Previously on LG , I reviewed the first chapter in the Popular Elders Girls Series Arena from 1994 which was somewhat of a mixed bag of game play .
It was a landmark title in many ways , but in all the other ways , it was a game that I found to be more tedious and irritating rather than captivating and enjoyable .
Nonetheless , the foundation for an amazing computer role playing experience was there and development of a sequel began immediately .
The result was the Elder Skills Chapter Two , Dagger Fall developed and published by Bethesda Softworks in 1996 for MS Dos pcs and Holy Slaughter Fish .
This is the grand scale open world role playing game for Dos .
I was hoping for the awesomeness starts with this incredibly cool holli foil box that's become quite a collector's piece in its own right ?
Often commanding prices of $100 or more for a minty fresh complete example .
Return again to the world of Tamriel , the largest world ever created for a computer role playing game .
And you'd better believe it as Dagger Fall remains one of the single largest game worlds to this day with over 15,000 towns and 62,394 square miles of landscape to explore .
It had gained legendary status even before it released with the gaming press , fearing it was taking too long to develop due to feature creep and high ambitions , man , that two year development cycle was just way too much time to wait for the biggest game ever made inside the box .
You get the game on a CD ROM since even an army of floppy discs couldn't hope to hold all the content this time .
A floppy helped with patching though because as Bethesda tradition mandates the game was released with tons of game breaking bugs and glitches and like a horny dog , they needed fixing .
You also get a fold out advertisement for the Dagger Fall Chronicle's Book of Knowledge , hint book , a product catalog and some registration thingies , an installation guide because doss is the son of a gun in windows 95 .
It even more enjoyable as well as a 90 page manual and just like arena .
This thing is chock full of lore control schemes , character creation tips and other gameplay tidbits .
It doesn't contain any copy protection schemes this time since it relies on the CD to do that , but hold on to it anyway , since the game is just so freaking big that even a substantial manual barely scratches .
The surface .
Dagger full begins with some shiny scaling logos letting you know that somewhere enough daggers have fallen for , went to have taken notice and made a game out of the idea .
You then get a familiar menu screen .
If you've played the previous game , letting you begin load and quit with things like graphic and sound options becoming available in game .
Starting a new game works in practically the same way as it did in arena , choose your character's homeland province to determine their race , choose your gender , to determine your nads and choose a class either by selecting from a list or taking a survey straight out of an alternate reality retail job application .
There are an impressive 18 premade classes to choose from , but even more impressive is that you're now able to create your own class from scratch .
Primary major and minor skills advantages , weaknesses , reputation , stats and more .
It's a role playing dream smeared all over your screen .
Finally , the world will know the might of the ax wielding backstabbing Harpies is known as the really stupid class .
After choosing your name and premade face , Sprite , it's time to roll your stats and then roll them again and again and again until you end up with something awesome or just give up and dump some extra points into strength and endurance and call it a day .
Finally , you get something the first game sorely needed reflex adjustment .
It has nothing to do with stomach acid and it's actually how fast the game's enemies attack you .
And in turn , how quickly you gain experience points after this , you're dropped into the game's first cut scene , which isn't nearly as enjoyable to watch as Arena's Barrage of Hair Metal and Jagermeister .
The story is told through a boring book animation that's too blurry to read the words from and a boring full motion video snippet that's too dark and granny to make much out the gist is that after the events of Arena Emperor Urethra Scrotum the seventh has called you over to his place in the middle of the night .
Apparently you guys are tight , but it's not a booty call .
And instead it's a call to action as it turns out the king of the Dagger Fall province known as La Sandi has a minor problem .
He's dead .
Not only is he dead people out by haunting the kingdom as a ghost crying foul over something that needs revenge .
Since Ridin is not available , you need to go down there with a proton pack and make sure the gates of oblivion don't hit him on the way out .
Oh , yeah .
And the emperor sent a letter like forever ago to the queen of Dagger Fall .
That was apparently pretty saucy , but it never arrived .
And you know , it's probably nothing but bro .
To bro , you should probably find it destroyed at all costs .
Not mean there are six distinct ways to finish this main storyline .
But if course how you get there or even if you get there at all is up to you before anything happens though , on the way to Dagger fall , your boat wrecks and you're washed into a cave and trapped by a mudslide .
Of course , this is convenient since it's time to learn the ropes of your new digital obsession , you can play a tutorial if you're really unfamiliar with the series of this style of gameplay , but it's non interactive .
So just bumbling around with the keyboard in one hand and the manual in the other works just as well .
While the user interface look very similar to Arena , Dagger Fall uses a new game engine known as X engine , the same one used in Bethesda's Terminator games , Future Shock and Skynet .
As a result , the world uses polygonal 3d graphics this time allowing for more varied level design , 3d objects instead of just sprites and the ability to look around freely with the mouse .
Of course , you can still control and play it exactly like arena if you want to .
And thankfully it plays better than that game did using this method .
And thank goodness , the dungeons aren't nearly as dark as they were in arena either meaning you can actually see enemies when they're hitting you more than five ft away .
