RPGDot Network    

The Fall: Mutant City
Display full image
Pic of the moment
pics from the gallery

Site Navigation


   Games Database
   Top 100
   Release List
   Support Files



   Staff Members
   Privacy Statement


Morrowind: Tribunal Review
Chris 'limesix' Rediske, 2003-06-17

Bethesda's early 2002 release Morrowind was easily one of the most anticipated RPG's of all time - successor to perennial crowd favorite Daggerfall, and winner of numerous tradeshow awards over several years, it had CRPG fans salivating for an open ended adventure that they could truly role-play… perhaps in a contrast to many of the more story based and linear adventures offered by Bioware and others over the last couple of years. And for the most part, it delivered. A gigantic world to explore at your pace and leisure, incredible graphics that most FPS's would envy bringing that world to life, side quests that dwarfed the main plotline, alliances to be had and exploited, dungeon crawls a plenty, and a truly great character creation and leveling system.

Now, in the same year, they've brought us Tribunal, the first, but certainly not last expansion pack for a nearly infinitely expandable game. For the most part, the gameplay is identical, although it should be noted that Tribunal includes the new (and much requested) quest-sorting feature, which, though it will take quite a bit of time to parse your quests, is well worth the investment (although it arguably could have been provided in a free patch, much like the enemy health meter). Any other flaws, complaints, or loves you have for the original game are still here, from the combat, to the magic system, to the shiftless NPC's, to the passive dialogue options. However, Tribunal does offer quite a different experience from Morrowind as far as the quests and storyline, so lets get started.

Display full image

You begin Tribunal as your character is awakened from sleep by a loud noise - actually an assassin come to kill you (why does an assassin make a loud noise? Beats me.) This experience prompts you to seek out a guard, he directs you to Ebonheart, and your adventure begins. Traveling by magic to Mournhold, Morrowind's capital city, you are again free to make new alliances, to help the king or hinder him, to pledge your loyalty to Almalexia or vex her… or to do them all at the same time. It's your choice, just like in Morrowind. However, Tribunal offers a much different experience in that nearly every quest advances or serves the main story. This adventure is much more plot driven and linear, though there are a few side quests, and nearly every NPC you meet (except perhaps for vendors) has some role in a quest. This is in direct contrast to Morrowind, where there were literally thousands of NPC's you never really needed to talk to, but it's not necessarily a bad thing, as it gives the city a more purposeful and handcrafted feel.

Display full image

Which brings me to the second main difference in Tribunal - the city. You are completely confined in Mournhold for the length of the game (aside from a brief jaunt to Sotha Sil's clockwork city… and I don't want to ruin anything) - there is no wilderness, nothing beyond the city gates… Well, you can't even go out the city gates. There are four main areas to the city, each of which is a decent size, and there are numerous, fairly labyrinthine sewers and dungeons beneath the city, but Mournhold is all there is. You won't be doing any exploring, and there's not need for Silt Striders. Your quests will take you through most of the game map. On the other hand, the lack of open space has allowed the developers to craft a much more linear and satisfying adventure than the main quest in Morrowind was. In the original game, by the time I finished the main quest, the end fight was a breeze (and I played a thief type character), and the conclusion was anti-climactic. The second time through, I didn't even bother with the main quest; I just went after some of the guilds and affiliations I hadn't joined the first time through. In Tribunal, there is an extremely engaging struggle going on that you have the opportunity to be a part of, and though I won't ruin it, I will say that you get to meet the two other members of the Tribunal (after the main game's Vivec), and play a large part in the shaping of Vvardenfell's future. No less grandiose than Morrowind's main quest, but much more scripted and engaging, Tribunal has a story that will keep you playing on its own merits.

Display full image

On a technical level, the game still looks great, and Mournhold is a bit more colorful and bright than Vvardenfell. The sound is still the weakest part of the game, as sometimes your footsteps are your only accompaniment, but for the most part, the new enemies sound and look terrific, and present a considerable challenge to a high-level character, regardless of profession. There are even a few puzzle-based quests to challenge you, and the action will keep you busy and your sword out. If you've spent a great deal of time leveling your character, there won't be anything that will stop you in your tracks, but there are challenges to be had for any level player.

Display full image

After all is said and done, Tribunal is a very good addition to an already great game. Morrowind fans will have no real complaints with its quests or execution, and Bethesda has done a good job creating a continuation to a game that concluded pretty firmly. With the more linear storyline and smaller, more handcrafted setting, Tribunal will draw you in for the duration. The quest sorting is a godsend (you may find yourself heading back to Vvardenfell to finish some quests you hadn't recalled taking), and there are plenty of new creatures to fight, and armor and weapons to fight them with. Mournhold is beautiful, just like the original game, and the city is just waiting to suck up another 40 hours or so of your life. And if you're itching to get out into the wilderness and explore (maybe as a werewolf?), Bloodmoon is right around the corner. And I'm betting that Bethesda won't let that be the end of it.

The Verdict
Graphics (15%) 90%
Sound (15%) 70%
Control (25%) 90%
Fun (45%) 95%
Overall 89%

The ups and downs:
Well crafted storyLinear
ChallengingLimited exploring
Beautiful game worldConfined locations
Quest sorting!Passive dialogue interface

Reviewer's System
Version: retail
CPU: Pentium 3 800Mhz
Graphics GeForce 2 MX (32MB)
Sound SB Live
OS: Windows XP Home, DX 8.1

Average Reader Ratings: 7.95 (197 votes)
Rate this title and view comments     Game Info     Printer Friendly Version

All original content of this site is copyrighted by RPGWatch. Copying or reproducing of any part of this site is strictly prohibited. Taking anything from this site without authorisation will be considered stealing and we'll be forced to visit you and jump on your legs until you give it back.