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The Elder Scrolls Online
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
The Elder Scrolls Online is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) that requires players to play online with others to complete many missions. If players allow voice or text communication they may hear inappropriate language spoken by others. Action focuses on combat in which players use medieval weapons like swords and bows, as well as magical spells, to kill enemies. Foes often scream in pain and their wounds gush red blood. Sexual references -- including mention of rape -- exist within dialogue and texts found around the game world. Players can consume alcohol to the point of inebriation, resulting in a camera blurring effect.
- Parents say
- Kids say
It should have been rated Teen, the blood is mostly animated, not to bad, and it's stylized and is in no way over the top! You wont find the gruesome decaptitations from skyrim. A good comparison would be to guild wars 2, imagine that with a tad bit more blood. As far as sexual themes go, they are in there, but you will need to look pretty hard to find them. Its right around the level of games like Final Fantasy 14 and many JRPG's. Over all this is has a soft M rating, and should be at a lower rating.
What's it about?
After years of critically-acclaimed single-player games in The Elder Scrolls series, Bethesda Softworks has finally launched THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE, a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) based on the same award-winning franchise. Gamers can play online with friends in their homes or choose to adventure alone by setting out in a huge, open world and accepting quests. As with other RPGs, your character will earn experience (XP) points and become stronger in various areas, such as combat, as well as earn new abilities, weapons, armor, and helpful items. The choices you make -- including the characters you talk to, alliances you join, and quests you accept -- will shape the epic story. That story is set about 1,000 years before the events in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Three alliances have emerged, each one fighting for supremacy over the land, just as darker forces are moving to destroy the world. It's up to everyone playing to save Tamriel.
Is it any good?
The Elder Scrolls Online is generally a good game, but be aware a massive, open-ended MMORPG like this must be played for many weeks (or even months) before knowing if it's a worthwhile investment. As a result, consider this review a "first look" at this ambitious game rather than a deep dive. Still, so far, it's a lot of fun. It doesn't veer too far from other popular MMORPGs, such as World of Warcraft, but still offers a few new twists in a universe familiar to fans. For example, it features a smart real-time combat system that fuses strategy with action and is tailored to your individual character's class, abilities, and weapon loadout. It takes a bit getting used to, but targeting, attacking, and blocking become quite intuitive over a short time during which you'll likely encounter only low-level threats. While the game's huge world can be a bit daunting, a handy compass will guide you to areas of interest, including mission objectives, characters, events, and landmarks. The world has a look consistent with previous The Elder Scrolls games, complete with very impressive graphics, animation, and special effects. The voice acting and music is also superb.
Just keep in mind that you are now expected (but not necessarily required) to venture out and potentially chat with groups of friends in order to complete missions -- a clear departure from the single-player games in this 20 year-old franchise. There is also a PvP (player versus player) option for those who want to play more competitively than cooperatively. As with many other MMORPGs, especially when they first launch, there are some technical glitches, including characters that get stuck in or walk through objects (like walls), frozen screens, and even the occasional crash to desktop. But knowing the talented folks at Bethesda Softworks are behind the game, these issues will likely get smoothed out sooner than later. The Elder Scrolls Online might not reinvent the MMORPG genre, but the developers have added some nice new touches, along with an intriguing story, comfortable controls, and awesome graphics. After two decades of single-player-only adventures, this online game in The Elder Scrolls universe was well worth the wait.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. Is violence in a clearly fantasy-based game like The Elder Scrolls Online meaningfully different than that seen in more realistic and contemporary game worlds, like those of Grand Theft Auto V, inFAMOUS: Second Son and Saints Row IV? Be sure to read Common Sense Media's Violence in the Media section for insightful articles, blog posts and handy tips.
- Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid (The game's monthly subscription costs $14.99/month.)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Bethesda Softworks
- Release date: April 9, 2014
- Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG)
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Horses and Farm Animals, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.