in spite ofFirstReleased back in 2011 (an entire generation of consoles!).the horizon lineStill the king of RPGs to this day.
Bethesda's Snowy DelightsThe Elder ScrollsCosmos was critically acclaimed; it's been re-released several times over the course of six years, remains a bestseller, and for Xbox gamers sometimes feels like the only console RPG out there.
Everyone and their dogs logged hundreds of hoursthe horizon line. Our famous founder of the site (holy name!) must be a big fan. In other words, I'm risking my life against the tide here, but…
the horizon linenot a good game.
Honestly, it doesn't even deserve the word "RPG" and is one of the worst RPG experiences on any platform in any era.
shouts and magic
I distinctly remember giggling when a group of grumpy monks taught me how to "shout" on top of a hill. Why are you yelling? You get them by slaying dragons, so it wouldn't make sense to call them snarls or something - much less stupid? I mean, I literally "shout" people to death, it's not too spectacular to say it out loud.
Then it's fun to accidentally hit the shout button inside the settlement and have a whole town of guards rush you when you're planning to do something else…
The whole magic system, aside from loud shouts, is pretty boring overall. Although there are some interesting spells like ore transmutation or underwater breathing,Most spells are ranged attacks, maybe shots.The main game loop is very boring for a thrower class, you hold RT and aim a barrage of fire at the enemy - and repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.
Aftermaybe the most boring thing in the world: Lost when aiming for a soul trap or landing right after the 60 second window...
The poor spelling choices are really obvious in comparisonthe horizon lineAn RPG from the past. imagine a game like thisdeadly fireplaceorthe ultimate underworld, learn dozens of fun spells by drawing different combinations of runes. Or even consider a newer game likepillars of eternity,Mystical and sacred magical systems are intricately woven into world history.
Although most of the spells there are combat based,There are more options at hand than "summoning monsters" or "throwing fireballs".From turning into a bear to tripping over sick enemies or even fleeing in panic, other great RPGs have many more options than the simple versionsthe horizon line.
In terms of action-oriented gameplay with light RPG elements (a subgenre in whichthe horizon linesincerely belong), and even play assramWe've managed to have more interesting magic systems that really expand your gameplay options, from close range blinks for cloaking to slowing down time and linking possessions between objectives. Even these are more interesting possibilities.
Did I mention the followers are annoying and the UI isn't great?
Bad dialogue and lack of role playing
This is one of the biggest drawbacksthe horizon line: It can be nice, there can be loads of people and creatures to interact with... but there's no point in it.
Nothing interesting happened with any NPCsthe horizon lineAnd dialogue snippets - the heart and soul of any serious RPG - are the very definition of "skippable". Depending on the race you choose, the skills you unlock, or the quest path you take, there really aren't any dialogue options that are game-changing (or even slightly fun).
even sadpad 4the dialog wheel, without any real options, seems like something is wrongSkyrimNo meaningful dialogue at all.Even looking at the dialog options makes no sense.just tap them (or ideally, figure out which "I accept this quest" is and end the dialog) and move on to the next part of the fight.
If the NPCs aren't boring and forgettable, there's usually only one way the NPCs can interact with the main characters: extremely brutally. My first moment in Whiterun was a little girl running up asking for coins. when I gave it to herShe asked me if I wanted to be her father.
She then told me that if I was going to adopt her, I had to buy a house. this onelazy way to tell a storyInstant "character development" is bad news for any game, but for an RPG it's the kiss of death.
everything sizzles, no steak
SkyrimIts main claim to fame is its vast open world - explore wherever you want, in whatever order you want. As long as you don't run into giants (who sometimes seem almost invulnerable), you'll be fine. Charizard flying miles above your head? Don't worry, you can take him down around level 2.
But even that is not a problem. Instead, the problem is this: across hundreds of miles of digital landscape,There's nothing worth exploring, and no NPCs you'll remember five minutes later.There are lots of caves full of villains and chests, and lots of local rulers or wizards who need you to get them stuff, but nothing that really brings the world to life.
forget meeting someone like Dulancpillar of eternityor absolutely any companionThe outside world: Torment, many are still fresh in players' minds decades later. there is no one like moirapad 3or Victor fromit's vegasIt adds some flavor and keeps you engaged.
Moira is really just giving quests - the MacGuffin was supposed to allow you to explore areas A, B and C - but I can still hear her clearly and recite some of her more ridiculous requests, even to you. The injury explained how it went wrong. How you choose to interact with her and fulfill her requests really changes the feel of the game and gives your character a personality.
