Arena, the Elder Scrolls Chapter 1 was one of the most played and enjoyed computer fantasy role playing adventures (CFRPG) ever devised. Arena was strong on outside and inside locations, with many entire kingdoms that you could walk across loaded with treasures, monsters, citizens, and quests. Many of the denizens could speak to the player character, but many were unable to speak because they were not interested in talking.
Where, Arena was weak was the balance between experience and character skills. As the levels increased up to level 20, the difficulty of the opponents and battles increased, as they did in Might and Magic 2, often making it easier to be a low level character who avoided the interest of the greater denizens, but unable to complete some of the greater quests without the higher levels. Another area which was weak was character interaction where the designers confused quantity with quality, and the characters you met were often not deeply effected by long term relationships as they would be in real life. Another poorly planned aspect had to do with the impossible nature of certain time dependent quests which could not be completed during some seasons of the year when travel times lengthened. In spite of these minor flaws, Arena rose out of the depths and has become many gamers favorite CFRPG.
This time out, the game, which is set in the Empire of Tamriel, is bigger, reportedly twice the size of Great Britain, but we as yet know not what scale the size was based upon. We look for the game to have immense play value, with equally immense expanses rivaling the real world in extent and breadth.
Plot: As the Emperor of Tamrielís special representative, you, as the main character, must put-down, quell, and otherwise squash a potential uprising in the royal court of Daggerfall. Like the previous Arena and Originís Privateer, you need not pursue the major quest to play the game. According to Bethesda, you are free to explore, and pursue your "career in the vast, beautiful and dangerous world." When you arrive in Daggerfall, you are called upon to investigate stories of madness, unrequited love, dark sorcery, seduction (What the world needs is more seduction! - Ed.), betrayal, and a plot to recreate a powerful force from thousands of years past." And of course the player will play a role (Roleplaying? - Ed.) that will be pivotal in determining who will wield such a power, which will determine, as it were, the fate of Daggerfall, the Empire of Tamreil, the World, the Universe, and, of course, all intelligent life in the Universe. (God save the Queens, err Queen! -Ed.)
Graphics use the advanced fractal algorithms of Dr. Ken Musgrave to give the terrain a very real look and feel. A "fully topographical landscape" (reminds me of my college days when topography was a course elective - Ed.) will have caves, castles, dwellings, highlands, underwater locations, and lowlands. The new land is three dimensional, like Arena, with texture-mapping, light-sourcing, and accurate physics applied liberally.
Game play permits the main character to own land, ships, crafts, join and participate in guild politics and duties, join other oranizations, trade goods, and ply your services. Like Privateer you can choose a profession, say smuggler.
Spells: As important as character generation and development, is the spell generation system. A new spell engine is supported that goes beyond the Arena SpellMaker to create "more unusual and powerful spells." (We would love to know what that pregnant statement means. - Ed.) Potion and magic items will be created in similar fashion to that seen in Arena.
Classes: Character classes will be fully customizable to each players preferences. (How? Bethesda please tell us! -Ed.)
Music: "Advanced, multi-channel, Ďdigitilizedí sound effects and music" on a grand scale will rock your world, or words to that effect.
Hints: Daggerfall Chronicles Hint Book
Conclusions: Daggerfall promises to be a fun romp for all. Donít miss it.
Computer Gaming World, number 146, September, 1996, pg.32.
Cindy Yans, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 70, September, 1996, pg. 20-22.
Trent Ward, www.gamespot.com/previews/daggerfall/index.html