domingo, 25 de septiembre de 2016

Morrowind Mod Review: The Lamp

Amidst a sea of flashy mods, there are some works that reach a balance between originality and classic feel. The Lamp is one of them. It adds new intrigues that develop in a very Morrowind-like way and, together with its restrained use of official models, achieve an atmosphere that fits right in. Though it isn’t dialogue heavy, its narrative utilizes other tricks —notes and posters, new items and scripts— to engross the player. As the history progresses, it calls upon old concepts and myths with a fresh implementation. Opting for quality before quantity, this mod develops a compelling story very similar to the official ones.

It all begins in Gnisis, where an otherwise unimportant vendor has acquired an ancient cracked lamp. Talking to her, we’re given our first impression on dialogue, which is short and direct; people won't delve too much on details. However, The Lamp soon exposes its other ways to accomplish narrative deepness. For example: after a certain quest and a short trip to Vivec, new NPCs and notes start to appear in Gnisis; the situation develops vividly in front of us. These situations branch out of known plot devices such as the wayward slave or the treacherous genie. Nonetheless, they never feel boring or predictable; familiarity and novelty blend together flawlessly.

The Lamps art direction is superb. Daedric and Imperial architecture tied together, candles floating on dark voids, big banquet rooms with locked doors, random clutter arranged in strange positions. Together, these elements create a surrealism that brings forth memories of horrible nightmares, claustrophobia, and sweat. As a complement, there are some simple —but accurate— scripts, which add the action required to transform ‘’dream-like scenarios’’ into real dreams. Some customs items further reinforce this notion, adding a certain degree of realism; a First Era party without Akaviri wine is not a party after all.

There’s plenty of gameplay, too. Players have to navigate through fights, dialogue, and puzzles to reach the end. Puzzles, in particular, are intricate and tasteful; they’re difficult but fair, and each one has some sort of hint. My favorite one involves the use of spectral glasses; something I found innovative.

Although we do find some special items, The Lamp doesn’t throw rewards as candies. In fact, there are only a few prizes of mention. One is an amulet, the other is the rare Gondolier’s Helm —without having to kill a gondolier—, and the last is a companion whose worth was disregarded by this review’s previous version.

This companion is an interesting addition that makes The Lamp qualify as a quest mod and as a companion mod. Its look is unimpressive and mundane. But, under its fur, there’s a great amount of well-crafted dialogues. As a result our new friend is quite talky, and its quotes change depending on our current location, time, and several factors. Some of its quotes subtly break the fourth wall and are funny. Hereby, to click restlessly and see if I can get some new words out of him is something I do now and then.

Most errors I pointed out in the previous version are gone. Excluding a script that doesn’t open a door as it should, the mod feels seamless. There’s a room that causes FPS to drop, but that’s more on my technical side.

The ending is powerful, and showcases the strength of converging stories in its entire splendor. It really surprises you how two independent affairs are slowly weaved together, and a strong and compelling story is made. The Lamp has a quality that just prompts you to find more about it. And I’ll do the same. Recommended for levels between 10 and 15, just check it out. You’ll like it.

Rating : 9/10

Click here to download The Lamp from the Nexus.

Additional Screenshots

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