Any quest sender can be found inthe horizon linesay the same? looking back,Honestly, in all my playthroughs, I can't remember a single NPC's name.
Apparently one of them was called "Belethor".
You learn something new every day.
Extremely relaxed quest system
If you have already followed my articles, you know this, but for those who haven't:Ja sam dirty casual.with a few exceptions such asthe darkest dungeonito increase, I'm not a big fan of games that are intentionally too hard.
Having said that,the horizon linealready beenSo dumb in terms of house mechanics that it's barely worth playing. Skills, attributes and spells have been improved so much that it doesn't seem like itThe Elder Scrollsop.
We've gone from six stats to three very basic stats - health, magic, and stamina. Dagger, Metaphysics, Athletics and Spear skills are available. That's not the culprit though - the biggest problem is the quest system and the extremely crude quest information screen.
Here's the full game in a nutshell:Follow the marker on the map, kill things or pick up things, then follow the marker to go back.Is there a legend or story? I have no idea, the quest screens don't even provide any useful information, let alone world-enriching text.
As are the pointless tasks you try to tick off the screenbland.Even the intrusive Mage Academy - a place of interesting story development and confusing quests - immediately turns into dungeons and fetch quests.
Especially these serious failures make me wonder ifthe horizon lineIt should even be called "RPG". It's more like an action game set in a fantasy world.
Do you remember the forgotten city where you accidentally came to sell 87 longswords and an unexpected shout infuriated the guards? this is just the tip of the icebergSkyrimRidiculously vague A.I.
Half the time an arrow to the head makes them wonder if they heard anything, and the other half they are so sensitive that self-defense is impossible.
I've lost count of the number of times I've had to recharge because a squad of vampire slayers attacked me in the street. If I made a mistake defending myself, the guards would be hostile for no reason, and thenI'm running from all over town trying to kill myself.
Even in Bethesda's other open world gamesturn out,Turning the whole town against the main character isn't nearly as much of a problem if you accidentally steal an apple and get chased by fairies. You have to start shooting directly at the civilians or throwing grenades to make all the Megatons mad.
It's an example of how more advanced technology doesn't always result in a smoother experience. Of course, this kind of matchBaldur's gatevisually inferior tothe horizon line, but they rarely have problems like this - you have to be bad on purpose or randomly throw fireballs at the crowd to annoy the guards.
Each. Damn it. time.
Bethesda unnecessary character customization
it is not uniquethe horizon line, but a problem with most Bethesda games. Here are the design choices I can't even fathom:Why would there be a very deep face designer...in a first person game?
Why on earth would you spend three or four hours making the perfect face for your character that you'll never see again? Have you ever worn a helmet all the time? Great, now it really doesn't matter what race or facial features you chose.
Granted, you can switch to third person for a less-than-ideal experience, but you'll still be looking forward to it for the vast majority of the game, instead of turning the camera around and whining in your face.
The whole system should be abolished and those development hours should be used to make the tasks more interesting and the NPCs more interesting.
milk the dead cow
so we've come to the end of minethe horizon lineI'm complaining, which means we're almost at the point where you can tell me how stupid I am in the comments!
Finally, we have to talk about the dead horse that is constantly being beaten.the horizon lineIt came out six years ago, and the 360, PS4 and PC enhanced versions delighted fans. Now Bethesda's E3 has a big news: we can buy it again on Switch and experience virtual reality on PS4 on PC. Blessed are we!
it just existsNot enough changes between each versionthe horizon lineGuaranteed to be bought four or five timesWhile the jagged edges on objects may have been smoothed out a bit, all of the game's key issues – from bugs that caused objects to get stuck in space to a weak quest system – continue with each iteration.
The bottom line
OK, so I admit it-the horizon lineIt can be a fun game to install a bunch of mods if you don't care about the story or characters, and of course it's an aesthetically pleasing waste of time with a seemingly endless world map.
But what if you really want a compelling, immersive experience with characters you care about or stories you'll be talking about ten years from now?
don't even bother-There are hundreds of better RPGs out there, andthe horizon lineFar from living up to the hype.
About the author
Ty divides his time between writing horror fiction and video games. After 25 years in the game, Ty can certainly say that gaming peaked in Planescape Torment, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a passion for titles like Baldur's Gate, Fallout: New Vegas, Bioshock Infinite, and Horizon: Zero Dawn Solo. He previously wrote for GamerU and MetalUnderground. He also writes for PortalMonkey about laptops and gaming peripherals.