The Elder Scrolls 3: Tribunal
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When It comes to pure escapism nothing beats Morrowind. The open-ended nature of the game makes it an RPG of the purest kind. Earn your bread as a bounty hunter; join the army; be a thief; live in the woods as a mushroom eating weirdo... In Morrowind you do what the hell you want - and that's why we love it.
So it comes as a jolt to our sense of freedom to discover developer Bethesda has made Tribunal a relatively linear affair. All the action is confined to the city of Moumhold; a claustrophobic urban environment consisting of a palace, four districts and a variety of dungeons and sewers. Tribunal offers none of the sense of scale that made Morrowind such a thoroughly awe-inspiring experience.
The story is a quagmire of political conspiracies based around the city's two main factions: the Imperial Monarchy and supporters of Almalexia (an immortal God from Morrowind). When you first arrive in the city, you must decide which faction to pledge allegiance to. Those wishing to get the most out of this add-on can join both sides and encumber themselves with the kind of double-dealing lifestyle that would make the plot of Mission: Impossible look like an episode of Teletubbies.
However, Mournhold doesn't offer any guilds, so mushroom and flower collecting distractions are low. On the plus side, it means Tribunal's sub-quests come thick and fast and, despite there being fewer NPCs than in the original, most characters you encounter have tasks for you to perform. Combat-based quests featuring new monsters form the majority of these, but there are some interesting surprises too; performing a play for the local amateur dramatics society (where you have two minutes to memorise your lines before a performance, and if you mistype your lines you get killed) is an unexpected break from RPG tradition.
Smoothly Does It
Tribunal also solves a few logistical problems. Firstly, the journal has been reorganised making it easier to see which quests you're currently undertaking. Secondly, the framerate has been tweaked, so the game runs more smoothly. You can now also have up to three henchmen, and you can buy pets to carry more items. Crucially, all the changes provided by the v1.2 patch are present, which means, among other things, you get to see your enemies hit points.
However, Tribunal is slightly disappointing, simply because it's so much more linear than Morrowind. Then again, those who like direction may consider this an improvement. Either way, Tribunal offers something different, and ultimately that's exactly what an add-on pack should do. It's low on mushroom power and a bit too brief for powerful characters, but in terms of plot and entertainment it's an essential buy.
Download The Elder Scrolls 3: Tribunal
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP