The Elder Scrolls Online

  • Online Co-Op: 4 Players
  • + Co-Op Campaign
The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited Impressions
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The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited Impressions

Khajiit, Daedra, and... Kanye?

Early last year, we checked out the PC version of The Elder Scrolls Online, the first MMO set in the Elder Scrolls universe and came away quite pleased. While a console version was originally supposed to launch shortly after the PC version of ESO, it got pushed out quite a ways, and eventually Bethesda announced that the console version would arrive concurrent with a subscription-less update of the game known as Tamriel Unlimited. Similar to how Guild Wars has worked, Tamriel Unlimited gives you all of the game's content in return for purchasing the retail box.

The core game remains the same. The Daedric Prince Molag Bal is influencing all sorts of evil in Tamriel, and you need to put an end to it. Other than the addition of the standard ability bar, ESO plays remarkably close to a standard Elder Scrolls game. You can play in either first or third person and explore to your heart's content. Many of the quests are well-written and are far more interesting than what you'd normally find in other MMOs.

Co-op is proximity-based, as most MMOs are these days, and you can party with up to three other people if you'd like to roll with a posse. By default, voice chat is on, and there's proximity feature, so when you're wandering high population areas, be warned. Very early on I encountered an elf blasting Kanye out in the middle of Daggerfall. While it inspired me to get out there and wreck some monsters, I made sure to turn that particular feature off.

Tamriel Unlimited has added microtransactions in the form of the Crown Store, which allows you to buy consumable items, expand your crafting abilities, or purchase DLC, such as upgrading to the Imperial Edition, or smaller things like companion pets or alternate mounts. A purchase of the game gives you a small allotment of in-game currency, or you can buy more if you choose.

You also have the option of paying the recurring 15 dollar subscription fee to gain access to ESO Plus, which grants all of the larger DLC packages, a boost to XP gained, and a monthly allotment of Crowns to use in the store, which is conveniently priced to match just buying 15 dollars worth of Crowns in the first place. I'd probably recommend going the ESO Plus route if you get heavily invested, but it's nice to have the choice.

As far as the console port goes, the game looks about on par with the PC version, though crowded social spaces have a tendency to bring the framerate down pretty substantially. When out in the world, however, the game runs remarkably smooth. Since the game was originally designed around having a console version, the number of abilities you can have active at once maps very well to a controller; there's no annoying "hold a shoulder button to access these other 10 abilities" feature to deal with.

We don't score MMOs around these parts, but I do recommend ESO to anybody who is looking for a new open world to explore with friends. Kanye-broadcasting elves aside, it's a solid experience, and having buddies around to help knock off challenging quests from time to time is a welcome addition to the Elder Scrolls experience.