Latest posts by Jake Wilson (see all)
- Enderal – Skyrim Mod – Review - September 12, 2016
- Rise of the Tomb Raider – Review - August 23, 2016
- Simone Bernacchia – Amiga Homebrew Composer Interview - August 22, 2016
The Skyrim Creation Kit, possibly the greatest video game creation tool ever that isn’t designed for that specific purpose. Through it, modders have developed whole systems within Skyrim such as real time strategy, setlement building, tower defense, sex slave simulator…you name it, someone has modded it in to Skyrim. And now, developers SureAI, the same people who brought us Nehrim for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion have created an entirely new game using Skyrim‘s ‘creation engine.’
Enderal is a total conversion mod featuring a completely new world, story & gameplay systems. It’s also fully voice acted in both German & English & has its own soundtrack. It’s impressive stuff from a team working entirely without pay. Firstly, it must be said that Enderal simply looks far better than vanilla Skyrim. SureAI have used a mixture of mods to get the game looking rather modern and at times, simply beautiful.
Enderal is a mountainous region with some lush forested areas and wet rocky coastlines. Bandits make use of the cover given by hills & mountains and camps can often be found overlooking prime spots for an ambush. The way small creeks flow down from the mountain, wind through forests and finally widen as they approach the rocks and sea makes it all feel like a ton of thought was put in to the landscape. This is equally true of many of the hand crafted dungeons and it all reaches just about the same quality you would find if this were made by Bethesda themselves.
Your created character is set up similar to an Elder Scrolls game, you are a stowaway looking for a new life in Enderal but of course, things don’t go quite as expected upon your arrival. You are soon involved in an investigation in to a disease called the red madness whilst also discovering you have some health concerns of your own. Magical abilities have awoken inside you which will play an important role in the events to come but have also stricken you with fever like symptoms.
This plays nicely in to the gameplay of Enderal as using certain magic and potions will worsen your fever. It adds a slight survival element to the game which is not pronounced enough to become annoying but encourages you to move forward with the plot and be mindful of your supplies when venturing out in to the wilderness. Food is utilised nicely as a means of healing outside of combat and is far more useful than in Skyrim.
The most different thing about Enderal has to be its levelling which is a somewhat more traditional RPG system. Many actions in the game give you experience points which level you up. You then gain memory points, learning points & crafting points. You must then use consumable skill books to improve your attributes using these points.
Enderal seems to take a lot of influence from Morrowind, enemy levels seem more dependent on area than your own level, which means don’t expect to go charging ahead with the main quest. Time must be taken to explore the many different side quests including the ones tied to the games friendship system allowing you to discover more about some of your main companions in the game. Different dialogue choices can effect how these characters see you.
Also, there are a fair few quests which, like Morrowind, will take away the quest marker that was ever present in Skyrim and force you to actually read your quest book from time to time, figuring things out for yourself. A nice touch that encourages exploration.
The game’s focus on it’s superbly voice acted characters is possibly what makes Enderal’s story so strong. It surpasses Skyrim in this area but it also retains some of Skyrim’s less appreciated quirks. A bug with selecting dialogue options had me incredibly frustrated and there were several times when quests didn’t initiate properly. It’s also a shame that not many mods will be compatible with Enderal because it doesn’t use the expansion files that so many mods rely on.
The soundtrack is passable and has a few really stand out tracks but overall could do with a bit more character. It feels very much in the background and very forgettable. It needed at least one strong motif that could carry through to multiple tracks to let you know: yes, you’re playing Enderal, as with The Elder Scrolls‘ many distinctive motifs.
The single greatest element of the game has to be its many dream sequences and heavy focus on magic & supernatural elements. More than anything else these gave the game its unique flavour and kept the main quest feeling incredibly varied and full of atmospheric mystery. Just like The Elder Scrolls, Enderal has incredibly deep lore to get lost in. The small team at SureAI have hand crafted an amazing new world to explore and if you have a copy of Skyrim then you certainly need to give this total conversion mod a try above all others!