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August 21st, 2012, 02:26
For me, Morrowind remains the highlight of the Elder Scrolls series precisely because of the hyperlinked conversation and journal systems (not to mention a story that doesn't beat you over the head with itself - Skyrim is a slight improvement in this regard, at least). Although imperfectly implemented, they made the world that much more immersive because you could drill down in to the geography or lore if you wanted, or track back along a half-forgotten quest to see who gave it you and why, and where you had to go to progress (without dumb quest markers).

The atrophied abominations that followed with Oblivion and Skyrim made those games that much poorer. Giving us fully voiced characters who repeated phrases and echoed each other's accents the length and breadth of Cyrodil and Skyrim (with not even an attempt to have internally consistent regional accents) just added insult to injury.

As far as I'm concerned all self-respecting RPGs of any depth should come with an integrated wiki-like journal and conversation-record system. Can't think of a single other one that does though. Come to think of it, Wolf Mittag's Teudogar did at least have a local set of HTML files with historical background. And I just remembered Unreal World has an internal hypertext help system as well.

And just to see where the author of this piece is coming from, how about this quote:

Play Gradius V for 100 hours, and it could be argued to be akin to a religious experience of high skill and furious elegance, honed to the point of inimitable, zero-ping connection between gamer and game. Play Morrowind for 100 hours, and it’s just as arguable you’ll feel like nothing more than a cog in a vast but plodding machine, one whose quest is now one more of compulsion rather than any true care for the fate of the land; a job, of sorts, now reduced to nothing but activity-crunching and data processing. This is, of course, just an extreme example of the vapid nature of RPG longevity, where commitment can be mistaken for involvement. It’s perfectly possible – if very unlikely – that you’ll still be as concerned and invested in Vvardenfell as a world, and not a gameworld.
A sandbox roleplaying game on the PC compared to twitch space shooter on the PS2? As the kids are wont to say these days, WTF?
Last edited by Foreigner; August 21st, 2012 at 02:44.
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