For those who came to the series at Skyrim first, you might want to look back at some of the earlier games. Because if you enjoyed that game, you’re going to be over the moon about some of the others.
5. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Oblivion struggled a little with a less-than-compelling storyline, some technical issues above and beyond Skyrim as it was on (at the time) new consoles, and a silly levelling system that meant your opponents would become more powerful as you did; rendering experience somewhat redundant.
But still, a great game, and the first Elder Scrolls game that could genuinely be called “pretty.”
4. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
On the other hand, the game is one of breathtaking scope. Rare is the game where I can spend an hour, if not more, just reading the in-game books of lore that have come from the previous four games. Every time I came across a bookshelf I felt a need to read each and every tome, because this is a breathing world with a real sense of history about it.
It was also good to see Bethesda step back to the more open structure in Skyrim. Oblivion had me a bit worried the series was heading in a more linear direction.
3. Elder Scrolls I: Arena
Predictably, it looks terrible by modern standards too, making Arena the only game that we can’t really recommend to people to play now, unless you’ve got a strong fondness for retro RPG-visuals. There’s no way to fast travel, either, so you’ll be doing a lot of wandering through a rather ugly wilderness.
And yet, this is the game that started it all. Exploring the roots of the entire series, and experiencing some of the events you read about in books in later games helps give the entire series context, so it’s worth braving through the game just for that.
2. Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
By comparison the sequel, Morrowind (roughly the same size as Oblivion and Skyrim), has 0.01 per cent of that amount of content. Of course, Daggerfall is a story of quantity over quality; about 749,900 of those NPCs fail to add much to the experience and you’ll only need to visit a tiny fraction of the game to finish it, but for people who like to simply explore, there’s a lot of generic environment to experience here.
Daggerfall deserves to be played for its sheer ambition. This is still the biggest RPG of all time, with a world that tries its hardest to be believable in a fantasy fashion. Does it always succeed? No, but this is a game you can lose yourself in like none other, nonetheless.
1. Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
It also has the finest soundtrack ever written, thanks to the brilliant Jeremy Soule. So good, in fact, that while Oblivion and Skyrim were also his work, and pull themes from the Morrowind score, they’ve failed to top it. Beautiful ambient music that perfectly suited the fantasy universe that people were playing in; Morrowind’s score is a brilliant example of how important music is to a game.
Morrowind was also the moment where the Elder Scrolls universe started to take a solid form of its own. The first two games introduced players to some of this history and the personalities of the universe, but Morrowind was the first game that felt like there was depth and a history that extended past the player’s own narrative.
Morrowind is a game that desperately deserves a HD remake. There’s still a lot of people that need to explore what is a honest contender for the greatest game of all time.
So, how many of the Elder Scrolls games have you played? Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments!