At the time Daggerfall came out in 1996, it quite possibly was the most advanced RPG ever released for the PC. Featuring literally thousands of locations and entities within the game, the world is so vast that an estimate of time to completion would be meaningless. It is an open-ended adventure that builds it direction based upon choices made by the player throughout the game.
Choices are numerous from the beginning. Your character is molded from an incredible assortment of possibilities offered and can constantly change dependent upon accomplishments and/or personal choice as the adventure unfolds. Character generation starts by choosing one of eight provinces your alter ego can emanate from and this decides his/her race. From there you choose one of eighteen possible character classes by either answering a series of questions or simply picking one from a pre-existing list. The next step is developing a career path by responding to twelve biographical situations related to character idiosyncrasies or again simply choosing a career path. All of this leads ultimately to skill generation by class and basic attributes that define your character. Another option allows you to custom select (pick and choose) attributes and skills that build your character's reputation which is a very important aspect of the game -- the better the reputation the more cooperation he/she can rely on during gameplay from the thousands of encounters that occur. With over 70 magic spells available, at least 27 skills apparent, and the options to create your own spells and items, the structure of Daggerfall allows nearly unlimited player intervention and control of directing the life of the character. It comes equipped with all the other trappings of the basic RPG with a vast array of weapons, clothing, armor, monsters, vampires, dungeons, towns, cities, shops, graveyards, crypts, shrines, beasts and thousands of NPC's. A special note on dungeons: there are 12 so-called main storyline dungeons that are unique and incredibly complex but rest assured every crypt and dungeon waiting to be explored is rife with treasure, monsters, unscrupulous beings or just maze filled hallways, rooms, chambers or traps to get lost in.
Daggerfall is a huge world. From political factions, guild memberships, religious affiliations, and a developed calendar with special days observed in various locations throughout the year to necessary encounters with monsters, continuous decisions on mainline or secondary quests to accept or decline and thousands of words of text to read (there are books galore that weave the story of Tamriel and individual histories), the hardcore role player will find an abundant source of intrigue and questing worth the money spent in purchasing this title. What the game lacks in sophistication of graphics and sound is more than made up for in the absolutely incredible size, dimension and interaction inherent in Daggerfall. Just one word of warning: be careful where you buy your house and which bank you deposit your money in because you'll most definitely be on the move in this sprawling, enormous world.
Graphics: Low resolution, VGA graphics and bad pixelation result in unpleasant visuals especially in indoor areas.
Sound: Music is non-intrusive to game play but provides decent background. Digitized voice acting is quite well done, however, basic sound effects (e.g., monsters, fire) are bland and for the most part are poorly done.
Enjoyment: Caution: Hours literally fly by when immersed in this vast world. With seemingly endless choices for directing your character's life and fortunes, the game gives real meaning to the term role playing.
Replay Value: Countless possibilities in character generation (race, class and skills) provides enormous replay options. Even though randomly generated dungeons are somewhat redundant (not the 12 main storyline dungeons), most are so huge that replay becomes sport, not drudgery.
Chapter 2 of the acclaimed Elder Scrolls series of RPGs; sequel to Arena. Daggerfall seizes the player and thrusts them into a non-linear world full of plotting, conspiracy and political intrigue. Armed with their wits and their blade, and magic if they so wish to use it, the player is drawn into one of the most immersive worlds ever to grace the PC.
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