5 of the Best Elder Scrolls Games

With a recent remaster of Skyrim in our hands, here are five of the greatest gifts Bethesda has blessed us with.

Some of the greatest memories I made as a kid revolved around the Elder Scrolls series -- the music, the characters, the gameplay, the combat -- all of it was majestic and addictive, and my father often had to pull the plug to get me off the console on a school night. I had been a consistent player of the series (along with other RPGs) for a long time, but I, unfortunately, took an arrow to the knee. 

A three-hour Skyrim OST later, I was convinced that I needed to run the games through again. Upon a few Google searches, turns out I wasn't alone in my undying love for the series.

Bethesda knows how to deliver to its fanbase, and boy has it delivered. Year after year, the games seemed to get better and better in every sense of the word (even if some aspects of the older games can never be outweighed by the newer and shinier releases). Read on for my top five games in the Elder Scrolls series.

5. Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online gets a pass only because it's a first for the series. To launch a massive MMORPG on the foundation of the Elder Scrolls is quite a task, and it was done well. The objectives are well structured, the music is breathtaking, the guilds are a great break from all the hubbub of the main game, and the scenery is mind-blowing. However, this defies the point of the single-player experience to me. What had made a game from the Elder Scrolls series so special was its addictive solo play, and ESO kind of kills that off whether you like it or not. But as the characters, story, and combat settings are familiar, the game grows on you with time.

4. Oblivion

The success of Morrowind had given Bethesda a little ego -- a small, new map, sloppy combat, and foreign settings threw fans off at first. Characters were also definitely not as graphically attractive as those of the sequel and the prequel.  It still deserves a place on this list because it had a brilliant historical story that stands out in the series. Oblivion also introduced fast travel to the infrastructure and formulated objective logs for the quests.

3. Daggerfall

Daggerfall was once the biggest open-world game in history, at a ridiculous 62,000 square miles of (mostly) barren land. You would find yourself wandering eerily in the middle of nowhere without an explanation. Moreover, this is where the adventure with the Elder Scrolls series began for most of us. Pixels aside, the game was structured in line with a serious open-world attitude, building a life for your character and exploring dungeons and cities as you go. 

2. Morrowind

While this is going against the current, note that I'm not undermining the beauty of Morrowind (or its magnificent soundtrack). It was unique in the sense that both the story and the graphics were fantastic and unexpectedly blended to create a first-person epic unlike any other that Elder Scrolls has released. The bizarre setting of the island, surrounded by Dunmer (dark elves) and challenging objectives made for a memorable play -- which probably explains the demand for a remaster. I could play it a thousand times and never tire. Morrowind marks the beginning of an era that would enchant us for years to come.

1. Skyrim

Not everyone would agree, but doubtlessly Skyrim was the game of the decade that gave Bethesda -- and the Elder Scrolls series -- serious celebrity status. It was enjoyable for casual and core gamers alike, and especially for lovers of RPGs, sci-fi, fantasy, and most of all, dragons. Dragons were a new theme in the series, and they became a fan favorite for most. What Skyrim lacked in story it made up for in marvelous graphics, intricate detail, diverse combat, and endless questing that keeps you playing into the depths of the night. That said, Skyrim was also the first to literally get modded to death. Hence, it is the best-selling Elder Scrolls game to date, without a competitor as of yet. Not at all surprised.

Merely going vanilla throughout the series at least once has its benefits -- you really get to appreciate the genuine infrastructure of the game and admire it for what it really is.

While rumor has it that Bethesda is walking on water with Elder Scrolls 6 somewhere in the distant future, it has fans, myself included, inevitably anxious and excited for what is to come. 

Do you feel the same way about the evolution of the series? Do you disagree with the rankings (inevitably, as Morrowind fans will argue)? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Published Feb. 20th 2018

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