The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited on the PlayStation 4 can be considered a fantasy role-playing video game. The game was developed by ZeniMax Online Studios and was later released and published by Bethesda Softworks.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited saw a release on the PS4 by the team at ZeniMax Media after a prolonged beta stage which saw users come and go with varying degrees of contentment. Fortunately and unfortunately for the parent company Bethesda it seems that fans expect excellence from every release. With Skyrim still holding court as one of the most beloved games of our generation it would appear that TESO: Tamriel Unlimited had a lot to live up to. The MMORPG platform has been growing on consoles for the past couple of years with Final Fantasy taking the plunge. Now we wanted to see that TESO could follow suit. We picked up a copy for our PS4 and decided to dive in without any hesitations.
To be completely forthright we have to admit that we aren’t ones to typically play MMO style games on consoles. Having a keyboard and mouse at our fingertips has always been the preferred way to go for us. The MMO environment is conducive to being able to multitask, chat, and play all while scrolling through your different quests and such. In full disclosure as well, we’ve also played Tamriel Unlimited back when it was in beta on the PC. So we had a taste of what to expect going into the game. With that being said there were still a few meaningful surprises and we definitely got a different experience than we anticipated. So let’s dive right into the action.
So upon booting up Tamriel Unlimited we found that there were a few rather striking observations to be made. The first observation we made was that the game was beautiful. Most MMOs sacrifice their technical prowess in order to fit more data seamlessly into the online world. This was not so. What we had was a title that was easily as pretty as vanilla Skyrim and one that emulated the look of the aforementioned title almost to a T. This could be seen as lazy by some gamers but we really appreciated the commitment to the prior title and the loyalty to the look of the series. It would have been easy to change things up and make them more bland and nobody would say anything due to altered MMO expectations.
Alright, next on our list of observations was the fact that the game map was way bigger than we had thought it would be. TESO looks huge in the overworld map and feels even bigger once you are in it. Many gamers were hoping for a true sandbox, open world experience but that isn’t quite the case here. Instead the game is sectioned off into different zones, similar to Guild Wars or Perfect World. There are a ton of instanced zones where players are layered so you aren’t always seeing everyone around you. This creates a more seamless experience that isn’t prone to lagging. During our week with the game we never had stuttering or frame dropping issues, thankfully.
It is clear that the developers wanted to create an experience that was socially inclined and they went a long ways toward accomplishing this goal, though with some intermittent results. The first way that we appreciate the social merging was the group quests and adventures that you could go on. While this is fairly standard fare for most MMOs it feels refreshing in the world of the Elder Scrolls. As you journey across the huge map you will run into several scenarios where you can group right into quests where you are standing and venture forward on some epic adventure.
The second way that ZeniMax Media implemented social interaction was sort of lukewarm, in our opinion. Voice chatting is prominent in Tamriel Unlimited and that in and of itself isn’t a problem. However, you have to listen to the voices of any chatters in your immediate proximity, no ifs and or buts about it. This means that you’ll have to listen to trolls or gamers who blare music through their headphones. It’s annoying to be so abruptly taken out of the immersive world of Tamriel by gamers who are either ignorant or uncaring of the atmosphere that the game is trying to create. Think of your typical Call of Duty chatter now consider being forced to listen to them as long as they are within your zone. It’s a bit frustrating. But such is life.
Voice chatting isn’t all bad, of course, and it becomes increasingly important the longer you play the game. Without a keyboard to chat with other users you have to get used to using your voice. When you go on dungeon runs in places like Riften or Mournhold you will have to be able to communicate in order to effectively clear them out. These dungeons will put you in random groups and you will have to establish a game plan. This was a great way to invoke spontaneous friendships that would last after the dungeon and it allowed for some pretty entertaining moments in the dungeon. We also loved communicating with people in the PVP zones of Cyrodil. Leading your raiding party toward a group of enemies and whispering battle plans over the mic was just too much fun.
On the computer we have found that most MMOs get turned into games where math is focused on more than mythology and action. Gamers focus on getting to end game content, maxing out on the best acceptable armor, and then dealing the maximum amount of damage they can. It’s pretty hardcore to play MMOs on the PC. On the PS4 the game feels more casual and full of 'normal gamers'. So instead of running into DPS snobs you are instead playing the game with people who actually just want to enjoy it. While the title is clunky at times, the lack of hotkey functionality annoys us, there is still plenty to like here. We found Tamriel Unlimited to be one of the more convincing MMO entries on the market and definitely worth a play for RPG fans.