limited by the number of lives.

Though Planescape: Torment had that very requirement for some quests.

It isn’t like they cannot. It’s that they don’t want to.

Fantasy, for us, is a knight on horseback running around and killing things
-Todd Howard

I really do not need hardcore RPG in my Bethesda games. Some deeper RPG mechanics, sure, but please don’t make it harder gain. I need my qestmarkers and some hand holding. I do not have the time and patience for Morrowind anymore. I thinks thats why I love Skyrim so much. Questmarkers, sure, but a lot of things you can just discover just by walking close.

Star Citizen vindicated!

Well not having quest markers really depends on the game. Something like Dark Souls and Control manage because there is always clear paths of progression. With more open games it is a bit tricky. Playing Elex now and yeah, no way I am running around a death swamp forever trying to eye spot herbs in the fog: Quest objective icons turn on!