The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle Review
The latest chapter to appear in the popular MMORPG from Bethesda and ZeniMax Online Studios is The Elder Scrolls Online: High Islewhich brings players to the ancestral homeland of Ancient Scrolls‘ Breton race for the first time. Based on Western Europe and medieval England, High Isle serves as a vacation destination for the rich and powerful of Tamriel and is expected to be the site of peace talks between the various alliances in an effort to end the Three Banners War. . There, players will investigate a secret order of knights called the Ascending Order that is trying to sabotage the peace talks and keep Tamriel in conflict. Additionally, players will explore the mysterious Amenos, a prison island with lush jungle that treated prisoners cannot leave.
The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle understands all the familiar trappings of others ESO extensions, such as a brand new decor; more than 30 hours of quests; a new core gameplay feature; new delves, dungeons, world events and world bosses; new items and sets to discover and craft; and new companions to recruit. As with the previous ESO expansions, even players completely new to the MMO can start with high island and have the same rewarding experience as a veteran player. Of all the previous expansions, High Isle might be the most immersive, including small setting details like Ornaugs swooping out of the water like dolphins, bards singing aboard the smaller gondola-style boats in the bay of Gonfalon and incoming and outgoing ships on the horizon. Small details like these help the setting feel even more lived in and immersive than that of previous expansions and give High Isle its distinctly lively feel.
Contrary to black wood last year, which focused on the Daedric Prince Mherunes Dagon and a series of apocalyptic quests, The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle takes a smaller-scale approach that feels more manageable and contained. Many elements of this expansion, including core gameplay functionality Tales of Tribute, new companions Ember and Isobel, and public events like digs and dungeons work incredibly well and are a lot of fun to boot. Although not everything concerns high island works, the extension is overall well designed and one of the best elder scrolls online expansions offered in recent years, continuing the trend of ESO improves with every major update.
Each elder scrolls online chapter comes with a new core mechanism, and from High Isle new feature is the Tales of Tribute tavern game. Similar to Gwent in The Witcher 3, this deck-building card game is a simple yet addictive way to pass the time in Tamriel. Players will use cards worth gold to purchase new cards from the central stack, the Tavern, and must gain enough power to convert to prestige and beat their opponent. Alternatively, players can choose to make sacrifices to the four patrons on the right side of the screen and, if favored by all four, win by default, regardless of the final prestige score. Players start with four standard decks of cards, based on the initial four bosses. They can unlock four other Tales of Tribute decks by participating in digs and dungeons around the world, earning achievements, or increasing their Tales of Tribute rank.
High Isle has a full game room where players can battle NPCs, and players can challenge each other in PvP matches. Other hub towns around Tamriel have a Tales of Tribute club presence, and players can complete daily quests by playing matches against some of the NPCs in hub areas. This feature feels like it changes the world in a significant way, spilling over to other chapters and areas in the base game. It’s a shame that Tales of Tribute is only available through DLC, as it looks like it would be a welcome base game feature. Despite the game running smoothly and being addictive, it doesn’t seem big enough to serve as the main addition to a paid DLC chapter.
The main story of The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle is something of a return to form for the series, trading in a Daedric doomsday plot like that of black wood for a more contained story of political intrigue. Despite this, the story is by far the weakest part of the new chapter. Players follow Lady Arabelle Davaux, the author of the Investigator Vale novels, as she tries to keep the peace talks on track and later investigates the Ascending Order. There is stealth as well as plenty of combat throughout the Systres Archipelago. The story itself feels incredibly short and quest-heavy, forcing players to retrace their steps incredibly frequently and making it imperative that they find every High Isle shrine as quickly as possible for an easier journey. While there are rewards for completing main story quest stages, these often seem disappointing compared to what players can earn by participating in digs, world events, and dungeons.
To its credit, the story attempts to weigh in on the area, even going so far as to alter the landscape of the High Isle somewhat. Unfortunately, like many quests through The Elder Scrolls Online, the story just lacks the gravity it wants to have and ends up feeling quite insignificant despite its impressive levels of lore. The Ascended Lord, as advertised in some trailers and promotional material, is not actually identified in this chapter; instead, his second-in-command, the Ascendant Magus, serves as the primary antagonist. There are indications that the Ascended Lord could appear as the big bad in a later chapter or DLC, but that might put off some players who were expecting a major reveal at the end of the game. high island and ultimately makes the story less fulfilling.
Outside of the main story, however, High Isle introduces new dungeons, depths, and world events that are great fun to experience. In a dig, players enter the Firepot, an area that seems normal at first but turns into the heart of an underground volcano as the party ventures out. In another, players will face off against a jailer on Amenos who allows clients to hunt prisoners for sport. Enemies in the depths are tough but can be faced solo or with a companion, and the rewards for defeating them are often worth it. New Elder Scrolls Online: High Island world event, Volcanic Vents, is also explosive and well designed. This event pits groups of players against hordes of fire-based creatures like the Atronachs and Vulk’esh as they aid the druids of Stonelore in an attempt to seal the vents.
Finally, dungeons offer a mix of experiences, including pirate-themed events like Dreadsail Reef and Ghost Haven Bay, and Breton ruins like Spire of the Crimson Coin. The pirate theme fits right in with the rest of the High Isle infrastructure, and these co-op experiences are, like most public events in elder scrolls onlinehighlights of the new chapter.
The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle introduces two new companions to the year-old companion system: Ember, a Khajit wizard with a somewhat gray morality, and Isobel Veloise, an aspiring Breton Templar knight who follows a more chivalrous moral code. These two characters are a highlight of the expansion, adding several interesting side quests to the main story and giving solo players more freedom to participate in difficult quests like digs and world events. The two companions have three separate personal quests that players unlock over time after establishing their relationship. Like Bastian and Mirri in The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood, players are free to build Ember and Isobel to fit the type of character (tank, DPS, or healer) they need in their party. Ember and Isobel feel significantly more fleshed out than their black wood counterparts, and their stories are immersive and rewarding to complete.
The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle It might not be a total home run, but it’s another solid MMORPG installment despite its weak story. High Isle itself is a beautifully realized location that feels more alive than other settings thanks to the art team’s incredible attention to detail, and the gameplay is great fun where it matters most. The inclusion of Tales of Tribute works beautifully, and the game itself was clearly well designed and executed. However, it could have been even stronger as a core game feature that all players could enjoy. It could have added to the social aspects of elder scrolls online giving players more to do during gameplay in addition to group battle encounters. Players probably haven’t seen the last of the Ascending Order and its leader in elder scrolls online expansions, and time will tell if dragging out the reveal of the Ascendant Lord’s identity was a worthwhile decision. In the meantime, fans will likely find plenty to like. The Elder Scrolls Online: high island which add welcome variety and lore to Tamriel, and are well worth checking out.
Next: Elder Scrolls Online High Isle Preview: Welcome to Paradise
The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle is now available for PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. Screen Rant received a Steam code for the purposes of this review.
Destiny 2: How to Beat Nightfall Corrupt GM
About the Author