Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Elder Scrolls Anthology

The Elder Scrolls Anthology




My first Elder Scrolls game started with Oblivion as I never had a system to run the previous ones, but it was pretty easy to get into the previous three and explore the first worlds and lore that has been set for the Elder Scrolls universe. The Anthology does a great job combining all five games with all the expansions in one package, along with the maps and an Elder Scrolls Online sticker.

Still, I miss physical manuals. Oblivion's manual is one of my favorites for any game, and I don't think paying $80 should include a piece of paper that tells me to go online to find them. This is nitpicking, and doesn't warrant removing a star.

So, what comes in the box?

DVDs for:

Elder Scrolls: Arena and a DOS emulator (this game came out in 1994)

Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, also with a DOS emulator (1996)

Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind with Bloodmoon and Tribunal expansions (2002)

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion with Shivering Isles and Knights of the Nine and other minor expansions

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with Hearthfire, Dragonborn, and Dawnguard expansions

Also included, 5 maps for the different areas of each game, but no Shivering Isles map:

Skyrim (Skyrim)

Cyrodil (Oblivion)

Vardenfell (Morrowind)

Hammerfell (Arena and Daggerfall)

Tamriel (all games)

A Steam account is required to activate Skyrim, even if installing from the DVD; this is not required for the other 4 games. If you've never used Steam, it does NOT require a 100% always-on Internet connection, only an initial one to create an account, then activate and download the game. A Steam Key is included, and will also add Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim to your Steam account, but you can install all the games (excluding Skyrim) without Steam if desired.

Since Arena and Daggerfall are available for download for free from the official Elder Scrolls website, you're only paying for Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim and all the associated expansions. On Steam (as of 9/10/2013), Elder Scrolls 3-5 costs $104 with all the expansions included, so $80 is a nice deal for anyone looking to jump right into the series. If you already have Skyrim with all the DLC, then the Anthology isn't worth the money unless you like nice looking boxes on your shelf and all your games in disc form.

The overall quality is good. The box feels solid and has that Elder Scrolls look. The maps are glossy photo-type paper, but are also folded which means they come with creases. It might be asinine to expect them to ship the maps in a tube instead of finding a way of putting them into the game box itself, but it would still be nice to be able to put them on the wall without having a tic-tac-toe box on them.

You also get a few glamour shots and a short synopsis of each game printed on the disk "booklet" that contains all the DVDs. This is good for knowing what you're getting into, and reminding you what the particular game is all about.

Overall, would I suggest the Elder Scrolls Anthology to someone? The answer is yes, but only if you're a die-hard fan or don't own any (or at least most) of the games. It has solid quality, nice maps, and a cheaper price, so it's a great combination and as time goes on will be an even better deal than it is today. However, if you already own Skyrim with all its expansions, it's probably cheaper to buy the GOTY editions of Morrowind/Oblivion and find the different maps online.