Last weekend, I had the enormous pleasure of gathering up all my old Xbox stuff and passing it on to a friend for his children to enjoy. Pulling my old games off the shelf, I encountered Morrowind and quite suddenly was struck by what an enormous waste the game represented. A fantastically detailed, living, breathing fantasy world over which you could walk or fly in its entirety, exploring to your hearts content. And yet, in spite of running several characters over many hours of play, I never finished it because the game was fundamentally flawed.
Some of those flaws are well documented. The character building system was fatally undermined by the ease with which you could build super-powerful characters, and by the way it sidelined mages. A senseless economic system that forced players to either beggar themselves or utilise built-in Easter Eggs. But those, surely, should be nothing more than a minor annoyances in a game that’s defined largely by its immense scope and story. As I stood there gazing down at the box it occurred to me that the game was in fact simply crushed under the weight of its own ambition.