ESO: Blackwood, Byte Size Review (XSX)
Welcome to Blackwood. For the first time since The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion you can return to the Imperial City of Leyawiin and again enter the realm of Mehrunes Dagon. That’s right Portals to Oblivion are back. And to make your adventure into Oblivion even better the release of Blackwood has coincided with an upgrade for latest gen console users. Blackwood is the latest chapter in the grand Elder Scrolls Online universe following up Greymoor, Elsweyr, Summerset, and Morrowind. This adds to the already huge amount of content available in the game, and brings something new to the table this time around.
Daedric Deja Vu.
Blackwood isn’t as visually diverse as the likes of Summerset or Morrowind but the level of familiarity for those who have played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is just fantastic. Moving around Leyawiin I had so many flashbacks. Even to the point I was checking out areas of importance from Oblivion. Although there is a lack of visual interest this time you are given the next gen upgrade to wow your eyes. For a game that was already very pretty given its scale this upgrade is fantastic. But for me it is the hugely faster load times that are the big winner. From getting into the game to fast travelling between locations. It is all much, much faster. Add to this 60 FPS and a slew of visual fidelity enhancements. And what you have is a great game taken to the next level.
Get Rid Of Your Leeroy Jenkins.
The unique addition with Blackwood is something I love. As someone who is playing ESO solo the addition of Companions is just great. Finding equipment for them and levelling up skills is simple enough not to detract from your character but deep enough to be rewarding. And to be honest, so far I have found Bastian to be quite helpful in battle. At this stage there are only two companions to find and you can only have one at your side at a time. These companions will also react to your actions. So if you are playing as a particularly evil character you might not get along with these companions. It will be interesting to see how Companions are added to in the future.
More than just an Online Multiplayer RPG.
As mentioned, I play ESO as a solo player. This is a hugely overlooked part of the game. I have a great time, and apart from certain events, pretty much the entire game can be played by yourself. When it comes to a challenging fight you can wait for support from other players to show up. I have also shadowed, and been shadowed, my way through dungeons when seeing a higher level player going the same way. With ESO: Morrowind now on Game Pass it is the perfect time to try it out. And with that added user base from Game Pass there are some heavily populated areas for you to stay safe in the crowd.
I know as a long time, original player of The Elder Scrolls Online I tend to view this through rose tinted glasses but it really is a joy to play. The sheer immense scope and open world to explore is just great. Yes, the learning curve is steep thanks to everything that has been added over the last seven years. But this also means game mechanics and functionality have been dialled in. Blackwood will take many fans back to what is seen as the pinnacle in the Elder Scrolls saga, Oblivion. Me, well I just love the fact that I have more world to explore. And don’t have to do it alone.