The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset is TESO at Its Best

Elder Scrolls Online Summerset Isles

The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset is the latest expansion coming to Bethesda's Elder Scrolls MMO, and it was playable during Bethesda's PAX East event. The demo itself was relatively short for a massive open-world game, with demo windows capped at 20 minutes. So I went with a randomized character, kept my skill options pretty basic, and ran through the new tutorial as quickly as I could.

The new tutorial, like every tutorial section of every Elder Scrolls game from now through the inevitable heat death of the universe, has you start as a prisoner. This time, you're in a magic prison, but its a special magic prison as its a soul prison. You fight your way out with the help of a member of the Psijic order, and then are let loose upon the isle of Summerset.

The Summerset Isles are pretty standard high-fantasy fare, though they are pretty darn gorgeous. You'd expect nothing else from the High Elves after all.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset is TESO at Its Best

While I didn't really get much of a chance to experience the game's story (20 minutes of main story in a sandbox MMO is pretty much nothing) nor could I really experience any of the new soul magic skills, I did get to wander around Summerset and pop myself into a dungeon.

While the combat is still as strangely stripped down as ever (you can only keybind so many skills, after all) and the character movement and ability animations are as strange as to be expected from an Elder Scrolls game, the feeling of the first minutes of Summerset are exactly what TESO does well. It's not a combat-focused MMO, neither PvP or PvE provide the kind of intense skill-based challenge as some other MMOs or even other entries in the broader Elder Scrolls series, nor does it provide you as much freedom as the single-player installments. However, The Elder Scrolls Online does a fantastic job of letting you explore all of Tamriel. The one thing you could never do in any of the other games was go outside of the one primary territory (aside from paid DLC expansions), whereas even the base game of TESO allows you to go continent hopping.

So getting a brand-new area to go play around in — one we haven't seen before and don't have too many fond memories of — is the best direction Bethesda could take with this expansion. And they seem to have done it well.

I just hope that voice acting wasn't the final cut, because damn, was that not good.

You can see some of the expansion in action below and check out the full details here.

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Madeline RicchiutoAbout Madeline Ricchiuto

Madeline Ricchiuto is a gamer, comics enthusiast, bad horror movie connoisseur, writer and generally sarcastic human. She also really likes cats and is now Head Games Writer at Bleeding Cool.
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