The Witcher

Dare I suggest something (old-school) that might just scratch the Witcher itch?

I've been looking around for ages for something that could scratch the itch I've gotten from TW3. Nothing comes even close to matching it's level of attention to detail until I cracked open one of my old favourite games… Morrowind, the Elder Scrolls 3.

I'll preface by saying the game's graphics haven't aged well at all. It pains me to say but it sort of looks like crap, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was hard to get into if you haven't played it before. However, to date Morrowind is the only game I've played that seems to have a similar level of attention to detail as TW3.

It's the little things that make the world feel interconnected and believable, small details that give NPCs more personality than most games bother giving their main characters.

For example, in the first area you're dropped in you can choose to scale the nearby lighthouse. In doing so, you don't find much but a basket full of cheese and bread, and a cheesy romance novel that gives you a skill bonus as well as some insight into the lighthouse keeper's personality. That small detail gives you a greater sense of where you are and what sort of world you're in.

Or the abandoned ship that you can find far out in the wilderness that's just loaded with pillows. Search hard enough and you'll find an invoice for all the pillows with a random character's name on it, addressed to her home in the major city of Balmora. If you so choose to track her down based on the name of the invoice, she'll treat you to a reward.

Morrowind is also the only other game filled with books that are worth reading. Oblivion and Skyrim had some books but they weren't really that exciting and they really dumbed down the impressive worldbuilding found in Morrowind. Also the ability to manipulate game mechanics with spell creation, virtually without limits, gives you a sense of power that is lost in many other games.

Parts of me even prefer Morrowind's story over the Witcher's. Granted, the characters aren't nearly as exciting. But the sheer depth of story and the sense of progression as you grow from outcast into the latest reincarnation of the Nerevarine, slowly uncovering your history and purpose by unearthing clues through old dusty books and piecing together rumors and myths from condescending peasants until you wield mighty power over them and watch their disbelief slowly transform into awe and respect… truly awesome.

I'd also recommend Enderal. The story of Enderal is easily on par with the Witcher and many of the characters are just as compelling. Tealor Arentheal's voice acting is by far the best in gaming IMO (to the point where it's worth mentioning here. Who'd have ever thought that voice acting could even make that much of an impact?) There were far more moments in Enderal that just blew my head off and left me reeling, needing a few moments to recuperate before I could actually progress in the story, than there were in The Witcher. Whereas the witcher is just absolutely solid the whole way through, Enderal has more "holy fuck" moments altogether.

TW3 is still my favourite but the scope of the whole story isn't as impactful as something like Enderal which deals not just with the cyclical nature of history but with the entire persona of the collective, human subconscious as its own entity.

(If you don't know,

is a complete overhaul "mod" for Skyrim made by SureAI. However it really shares nothing in common with Skyrim aside from the engine. I hesitate to mention the two games in the same sentence because they're not even close to being on the same level.)

If you're hungry for attention to detail, well-written characters, and a story that will move you and bring you to tears, Enderal will fix you up. Enderal is the sort of game where if you choose to look closely at a random poster in a back alley, you'll be able to see all the scratches and marks that the writer made as they tried to correct their errors. It's the sort of game where if you overhear a peasant or shopkeeper mention something to their coworkers, there's more than likely a hidden questline behind it that will lead you into a story more compelling than that of the average game.

Throughout the first half of the game you'll chug through thinking, "wow, this really is on another level." Then halfway through the game an important plot piece is dropped, the entire universe flips on its head and you realize that the scope of this game extends far, far beyond what any other game attempts, let alone achieves.

The gameplay's a bit choppier than TW3 since it's based in Skyrim's engine but everything else can easily hold a candle to The Witcher. If SureAI actually sold their products (Enderal is completely free if you own Skryim, I actually bought a copy of Skyrim just to play it and it's well worth it) then they would be on par with CDPR.

I think the one thing that sets Morrowind, Enderal and TW3 apart from other games is you can tell that the developers are investing more than just grind hours into game development. They have an artistic vision, something that they deem important enough to pour their heart and soul into, damn what the mainstream expects. And the result is entirely unique games with a level of depth that goes far beyond what most AAA projects deliver.

Oh, and here's a picture showcasing some of the attention to detail and beauty in Enderal's environment design. Creativity is up there, once again, with CDPR.


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