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     " Of course, when all you're used to is 'linear Japanese RPGs', this can come as a bit of shell shock. "

      Title: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind by Bethesda

      Format: Role Playing for the X-Box

      Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A

      The Hype: It's absolutely huge. It's got everything you need. It lets you create your own stuff. There's very little the game doesn't have. At least, that's what the box says. Now the console set have there own version of this truly enormous role-playing game.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: The graphics for this game are excellent. The x-box easily equals a high end PC for graphical output capabilities. The character models are great, although one could wish there was slightly more variety in the character types. After all, there are hundreds of people in Morrowind. After a while, you get to recognize every face type. Still the 3D polygonal graphics are excellent, with quite a high count on all the models. Watching a sunset is a joy in a game that looks this good. The environments are not particularly interactive, but the world design is done well. One could easily explore around the world for no better reason than to see what one can see. 4.5 out of 5

      Sound: The music for Morrowind is simply excellent. The grand sweeping exploration music is inspiring. The combat music is more than serviceable. There is little voicework in the game, but what there is of it is quality. The sound effects are not really worth comment, beyond being appropriate. 4 out of 5

      Playability: Okay, when I say this world is huge, I mean bigger than Rosie O'Donnel after two weeks trapped in an IHOP. Moreover, the game gives you almost no direction. The game basically points towards a yellow brick road and says, "Follow it, don't follow it, see if I care." There are a ton of factions to join and quests to get. You can easily spend the ten hours we're required to play a game developing your character without once touching the main quest. This is absolutely wonderful for fans of PC Gaming looking to come over to the console set. PC games have, traditionally, offered far more freedom than console games. This game definitely offers that kind of vast freedom to those on the console side. Of course, when all you're used to is "linear Japanese RPGs" (as a monkey put it) this can come as a bit of shell shock. The game really does tell you very little. After the initial push out the door, the game doesn't direct you in the slightest. There's no urgency or pull to completing the main quest. It's simply another quest to accomplish, whenever you get around to it. This dampens the spirits of some people. If playing in a world that completely open doesn't sound appealing to you, then this is not the game for you. On a technical side, the controls are all fine. The literal playing of the game is smooth. The X-Box controls once more work well to bring a PC feel to a console. You may lose a little functionality (from the PC version), but you actually gain some in other places. The instruction manual explains everything you need to know and will get you in and kickin' in no time. 4.5 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Well, there is no multiplayer for this game. More's the pity. Still, there's more than enough to do without adding another player to the mix. This is one of those games that doesn't really end. Even after the main quest is completed, the world still exists. You can still monkey around to your hearts content. Of course, you may also want to try other character types, as this game is so mutable you can easily play ten times with a completely different character and with significantly different experiences. You'll probably try it at least three times for each of the three main houses you can join. And it will still be fun. The only real loss for buying this on the X-Box is that you lose out on all of the mod community's efforts. Your version of Morrowind will be static. There's no editor and you can't get modules. Which is too bad, because there are some neat ones out there. 3.5 out of 5

      Story/Dramatics: There's a story here. It goes as follows: you are a prisoner on the mainland, for reasons unknown you are sent to the island of Morrowind. It seems you're to be a secret agent against some civil unrest in the area. One of those wacky cults has sprouted up and you need to stop them. Or at least find out if they have dental. The story is of course much bigger than that, but saying too much would ruin it for you. Suffice it to say that once you decide to pay attention to it, the main story is pretty good, with all the appropriate highs and lows. The main problem with the story isn't actually with the story, but with the fact that it's so easy to ignore. I guess that's just the nature of the beast with a game like this. Props for having a story at all though. 4 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       If you're hoping this review will decide you between the PC and X-Box version… Well, it's a matter of preference. The two versions are nearly identical, the only differences being in the method of control and some of the functionality. The game is a lot of fun and if you're ready to step outside the linear world we've been presented for so long, this is a great place to go.

      The Good: Expansive Role Playing experience, incredible versatility, great look and feel

      The Bad: Utterly huge, slightly without direction, no mod community/modules

      The Overall Ugly: If being able to make your own content for the game is important, go PC. If not having to mess with your settings is important, go X-Box. Either one is a quality product.

      What it's Worth: going price is fair.

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