We’ve all had those rare and special games that have come along at just the right moments in our lives that have touched and impacted us in some incredible and profound way. A game that redefines your favorite genre, publisher, and who you are as a gamer. These games will always invoke some form of loyalty, for you will hear no ill talk of it, and will always support future related titles. For many it’s franchises like The Legend of Zelda, World of Warcraft, or Metal Gear Solid. For others it’s some independent title that was just the right game at the right time. For me, it was an unknown game that I took a random chance on the day I got my original Xbox. Although I had played many great games on just about every platform, this one would change the way I saw video games forever. It was The ElderScrolls III: Morrowind. And I, like many other gamers who found this masterpiece along their gaming journey, have been loyal to Bethesda ever since.
Bethesda has been developing and publishing interactive entertainment computer and video game content for over twenty years. They are made up of multiple subsidiaries, but can basically be broken down to three main parts. Bethesda Game Studios is the developer, Bethesda Softworks is the publisher, and their parent company is ZeniMax. For the most part, I don’t keep up with exactly which division happens to have their stamp on a game. All the technicalities of who made what are not so important to me personally. If it says Bethesda on it in any way, I’m willing to give it a shot, and time after time this simple trust has not let me down.
After Morrowind, I searched the gaming world for another title that could top the most amazing game I had ever experienced. None were found. No other games could offer, literally, over hundreds of hours of playtime, with multiple different races, infinite choices, guilds, factions, monsters, magic, and endless dungeons to explore. Morrowind officially turned me into a virtual hoarder, and gave me a huge obsession/complex with finding every unique and rare weapon, armor, or artifact. Video game hoarding is something that I still struggle with to this day.
During the multiple years that I played Morrowind, I happened to stumble upon another Bethesda title, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth. My loyalty was instantly validated. An immersive first person shooter that combines elements of survival-horror and action-adventure games, that is based on the disturbing works of H.P. Lovecraft. Although, ‘you had me at Bethesda,’ the unsettling journey of the mentally unstable private detective Jack Walters, left me questioning my own sanity and thirsting for future Bethesda titles. After that there was a bit of an interim, and it wouldn’t be until The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion came out that my faith was renewed once more. There couldn’t be a more amazing installment and worthy successor to Morrowind. I still find myself randomly screaming: ‘For the Nine!’ in needed moments of inspiration. For years I preached the word of Morrowind to my fellow gamers but my wisdom seemed to fall upon deaf ears. That is, until Elder Scrolls went next gen and the masses experienced Oblivion on the PS3 and Xbox 360. From there the legacy of the Elder Scrolls grew exponentially, as did Bethesda’s following. Which would ultimately lead to what may quite possibly be one of the greatest games ever made: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
There’s just not enough time or words for me to explain how amazing Skyrim is. It is the perfect evolution of Morrowind and Oblivion, and it delivers one of the greatest RPG experiences that you will ever have. It very well may be my favorite game of all time, due largely to my affinity and nostalgia towards Morrowind, which had held that title until now. One of the greatest features of the Elder Scrolls series is how absolutely enormous and time consuming each installment is. Seriously, my main save on Skyrim is over 500 hours long. Nothing pisses me off more than beating a game within the first few hours of playing it. With Elder Scrolls that is never a problem, trust me. The lore and in-game history contained within is by far the richest and most detailed of any game out there. There are hundreds of characters to talk to, and just as many in-game books to read along your journey that will immerse you into the world of Tamriel, explaining the extensive background behind each race and country. The amazing story, duel wielding combat system, master magic spells, armor enchantments, weapon forging, countless NPC’s and locations, (and did I mention the dragons) are all some of the endless reasons why this game is considered by many to be the best RPG in existence. Truly, Skyrim is Bethesda’s masterpiece.
Before Skyrim and the Dragonborn stole all of our hearts however, (and all of our personal time) I found myself still inevitably drawn to any other Bethesda titles I could find. This of course led me to the Fallout series, particularly New Vegas. New Vegas is another massive open world RPG, similar to The Elder Scrolls, except set in a post-apocalyptic Mojave Desert, with mutants, radiation, loads of weapons, and all sorts of wild characters. Fallout 3 was great, don’t get me wrong, but vying for control of The Strip with Mr. House in New Vegas, was fantastic. I still cant bring myself to make the final decision of who to destroy and who to spare, as there are some very different ways the end will play out, depending on your alliances and choices. From Vault 11 all the way to the Tops Casino, the Fallout series is just another testament to Bethesda as game developers, and just one more reason for me to continually support all they do.
Back in the middle of 2009 Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax acquired id Software, and among many great things to come from this union, another fantastic game was born, and that was Rage. Rage is a first person shooter set in the near future following an impact of a massive asteroid on planet earth. Racing, driving, and battling in various vehicles is a huge part of Rage, and blends exceptionally well with decapitating Authority guards with advanced Wingsticks and exploding mutants with Pop Rockets. There are also a few minigames along the way, including Five Finger Filet and the ever-addictive Collector Card game that just adds to the diversity of this title and gives it great replay value. Then, if Rage wasn’t good enough, Bethesda and id decided to release a special anniversary re-mastered edition of one of my all time favorite first person shooters: Doom 3. Check out my review on Doom 3 BFG Edition, as everything that I feel and everything that you should know about this chilling title can be found there. Now id and Bethesda are at it again, and the next installment of the iconic series Wolfenstein is on the way. My hopes are quite high, as are my expectations. We’ll find out soon enough.
In the meantime I have Dishonored, one of Bethesda’s most recent titles, to keep me occupied. Having just finally begun my campaign, I cannot accurately give an account of Dishonored as of yet, and will reserve my judgment until completion. A few missions in however, it is all I expected and more, and gets better and better as I progress. For now my loyalty to Bethesda is secure, and once The Elder Scrolls Online hits PS4, that’ll be all she wrote. All it took was the perfect game at the right time in my life, and Bethesda has been at the core of my love for games ever since.