At long last, the wait is over. Hobbyist studio, SureAI will finally release the English version of Enderal: The Shards of Order on 18th August 2016. Enderal is a total conversion mod of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and is available solely for PC. It took SureAI 5 long years to develop and so the expectations are high.
What has added to the expectations is that Enderal comes off the back of Nehrim: At Fate’s Edge. Nehrim was the multi-award winning total conversion of Oblivion. So has Enderal delivered on these expectations? Let us find out
The game is set in a dark and grim world with an impending mass extinction. The story revolves around the attempts of the character to stop the mass extinction from happening. The developers had promised and delivered a story which is complex and psychologically intriguing. This is a marked improvement from Skyrim which had a shoddy plot and forgettable characters.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
Enderal is based on the same same engine as Skyrim, i.e. Vanilla Skyrim. Since the engine used is the same, the graphics are pretty much the same but with improvements. The textures are better and the lighting rendering has been reworked. The facial animations are better too and the dark environment seems sharper than ever. It is safe to say that SureAI has made the game even more beautiful.
SureAI has done an excellent job with sound design considering the fact that it had a fraction of Bethesda’s budget. The characters are voiced brilliantly and the OSTs steal the show. The fact that each area of the game has its unique score adds to the charm.
The gameplay is vastly improved in Enderal when compared to Skyrim. All the characters have a stronger personality and all the choices you make will affect all the characters as well as the world in some way or the other. The quest line is well crafted and the side quests actually make sense for a change.
The basic combat style of the game has been left untouched which is a letdown. The enemy variety has also gone down but there still are quite a few nasty surprises here and there. One major surprise is the difficulty scaling of enemies. At times, the quests are a piece of cake but at other times they are so frustratingly tough that you may want to break a few things. The process of leveling up has changed too.
In Enderal, you need to read books in order to level up. These books can be found or bought from merchants. This in itself isn’t a spoilsport but the number of attributes that can be levelled up has gone down drastically and this acts as one. The shouts from Skyrim have been replaced by abilities and some of them like time freeze, arrow rains etc. are really cool.
The quest design is a mixture of linear paced and open ended missions. All in all, the gameplay of Enderal is an improvement from Skyrim, but then we shouldn’t be surprised.
The game has a few performance issues. Most of these are in the graphics department. The game lags at times when played at 60 frames per second (FPS) There are also a few bugs that you may encounter while playing. Even though these bugs are not a major issue, they still hampered the gaming experience. SureAI is regularly releasing updates to counter this issue.
Enderal is a major step up from Skyrim by all means. Yes we would gladly have Skyrim’s leveling system back but a few negatives aside, Enderal is a brilliant mod. The 30 hours of story mode is great with hardly any repetitions. The side quests are fun and they seamlessly fit into the story granting you another 40 hours of gameplay.
The standard of writing as well as voice acting is simply amazing considering it is a fan project. After playing Enderal, no one can have complaints regarding a shoddy story or stupid characters, the main complaints in Skyrim. The visuals are somehow even more realistic than ever. The gameplay is fluid with a few minor hiccups but they can be ignored considering the fact that Enderal is a mod. All in all, SureAI has done a brilliant job. Enderal clearly showed us that Nehrim was no fluke. So for those who have played Skyrim but not Enderal, what are you waiting for? Go and download it from http://dl.enderal.com/, it is free!
So one last time, hats off to SureAI, brilliant work.