RATING 8 OUT OF 10
WEBSITE : www.morroblivion.com
Morrowind has been known as one of the greatest RPG games of all time. However, Morrowind was not my introduction to the Elder Scrolls series. Whereas Oblivion marked my personal entry into the Elder scrolls saga. And now in 2012, Skyrim would be the gateway into the Elder Scrolls for many players.
Despite being released in 2002 (Now over 10 years old), there are many adoring fans who have claim that Morrowind is superior to its succeeding titles like Oblivion and Skyrim. Having a more expansive world with a greater complexity in quest. Along with more factions and guilds to join and a greater level of detail with the Magic system.
Having a little trouble stomaching the dated graphics, I began to play Morrowind using the Morrowind Overhaul pack. (See the previous article for the Morrowind Overhaul Review here). Which takes the original Morrowind engine and enhances the graphics and ambient sounds. Utilizing the best of the best in graphics MOD (Short for Modification, modules which allows customization of the game) upgrades for Morrowind.
For the most part I was pleased with the overall results. As the Overhaul pack did indeed increase the caliber of graphics, making it closer to the standards in 2012. However, after hours of gameplay there were still some areas which I had a hard time adjusting to. Such as not being clear where the quest objective was, as there were no Map Markers in Morrowind (Which were handy tools in both Oblivion and Skyrim).
I decided, while I do enjoy the Morrowind Overhaul, it was worthwhile to check out other options. And I stumbled upon an upgrade known as Morroblivion. Morroblivion basically runs the game of Morrowind using the Oblivion engine. Which as a result modernizes the graphics, combat and user interface.
In the time that I have been playing Morroblivion, I have thoroughly enjoyed each hour. And actually prefer it when I compare it to the Morrowind Overhaul. However, that is a matter of personal preference. My hypothesis is those whom have played Morrowind before may prefer the Overhaul kit to Morroblivion. Since they have already become acclimatized to the Morrowind interface. Plus the feeling of Nostalgia most likely carries its own momentum. However, for players like myself who have entered into the Elder Scrolls with Oblivion or Skyrim may in fact prefer Morroblivion.
Some of the advantages of Morroblivion versus the Morrowind Overhaul include :
- Improved Graphics for Character Models, Armour and Indoor Scenes : The Morrowind Overhaul mainly improves the graphics in the Outdoor scenes. Broadening the field of distance which you can view the landscape in the background. And providing greater detail in the textures of the outdoor Landscape. The Morrowind Overhaul is even superior in its outdoor scene graphics when compared to Vanilla Oblivion. However, a fair number of character models still look awkard. Looking two dimensional and the worse type of “Ectomorph” body types. Giving the appearance that they always seem to be shrugging. As a result Armour looks awkward on some character models. Which is often the fun of looting is you get to admire and wear your new armour. Morroblivion uses the Oblivion graphics engine. So even though Oblivion had been released in 2006, it still holds its own in graphics in the year 2012.
- Improved Combat : There is no way to sugar coat it. Morrowind combat absolutely sucks! Where in the early stages you’d swing at your opponent 20 times and only 1 hit may connect. And combat doesn’t provide much sophistication beyond button mashing. While Skyrim and Oblivion combat isn’t up to par with games like Kingdoms of Amalur or Dark Souls, it is still relatively entertaining giving the ‘illusion’ of Arcade action. Combat in Morroblivion is hands down way more fun utilizing the Oblivion engine. This aspect is highlighted even more by the fact so much of Morrowind revolves around combat.
- Improved character movements : One of the frustrations I have with the Morrowind Overhaul is the awkwardness of character movements. Often I would get stuck behind a door while opening it. Or having an NPC blocking my way which I can’t seem to push through. Morroblivion is better in that regard that with the Oblivion engine you can push NPCs that are blocking you and its overall easier to maneuver.
- Use of Map markers : The Morrowind Overhaul is a ‘hardcore’ RPG experience. When you go on a quest you have to pay attention to the directions the Quest giver provided. And think your way through in finding the locations. Admittedly, I am simply lazy and don’t like to think that hard of where the destination of my quest are. In Oblivion and Skyrim pointers are provided showing you exactly where to go. Personally, this is what I have been brought up on, so its what I like
- Fast Travel : In Oblivion and Skyrim, if you have been to a location it is easy to return. You can simply bring up the map and click on the location to return to it. In the Morrowind Overhaul, this is not the case. You have to travel everywhere manually regardless if you have been there or not in the past. At best you can be transferred to a relatively close location using the Silt Strider service or being Teleported. However, in the Morrowind Overhaul allot of walking is required as Fast travel is not an option.
- Physics : Morrowind Overhaul lacks a physics engine. Therefore when you kill opponents they don’t tumble down the hill. Morroblivion gives a better illusion of reality with characters adhere to some laws of physics.
- Daily routines : In the Morrowind Overhaul shopkeepers are ready to service you 24/7. And most characters seem to stay put in one place all day long. With Morroblivion, a good portion of characters move around throughout the day adhering to a daily routine. And close the shops at night, providing a greater sense of realism.
There are numerous other advantages of Morroblivion compared to the Morrowind Overhaul. Such as a more sophisticated Artificial Intelligence and a simplified conversation system. However, it really comes down to what are the advantages over Morrowind versus Oblivion. And chances are if you enjoyed Oblivion more than Morrowind, than you will enjoy Morroblivion more than the Morrowind Overhaul.
In terms of playability, Morroblivion is still considered in its beta stages. However, good majority of its quest are playable. There are some bugs and occasional crashes. But is still a great piece of work, considering this was made from user community donating their time for free. Overall rating for playability would be 7 out of 10. And viewed in the context of this not being a ‘professional’ released game it’s a 10 out of 10 in its production values.
At the very least, Morroblivion could be considered a Massive expansion pack for Oblivion (Though that would be a very modest statement). Even larger than professionally released DLC from Bethesda like Shivering Isles and Knights of the Nine. And even more in depth than user created ones DLCS like Elsweyr, since you have a full complement of quest (Unlike Elsweyr).
You can either start the game in Morrowind and make a character from Scratch. Or you can use your experienced character in Oblivion and travel back and forth from Cyrodiil and Vvanderfell.
INSTALLATION OF MORROBLIVION
The Installation process was relatively straightforward if you are familiar with Modding for Oblivion. It is required that you own a copy of both Oblivion Game of the Year edition (With Shivering Isles) and Morrowind (Including Tribunal and Bloodmoon Expansions). The only complications I had was that I since I already had a great deal of Mods installed with Oblivion, I had to put the Morrowind Mods early in the Load Order of my Oblivion Mod Manager.
CONCLUSION OF WHY TO PLAY MORROBLIVION
Morroblivion is a fantastic piece of work and highly underated. If you have not played Morrowind before, it can add hundreds of hours of gameplay to your Oblivion gameplay experience. If you played Morrowind before and prefer it over Oblivion, the Morrowind Overhaul is probably a better experience for you.
Yet, if you have played more recent elder scrolls games like Oblivion or Skyrim, you most likely have gotton used to some luxuries available to you like Fast travel and better combat. So the Morroblivion is probably a better bet.
Both Morrowind remakes are worth exploring and its probably best to play each one if you have time. Considering that Morrowind is such a massive game, you can most likely create different characters in the varying versions that follow different paths, factions and guilds. Ie. Creating a Mage character in the Morrowind Overhaul version and receiving the full benefits of the magic system. And a fighter / thief character in the Morroblivion to enjoy the enhanced combat / stealth system. It’s all a question of preference, however its great having a number of options open in sharing this timeless classic with future generations.