Editorials & Opinion / PC Gaming / Xbox 360

Things I Missed Yesterday: The Elder Scrolls Online and Grand Theft Auto V

I had to work all day yesterday, and after that I went to a James Bond movie marathon.  It happened to be a pretty big Thursday for two games I am a little curious about, so I wanted to share a few reactions:

Yesterday, Zenimax released an introduction video for their new MMO title based on The Elder Scrolls series game universe.  I’ve written a little bit about this game before, particularly the announcement that it will bring back public dungeons. Overall though, as a huge fan of the Elder Scrolls series, this game has done little to peak my interests beyond being more Elder Scrolls world exploration and this new preview hasn’t done much to change that.

It is a strange game to look at.  The art direction from previous Elder Scrolls games is definitely there.  I recommend the Nordic armor from Skyrim, the Ordinator armor from Morrowind, and some of the setting details from Oblivion.  However, it has a slight tinge of the heroic-style more heavily utilized in World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic that make it seem a little too uncanny and different.

Often, I found myself wandering if this was a new Neverwinter Nights game (specifically the dungeon area with the spider boss, since it seemed Underdark-esque) or another console Everquest game.  That is until you spot something that looks like an Argonian or you see Nords running around in the snow with their claymores.  Only then are you really reminded that it is supposed to be the Elder Scrolls and only then do you get this strange uncanny feeling like something just isn’t quite right.  The game doesn’t look bad, it just don’t look quite like Elder Scrolls to me.

As far as the gameplay, we still don’t know enough to make any real judgment.  The video does little to go into any particular detail to how combat works.  It definitely looks like MMO combat, but that could largely be because developers make their trailers with some horrible idea of cinema in mind.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t typically stand still and exchange blows even in PvE. (Nor do I bow to NPCs, hold the line for some self-appointed jack ass do a /point command, or fight one person at a time in the middle of a siege.)

Also over the course of yesterday, every major gaming news site that I follow decided to remind me that size matters,  at least if that size is what Rockstar is saying the new Grand Theft Auto game.  Personally, I imagine they are over compensating a little bit.  But if they aren’t, and the size really is THAT BIG, then it is too much.  No gamer can take anything that large.

The rest of the details were sparse, though it is nice to hear anything at all.  Grand Theft Auto V will have three protagonists.  Each of them continue their lives while you are off playing the other, so this is definitely a new direction for the series. One of which I think will suit the game far better than having a single narrative line.

After all, a sprawling city has a million stories to tell and we can only live out our Scarface dreams a few times before we want something else.  With a more anthology approach, Rockstar can bring their city to life from a number of different angles, and show lives of crime on a variety of levels.

However, this sounds like yet another really long game.  If the game world really is bigger than their last few games combined, if it really has three seemingly different and equally worthwhile stories to tell, and still brings in more dynamic content systems from games like Red Dead Redemption, then this could easily be another 100+ hour game.  I just hope I can get to the end of this one for a change.  Every other Grand Theft Auto game has been a series of emotions from Want to Love to Like on Occasion to Too Bored to Continue. Maybe a bigger game with more varied strokes will finally help me finish and not leave me hurting.

Oh and since they still have yet to announce a PC release, fuck Rockstar until further notice.

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8 thoughts on “Things I Missed Yesterday: The Elder Scrolls Online and Grand Theft Auto V

    • I’ve yet to finish a single game in the series, but each and every one of them gets me excited all over again. I am thinking this might be the best since there seems to be a little more interest in designing a narrative beyond the simple array of missions that range from boring to fan-fucking-tastic.

      • Come to think of it, I haven’t finished any of the GTA games since San Andreas, my favorite, but I was in high school in the early 90’s so it brought back a lot of memories of the time period.
        I’ve always enjoyed the online factor and haven’t cared much about the boring story play at all but like you said GTA V looks very promising and I shudder at the thought of being chased my vicious dogs and only have a bat!

      • Well the gameplay itself was almost always more fun when you just ran around and did crazy things anyway. I just got tired of having to unlock more playgrounds to play in by attempting to complete the endless lists of missions.

        With GTA 4 at least, the story elements definitely moved up and became a lot more interesting to me. They were still wrapped around a skeleton of repetition and tedium though.

  1. I second your closing line there!

    I admit I get really excited about every new GTA as well, though I seem to only ever finish every second one. (Finished GTA, but not GTA2. Finished 3, but not Vice City. Finished San Andreas, but not GTA4). So this means I’m on track to actually finish GTA V

    I don’t know if you read, but it sounds like all three characters are involved in the same missions, so you choose your perspective on the mission. Do you play as the dude running into the bank, or the guy outside sniping, or the guy trying to find and drive the getaway car.

    Sounds interesting, because you can avoid activities you don’t like doing as you have two other options for each mission, but also sounds like the whole ‘complete-missions-your-way’ style of GTA could be threatened.

    Though in reality, and I wonder if I’m the only one who’s thought of this. Are they introducing multiple characters for a single sole reason of: Co-op multiplayer.

    I hope not. GTA isn’t a co-op game in my eyes. I don’t want that to be the focus.

    • I dunno. The more co-op oriented multiplayer for GTA IV was pretty fun. I think the multiple perspectives should only help the element of ‘doing it your own way’ since now there should presumably be more pathways for each mission.

      I am more excited for the change, but I can see it being a potential downfall. I am just happy to break away from the story being another simple ‘rise to power’ narrative.

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