A spectacular successor to The Elder Scrolls: Arena which introduces the fantasy world of Tamriel to RPGers, Daggerfall is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious and in-depth RPGs ever created. |
As a single-player, real-time RPG, Daggerfall is literally packed with fantasy RPG elements and features, in addition to a HUGE 3D gameworld that encompasses millions of square miles, including dungeons, ruins, snow-filled plains, and even underwater(!) areas. Unlike most RPGs which are quite linear, Daggerfall virtually lets you create your own RPG story. You can be a valiant paladin, traditional protector of virtues. Or be a dark elf mercenary, wandering from town to town on horseback, with your bow always at the ready. You can even become a carefree thief, making your living by stealing valuables from people's houses at night. Similar to Darklands, there is an overarching, uber plot you can follow to see the game's "ending," but you can just as easily spend countless hours following literally hundreds of sub-quests in the game.
One of Daggerfall's hallmarks is the character creation system, which gives you unprecedented control over the process. Start off by choosing your race, background, class (or you can design your own), skills, physical attributes, and so on. You can even choose what your character is allergic to, hates, likes, etc., and all of these choices will effect gameplay. There are also no less than 27 different skills that your character can learn and use in the game, ranging from the serious to the frivolous. If that's not enough, Daggerfall is chock full of magical spells, weapons, armor, and magical artifacts. You can even create your own custom magical spells and items - the first fantasy RPG to offer this feature.
Of course, the game will be quite boring if there isn't much you can do with such an arsenal of weapons and spells. Fortunately, the world of Tamriel is brimming with life. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of NPCs to talk to and glean information from. Text dialog is used extensively in the game, and fans of TES: Arena will be happy to know that the repetitive, "stock" dialogue text that made most NPCs in Arena seem like clones of one another is gone. NPCs are much more diverse and interesting in Daggerfall, and even remember your previous dealings with them. Add to that a great 3D graphics engine (with weather effects such as rain and snow nicely simulated), countless monsters to slay, and many fascinating locations to discover, and you won't want to leave the world of Tamriel.
Daggerfall is one of the few RPGs that truly deserve the term "epic." If you are a hardcore RPGer who prefer a vast, virtually non-linear game to one with tightly-knit storyline, Daggerfall is the nirvana you've been waiting for, and a bona fide classic in every respect. Too bad the sequel Battlespire is very disappointing. Here's hoping that the upcoming next game in the series, long-awaited Morrowwind, will be a true heir to Daggerfall legacy.
Note: As if the game's mind-boggling length isn't enough, Bethesda released a "special patch" for the game (for CompUSA) that adds several new extra quests, new artifacts, and a lot more cool secrets to the game. Shortly after that, the patch was made available to everyone from Bethesda's ftp server. However, there is now ALSO a complete recreation of this massive game, called Daggerfall Unity, with a huge amount of mostly optional added or improved features, rebalancing and bug fixes available. As of writing this, this version has just reached a feature-complete beta. It's officially THE way to play the game going forwards. Moreover, since the game was made freeware some years ago, you can get all the necessary game files without even having to pay anything off the same downloads page, link below.
Reviewed by: Underdogs