So, understandably, the console release of ESO hasn't been receiving a ton buzz. Perhaps it's due to the mixed reception of it's original PC launch? Maybe choosing a release date sandwiched between two of the biggest AAA titles this year (Gerald Returns and Batfleck Knight) wasn't a great idea. It probably doesn't help that E3 is just so close, which means most game publications are much too busy with conference prep to check in to a giant time-sink MMO for a second time.
Anyway, as far my thought's go, I'm happy to report that it's actually okay!
ESO missions actually have a bit of substance, and there's quite a ton of them. I found myself interested in the quest lines I've played so far, mostly thanks to the solid writing and voice work that help to flesh them out. Of course, it's occasionally tempting to skip through chatter since there's just so much of it, but I can't fault Zenimax for that. It also helps that NPC character models during conversations are slightly improved from the likes of Skyrim, since the models somewhat animate when speaking. While it's still not great, it's an improvement from the robotic inhabitants of the series' past.
I feel that the combat quite solid as well. Mapping specials to the face buttons, not unlike Diablo 3, makes combat a bit faster and more reactive. It can still be kind of clunky however, as the hit reactions and sound design can certainly be better, but if you've spent some time away with Oblivion and Skyrim, you'll probably be as used to it as I was.
ESO certainly has flaws though. From a visual perspective, the game is an absolute eyesore. It's a noticeable step down from even the console versions of Skyrim, which even that itself wasn't all that gorgeous. I know this is probably due to the massive player count, but I still can't help but scratch my head every so often and wonder if I had accidentally activated some secret PS2 port of Morrowind.
Quest rewards is another negative. If you're familiar with Destiny, you should know the feeling of completing a mission and receiving almost nothing to show for it but some outdated gear that's worse than what you're wearing. Of course, unlike Destiny, the missions here actually interesting and enjoyable, but it's still a bummer to complete a lengthy quest line and receive a bow when you're going sword-and-board. It seems the crafting system is the way to go for enhanced gear, but I haven't quite wrapped my ahead around that aspect yet.
Now the biggest negative for me is actually the biggest part of the damn game, and that's the online component.
While it's fun to watch literally a hundred other unique player character just wander around town, I've found it detrimental to the actually game. Opening the door to a boss fight, only to see that ten others players have already taken care of him or her is a bit off-putting. To be fair, it only takes about two seconds for boss characters, or other enemies around the world, to respawn, but it does totally take me out of the experience. I haven't tried match-making into dungeons yet, so I can't comment on how well those system work quite yet. I feel like an offline mode would have been an excellent addition to the console release.
To sum it all up, I went in with absolutely no expectations whatsoever, and I'm finding myself positively surprised at how much I'm enjoying it. It certainly rough around the edges, it's ugly as the Daedra themselves, and it probably doesn't have to be "online-only" but I'm definitely having fun here.
Also, Kate Beckinsale is in it...
Has anyone else here given it a shot?
P.S. I've probably written way too much