Review By: MacRae | Posted: 22/08/2003
The Final Word
Could have been better, but good for what it is.
Bloodmoon is sort of boring. It saddened me, but maybe it wouldn't have been boring if I hadn't already finished with Morrowind. They needed to add more, change the experience, make it different, and they really didn't.
Alright, I'm getting ahead of myself. Bloodmoon is the latest expansion for the surprisingly popular (although visually disgusting out-of-the-box) RPG Morrowind, brought to us by Bethesda Softworks. Following in the footsteps of the previous expansion, Tribunal, Bloodmoon adds onto the ridiculously expansive and fully-realized game world of Morrowind. This, however, is where the problem starts. I was finished with Morrowind. Sure, Bloodmoon adds to it, but it didn't add enough to it, for me, to rekindle my interest enough to start seriously playing the game again.
Since it's been some time since Morrowind's release, I'll touch briefly on what Morrowind itself is. Essentially, Morrowind is an MMORPG without the MMO part. It's a huge world filled with NPCs and monsters that want to kill you, the only difference is that you're the only player. But in feel and execution, it may as well be EverQuest. You wander around at will, improving your skills and equipment. Sure, there's a 'main quest', but feel free to ignore it and devote all your time to advancement and levelling. Or just spend all your time exploring. The only downside to not doing the main quest is that, well, I guess it never gets done. And Bloodmoon is exactly that. There's a main quest, but you should feel free to ignore it, if you so desire.
Bloodmoon takes place on the island of Solstheim, off the coast of Morrowind. It's a place of tundra and snow, of wind and ice, of wide expanses and perilous cliffs. While the world is beautifully rendered, the characters and creatures still feel like they're lacking something, much like the original Morrowind. Although the various creatures of Solstheim are definitely more expertly-rendered than many of the original Morrowind creatures, they look almost comical when they move - the models often pivot 90 or even 180 degrees in a single frame with no motion on the part of the creature. It's simply facing one direction one moment, and a different one the next. This sort of thing marrs what is an otherwise beautiful game. Well, beautiful excluding the faces of NPCs, which are still fairly hideous. I use a freely-available plugin that replaces Morrowind's NPCs with vastly superior user-made models, so the effect is reduced, but it would still have been nice to see more effort on the part of Bethesda to add polish to the game, graphically.
Besides more land to explore and a plethora of additional quests, Bloodmoon adds a variety of new arms and armor, as well as more difficult foes. While this should in theory extend the play-life of Morrowind (after all, once you can easily kill anything in the game, what's the point?), for many people it merely pushes the bar up a few more feet. It would have been nice to see additional play improvements made beyond those that were made with Tribunal, rather than just adding another chunk to the world of Morrowind.
The bottom line with the game is this: if you liked Morrowind and want more of the same, Bloodmoon will be perfect for you. It's more or less exactly like Morrowind, which I suppose is to be expected from an expansion. If you feel you were more or less done with Morrowind and have no real desire to keep playing in the same vein, you should probably look elsewhere. This expansion doesn't offer much besides more places to explore, more quests to complete, and more monsters to fight. Good for some people, not so good for others. You decide which category you fall into.