By ArbitraryWater 15 Comments
Yep. Even though nobody actually posted on my previous blog, I'm at it again. This time with a game people care about at a time people are awake. Also, to avoid the TL;DR nightmare of my Jagged Alliance review, I'm going to keep this short and include videos for those who lack patience! Huzzah. Today I am doing Daggerfall, which has recently become free to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Elder Scrolls series.
Daggerfall is the second game in the Elder Scrolls franchise, and perhaps the one I knew least about going into it. After using the power of Google to find a website to help me figure out what the hell I was supposed to do, I created my character with a custom class (as it should be). There are a metric ton of options for characters, including more skills than both Morrowind and Oblivion, as well as special advantages, weaknesses, and reputation bonuses that you can pick for your dude. However, as is custom with Bethesda, there are a decent chunk of skills that flat out suck. Perhaps most obviously, the language skills. Allow me to explain. If you have a specific language skill, and then click on the corresponding enemy without your weapon drawn (which it is going to be most of the time) and your skill is high enough, the enemy won't attack you. If it hasn't sunk in yet, that is perhaps one of the most worthless skills in the game. And there are like 6 of them. In the end I just created the most overpowered character I could think of. (High Elf with a bunch of spell points and hit points that starts with an Ebony Dagger but has low personality for obvious reasons)
Rather than explain the gameplay (or graphics for that matter) in depth, I will simply show you these videos I recorded with DOSbox's internal codec. There is no music unfortunatley, because the music in the game (assuming you set it to the right sound card) is actually very good (If you set it to the wrong card... Just don't go shopping). Please note that the frame rate was nowhere as smooth in real life as it was in the videos, especially when I was recording them. Maybe because my computer is old.
I walk around town a bit, and buy some spells
More dungeon crawling. In this case, one of the many procedurally generated random ones.
Yep. Most of the gameplay consists of getting (randomly generated) jobs from guilds you are a member of (in randomly generated towns), then going into a dungeon or someone's house to A: Kill a monster or B: Find an Object. This actually works well, and the dungeon crawling would be great if it wasn't for one tiny thing: The dungeons are stupidly and unnecessarily huge. The biggest dungeon crawls in Oblivion, something like the final mission of the Thieves Guild or the Mehrune's Razor dungeon are about 1/4th the size of one dungeon in Daggerfall and take half as long. The immense size of the dungeons result in lots of aimless wandering around, whilst constantly checking your (clunky) map for any paths or secret doors you haven't found yet. It's kind of annoying, but thankfully I was able to find the quest object most of the time after a bit of searching, so it isn't a gamebreaker... usually.
I have yet to advance the main quest, mostly because I have to be at a minimum level to even get the ability to advance it, which almost gives the game a MMO level of grind but thankfully the core gameplay is usually engaging enough that I can tolerate it most of the time. Will it hold up after several more hours of play? I have no idea.
So, in the end, the moral of Daggerfall's story is "Just because you can make it big, doesn't mean that you should". This applies to most aspects of the game, from the selection of skills in character creation to the size of the dungeons, to the overall size of the "twice the size of actual Great Britain" world. Bethesda learned their lesson, and made Morrowind (which I hate but others love) and Oblivion (which I love but others hate) much smaller in scale but much more precise in focus. Assuming that you look up some stuff on the internet and are tolerant of some of the "this game is hella old" crap that it throws at you, Daggerfall is something like a rough diamond. Plus, you can't beat the price of free. Also, it's actually playable, unlike Arena, which I was considering looking at instead but got extremely bored.
Next up: Thief: The Dark Project.