The Elder Scrolls: Arena (Bethesda Softworks, 1994)

The Elder Scrolls: Arena is one of the few truly vast CRPGs ever created. With an enormous world to explore that rivals that of the early Ultima and Might and Magic games, nearly every game element is very flexible, making it reminiscent of the original pen and paper RPGs that were popular so long ago. Arena, in addition to being enormously expansive in terms of land area also has some unique features to specifically distinguish it from other games in the genre, including a spellmaker to expand your spellbook nearly infinitely and creative character generation along the lines of that in Ultima IV: The Quest of the Avatar. However, most of the games problems are also related to the scope of the game, as it is, more often than not, practically too vast to be playable. Foot travel between towns is time consuming and more than a little pointless, and the smaller tasks and quests between the quests that define the main plot of the game become repetitive very quickly. But, Arena does have great graphic detail, creating a rich and full gaming experience. A good dose of challenge makes The Elder Scrolls: Arena worthy of play by CRPG fans of all types.

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