My opinionated review for "The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind."
Disclaimer: I have played all of the TES games in reverse order so my praise for the game is not pure nostalgia.
Gameplay: This game is the pinnacle of the TES saga. Every RPG element is here and works well. Upon startup, you are greeted with a rather bland title screen. What makes it so special is the iconic theme of Morrowind that has appeared by variation in all of the later TES games. Clicking new game will send start a skippable intro video and then the game starts. Your backstory is that you were sent to Vvardenfell under the orders of the emporer. This backstory is vague enough for you to be creative with your story, unlike Fallout 3 or Oblivion. You will be awoken by a Dunmer named "Juib" who then asks you for your name. This is the character creation process. You will then select one of 14 races, a class, and a birthsign. It is short and sweet enough to not be annoying like Skyrim's god-long intro sequence. You will collect your papers and orders from the census offices and then you're off. No intro dungeon. No forced story. Nothing. This is where most people are lost. They are so used to the handholding from the newer TES games. You will have to read your journal for info. So you open it up and it says to deliver a package to some guy in Balmora? Where is Balmora? Players will then proceed to run around and then get killed by a mudcrab because they don't understand the stat based combat. That is the beauty of this game. Nothing will be handed to you except insults for being an outlander. What would you do in this situation? Ask for directions of course. The dialogue system is made so that you can ask a npc about almost everything that your character knows of. Unlike Skyrim's 3 phrases that nobody cares about, you can ask about secrets,rumors,services,work, about the dungeon you just delved, an assassin that attacked you, and even a weird dream that you may have had. It is very in-depth. There is also a disposition system where you can ahave enemies based on race,guild, or even for the fact that you are a criminal! Not everyone will be your friend, just like real life, so stay close to those who you trust. You have a diverse range of skills that are all useful in their own ways. You cannot master them all, so train wisely! Attributes are availiable as well, unlike Skyrim. This game is a true RPG, so don't expect action based combat. If you wonder why you can't hit anyone, it is because you are not properly trained with the current weapon you are using. It makes more sense if you think about it. Some may say it is extremely boring and tedious, but I say it is fair, seeing how you should not be able to pick up a weapon and automatically start killing with it. If you prefer to stay out of conflict, there is a great alchemy system availiable. You have multiple tools to mess with and to this day, I still haven't fully understood the sytem. There are many other systems in the game but I cannot fully explain them all or we'll be here for days.
Art: In order to judge and old game's graphics in a modern day, you must compare other games that came out the same year. Going by that, I say the game looked fairly well. It has a lot to look at and read (tons of books availiable!) and while the animations may be a little unbelievable and robotic, they get the job done. One thing you may notice about Morrowind compared to other RPG's, is how alien it feels. That is the prime charm of Morrowind. Think Japanese culture mixed with Mayan culture. There are not a lot of video settings available, so you may need to download Morrowind Graphics Extender if you want to fully customise the graphics and short view distance and low fov.
Music/Sound: This game has one of the best soundtracks ever. Composed by Jeremy Soule, every track is movie quality and always keeps a great feeling inside. It adds to the atmosphere in a big way. The sound design is great as well, although ambience is rather dead, the music makes up for it. The voice acting is top notch, although sometimes non-existent, or maybe I'm just spoiled by Skyrim.
Entertainment Value: Like any other TES game, you can sink an infinite amount of hours into it. There is always something new to explore in Morrowind, a new dungeon, new npc, new weapon, etc. I consider it the best in the series followed by Skyrim. If you are an RPG fan and you don't care if you have to put in a little work to enjoy what this game has to offer, you will most likely enjoy what Morrowind has to offer. And if you are not pleased with how the game looks or plays, there is an active modding community available that will fix every issue you have.
I love Morrowind to death, so of course this review was biased, but I feel you cannot help and enjoy the land of Morrowind just like me. With Skywind coming soon, we may get another chance to explore this land once again.
Thank you for reading.