Parents' Guide to

The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset

By Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Elven content poses timely moral questions.

Game Mac , PlayStation 4 , Windows , Xbox One 2018
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The Elder Scrolls series is known for its rich storytelling, and the latest online incarnation of its world of Tamriel is just as engrossing as the one found offline. The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset takes place in the lands of the always popular High Elves; their enduring popularity among players makes them a no-brainer when it comes to subject matter for an expansion. Not only are they glamorous and elegant -- effectively Tamriel's equivalent of nobility -- but their history is mysteriously ancient, and their lands are what fantasy lovers' dreams are made of. That said, there's a dark side to all the glamour and beauty, which makes for some thought-provoking adventure. Early on, it becomes all too apparent that the Altmer are an arrogant, racist people, unsympathetic to the plight of others. With their queen having opened the borders against the people's will, they're quick to let you and everyone who's not a High Elf know just how unwelcome you are in their country.

Their behavior and the game's overall theme is extremely timely, and both offer a great way to start some important discussions with kids. By taking this subject on, The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset makes quests more than just excuses to kill things and earn gold; they become litmus tests of your empathy and compassion. Yes, there's still a lot of violence, blood, and death in this expansion, which makes it inappropriate for younger players, but it's set within a thoughtful context that makes you consider what you're doing and what the consequences of your actions might be. In addition to that, it makes free-form exploration fun and rewarding. If it deserves any critique at all, it's for the often-confusing map/quest-tracking function that can make finding your objectives harder than it should be. Still, this is a great expansion, even for players completely new to The Elder Scrolls Online, and mature story-loving role players will kick themselves if they miss it.

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