But even with control set up and core engine changes , the game play itself remains more or less the same crawl around dungeons swatting at progressively more vile creatures with whatever weapons you have gain experience level up repeat other than everything being the same , everything is different .
The biggest of which being that the entire aggression and leveling system has been overhauled in order to fall more in line with the term role playing in the phrase action , role playing experience is now gained in each skill as you use it rather than just adding on to a comprehensive set of abilities .
So the more you sneak around , the quicker you'll level up your stealth skill and the more you hack dudes up with a Claymore , the quicker you'll level up your Claymore hacking up dudes skill .
And that kind of thing gaining proficiency in Singular is as you use them , makes way more logical sense anyway .
And it's something that's stuck with the elder scrolls games to this day .
But how does actually making use of those skills work ?
You ask ?
Well , the game has earned a master's degree in the field of awkwardness .
The combat in particular fighting is still just as clumsy as arena when it comes to using your weapon and praying to akitas , it hits even when you're right up against an enemy and are smacking it over the head enough times to knock sense into a maligned child actor that turned 18 .
It's all about dice rolls and statistics that are being calculated with every swing .
And unfortunately , that just doesn't translate very well here , especially with these stiff animations that provide little to no feedback and whatever though you get used to it .
And it definitely improves about a half dozen levels in .
So just try to enjoy those dungeons for all their worth and good grief , they're worth a lot .
Now , seeing as even the pre built ones are filled with randomized loot every time you play and the others are randomly generated their entirety .
The engine allows for far more complex dungeons this time around too .
As noted by the auto generated 3d map , sloped hallways , caverns , prison cells , walkways , staircases , hidden passages and more away to you at every turn .
And yeah , sometimes there really is something different at every turn , albeit with the same basic wall texture which can make navigating these places a real chore .
The map helps and isn't valuable in finding the exit .
But even this is a bit convoluted and sometimes these places just confuse and annoy you to no end .
And I've run across a dungeon or few with spots that you can get stuck in or areas that you can't reach at all due to the procedurally generated nature failing .
So even if the manual encourages you not to save and reload too often , so as not to break your role playing immersion , you'll definitely want to do so a lot in these labyrinthine layers because Murphy's law is alive and well in Tamriel at long last , you'll reach the end of one of these things and from here you're free to do anything freaking anything seriously want to run for miles and miles just to see what you find .
Want to travel to the nearest town and sell your wares for some of that sweet cheddar .
Want to sneak into people's homes and steal their everything .
Maybe join the thieves guild and make it legit .
You want to buy your own freaking house and give the finger .
Uriel Septum's Quest , drinking beer and reading rare books all day .
You can do all of this and much , much more .
If Arena was more of a classic dungeon crawl C RPG with fantasy life simulation elements .
Dagger Fall is arguably more a fantasy life simulator with dungeon crawl C RPG elements .
While some might consider this distracting from the core game play me .
Well , I kind of love it sometimes I just want to buy a horse and go riding around looking for trouble and then find it at the end of my sword , meeting some poor citizen's skull and I proceed to try and outrun the town guards but get caught and go to court to try and plead my case before serving a year long prison sentence .
And after that , I'll buy a boat because screw it .
Life is short .
And I've got the money or at least the loans from the bank .
Yeah , you can straight up live in this fantasy world and I can't think of many if any other games that went this far back then granted these are all side activities and the meat of the game really does revolve around receiving quests from strangers and various authorities and carrying out their orders , you know , fetch a thing , steal a thing , kill a thing , deliver a thing , all those things , it is what it is .
They get repetitive and sometimes they're downright confusing but the is par for the course in any open ended RPG .
And with an older one like this , you can expect these limitations and you've got plenty of incentive which is to gain more experience and resources so you can get better armor craft and learn more spells .
Meet more people , get more quests and generally become a social outcast as your friends forget you exist because you've taken up residence in front of your computer and man , there is so much more .
But the main to take away from all this is that Dagger Fall gives you so many options that it's almost impossible to lack something to do unless you just have zero imagination or just haven't been paying attention .
The ad's often clunky , unforgiving , glitchy and sometimes broken beyond repair , but it's still worth checking out .
Not only to see how deep the series roots go , but to just get lost in an old school virtual world that's genuinely interesting to explore and live a life in and you can play it for free too since Bethesda released it as freeware years ago on their website .
Not only that but fan made patches and programs like Dagger Fall set up have fixed the worst of the problems with the game and made it simple to install and play on modern systems .
And if you want a physical copy , but don't want to shell out however much Dagger Fall is going for .
Now , you can always grab the Elder Anthology which may not include all the original goodness this came with , but it's still something to have and put on your shelf and look cool , truthfully , you just don't have much of an excuse not to at least try dagger fall anymore .
So if you haven't , then go ahead and do it now before I break into your house while the guards aren't looking and flail at you with an enchanted battle ax .
And if you like more videos that give me an excuse to flail at you with enchanted weapons and possibly convince you that old school boxes that waste resources on cardboard and plastic are more cool than anything else today .
Then feel free to check out some of my other videos .
I do a lot of them .
I've covered Elder Scrolls Arena and I'm probably going to be covering some more of the games later on on in the future .
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