You need to go get Enderal. I gave this a spin mostly out of spite, as I’ve had the original edition of Skyrim in my Steam library since it launched. I wanted to get the DLC for the game the same way I’d gotten it for Fallout 3: Wait for it to go on sale, get it cheap, then either play it or play the mods that used the new assets.
It never got down to the low prices of F3’s content, and soon after it should have, the special edition of Skyrim came out and all things involving the older version never went on sale and couldn’t be found via Steam’s search function.
Anyway, one of Steam’s new features is suggesting games based on ones you’ve played, and it suggested this free game called Enderal. It’s basically a total conversion mod for the original Elder Scrolls V game, no DLC required. If you only have the special edition, you might be able to get Enderal working, but the instructions are kind of extensive. Since I had the “antique” edition, I downloaded the game just to give my old version of Skyrim a way to thumb its nose at its younger, sexier replacement.
I took it for a spin for a few hours, and I haven’t seen anything that was in the trailer, except for one of the ninja-mask looking dudes, making me wonder just how huge this thing might be. So far it feels pretty massive, and it’s also pretty brutal if you’re used to other Bethesda-style games. I’d leveled up quite a bit, going for a lot of powers involving magical fire and electricity, and I’d still get murdered if more than two wolves came at me at once. Exploration is rewarding, but it’s also something you don’t do lightly. In this game, magic causes something called “Arcane Fever,” which will eventually turn you into a monster if you let it get too bad. It’s a bummer, therefore, that all the healing potions I came across caused my fever to increase.
The plot is intriguing thus far, and the perk tree seems to have something to do with all this talk of alternate realities, which is a pretty neat reason for how you can pick up powers out of thin air. You also learn skills via books, and there are books for every skill. It does seem a little strange that some of them are for skills you probably wouldn’t want others to have, but then again I found a merchant selling magic items that enhance werewolf powers, so maybe they’re a lot more fatalistic.
The mechanics from Skyrim are still present, so it’s not totally alien. Alchemy still works the same with you having to taste everything once in order to figure out its initial use. The combat AI isn’t the greatest, but I’m not complaining. If it wasn’t for bad pathfinding and enemies getting stuck on the terrain in places, I would’ve died even more. The magic skills seem beefier, and I went with them largely because your starting weapons aren’t very impressive. I suppose if I’d chosen the memories/skills that helped with archery or swordplay, that would’ve helped. Still, I found the electrical spells very satisfying, though keeping one’s mana high enough last multiple enemies is still a distant dream and why I kept a number of melee weapons in my inventory.
There are quite a few cutscenes in this game, especially early on. I should also say that not all the voice actors are pros; I suspect a lot of volunteer work was involved, but most of the ones I heard did a decent job. That said, some dialog exchanges can be pretty long, but you can discover quests, make friendships or strengthen relationships with NPCs, and can gain “knowledge points” that earn you XP as well as stat boosts, eventually. I guess what I’m pointing out is that this game is pretty story-rich, so don’t go in expecting that all you’ll need is a quest marker and more hit points than whoever it’s pointing you to.
So if you’ve got the setup, I recommend getting Enderal from Steam and trying it out. All you could possibly lose is all of your free time for the foreseeable future, so why not? 🙂