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The Elder Scrolls Online review

The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) invites players to embark on a truly epic journey across the vibrant world of Tamriel in a massively multiplayer online (MMO) experience.  ESO expands the beloved Elder Scrolls lore and open-world exploration into an online format.  It is a sprawling online adventure that thrusts you headfirst into the heart of Tamriel, a continent teeming with life, danger, and countless stories and quests which are waiting to be unearthed.  Whether you yearn to unravel a world-ending prophecy, forge your own destiny as a fearless adventurer, bask in the beauty of a meticulously crafted world or even do a spot of fishing, the choices are endless!  Despite slightly dated character models, ESO offers a captivating online experience unlike any other.  Welcome to our Elder Scrolls Online review!

Not just another Elder Scrolls

For those of you who have played an Elder Scrolls game in the past, one of the first things you will be aware of is how open Elder Scrolls Online is.  You are free to explore the continent of Tamriel and every zone within however you choose.  Unbound by a linear narrative, you forge your own path, creating a truly immersive and distinct experience.

ESO’s combat system adopts a familiar action-RPG approach, reminiscent of Skyrim.  Players wield a variety of weapons and skills, weaving light and heavy attacks to take down enemies.  Blocking, dodging, and interrupting enemy attacks add a layer of strategic depth, rewarding proactive combat over button mashing.

Eso screenshot

Go wherever you please

Unlike traditional Elder Scrolls titles with a singular, linear narrative, ESO boasts a flexible structure.  This means that you can choose to take on quests on in any order you wish and aren’t forced to follow a linear narrative.  By adopting this approach, ESO subsequently encourages exploration far and wide.  You will almost always encounter NPCs who have quests for you to take on, ranging from simple one-step tasks to multi-step epic journeys that could take hours to complete.  Either way, there is something for everyone and depending on how you feel, you are free to do whatever you choose. Difficulty scaling occurs when playing with others in a party.  Enemies’ strength will be adjusted (increased) to suit the number of players participating in a battle.  This makes for a balanced experience every time.

The option to buy and sell items is ever-present, however, it is complicated and requires some further investigation to understand properly.  For example, players can buy items from, or sell items to, other players via NPC vendors.  As such, you may want to purchase a piece of armour from an NPC vendor.  However, upon inspecting their wares, you may then be presented with ten different options to buy the same piece of armour, all at varying prices and in different conditions from other players.  Whilst a nice concept, the execution is somewhat complicated.

Eso screenshot

Built to play together

Being an MMORPG, Elder Scrolls Online was quite literally built for multiplayer gameplay.  No matter where you are in-game, at which stage you’re at or which mission you are on, you will almost always see other players.  You can easily separate them from NPCs because they are the ones who will be sprinting across the vast landscape at close to the speed of light (or at least it seems that way).  They are usually on horseback and tend to have a pet in tow, desperately trying to keep up with them.

ESO can be played either solo or with others and it is always up to you which option you choose.  Some missions are best played with the help of others, namely difficult boss fights or battling large hordes of enemies.  On the other hand, some aspects of the game are perfectly suited to solo play such as retrieval missions or even puzzle solving.

When playing with others, ESO adjusts enemy strength via difficulty scaling.  Namely, the more players that are present in a particular party, the stronger the enemies will be in order to keep things fair and balanced.  Otherwise, battles will be far too easy if the enemy strength isn’t scaled from solo player levels.

Easy to get into, difficult to master

Dungeons, trials and PvP battlegrounds (yes, those are a thing in ESO) all demand teamwork and communication due to their complex nature.  That’s not to say that those types of game modes can’t be approached solo – they can.  They can also be beaten solo.  It’s just that if you do approach them solo, expect to die repeatedly, until the point where you are ready to smash your screen to pieces.  Before you do that, perhaps consider recruiting other players to assist.  ESO handles this very well indeed and multiplayer (party) gameplay feels rewarding and fun.

There are also guilds, which provide a social hub for players.  They offer cooperative activities, shared resources and a (generally) friendly atmosphere.  Guilds can range in size and focus, catering to casual players who may dip in and out as and when they can, through to hardcore raiders seeking to conquer the whole of Tamriel!  Whatever your scenario, there is probably a suitable guild that caters for you.

Endless replayability

After a decade, Elder Scrolls Online still boasts incredible, near-endless levels of replayability.  This is mostly due to (near-)annual releases of additional chapters, each featuring vast amounts of content such as new quests, side quests, storylines and challenges to overcome.

There is a decent character creation system and diverse skill builds which all encourage experimentation in terms of what you can enable your character to do.  It is also tempting to experiment further by selecting skills and traits that you might not normally adopt, thus challenging yourself to see if, perhaps, you might enjoy playing the game in an entirely new way.  Whether you choose to create a strong, powerful character for battle or a stealthy assassin for sneaky solo play, the choices are endless.

Still up to par

Even though a decade has passed since Tamriel first graced our screens, its beauty remains timeless and it still looks stunning even by today’s standards.

Conversely, character models and some animations can often fall short, lacking the detail and polish seen in more modern titles.  Despite this, ESO’s art style remains strong and beautifully sells and emphasises the fantasy setting to players.

In terms of sound, few do it better than ESO.  Featuring orchestral pieces that perfectly capture the epic scope of Tamriel, rousing scores which accompany moments of triumph and haunting melodies that underline moments of danger, ESO is up there with the very best titles in the genre.  Every aspect of the sound design has been meticulously sculpted to complement players’ experiences no matter what they choose to do in-game.  With impactful weapon sounds, environmental sound effects (such as splashing water or the sound of footsteps on wooden floors) and well-aced voiceovers bringing the world to life, ESO sounds both distinctive and utterly amazing at all times.


Elder Scrolls Online offers a compelling experience that captures the essence of the Elder Scrolls Universe.  Despite featuring weapons that often feel too light (you can swing a greataxe with the same amount of ease as wielding a dagger) and with visuals which aren’t cutting edge by today’s standards, the vast world, engaging combat and diverse activities create an enticing world for both solo and multiplayer gameplay alike.

The ESO community remains one of the most positive in the gaming world today and this aspect is part of what helps propel ESO above most other MMORPG titles as it encourages players to continue to return to the game.

With a flexible narrative structure (allowing you to play the game however you choose), a constant stream of new content and a positive, thriving community, ESO rewards dedication and exploration.  Players seeking a sprawling adventure in Tamriel will find themselves immersed in a world brimming with lore, gripping stories and challenging activities.  It is easy to become overwhelmed at first with the sheer amount of things to do and a complex menu system to navigate.  However, given time, these aspects are easily overcome which leaves nothing but an incredible adventure waiting to be embarked upon.


  • Sprawling, detailed word of Tamriel.
  • Flexible narrative structure allows for customised exploration.
  • Engaging combat system.
  • Diverse range of activities.
  • Robust character creation options.
  • Thriving, positive community with little toxicity.
  • Regular content updates.


  • New players can become overwhelmed with how much there is to do.
  • Incredibly complex menu system and options can be overwhelming to new players.
  • Character models and animations are dated.
  • Some weapons feel too light to handle.

Grade: 8.5

The Elder Scrolls Online is currently available through Boosteroid, GeForce Now, PlayStation Cloud Gaming and Xbox Cloud Gaming. This review was made by Mus from PapaBear Gaming. You can check out his channel right here. You can follow him on Twitter by going here. That was it for our Elder Scrolls Online review.