The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey

The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey is a role playing game that was developed by Vir2L/TKO Software, published by Nokia, and released for the N-Gage on November 15, 2004.

Developer: Vir2L / TKO Software
Publisher: Nokia
Release Date: November 15, 2004
Platforms: N-Gage
JustRPG Score: 68%
Pros:
+Great music taken straight from Morrowind.
Cons:
-Poor visuals.
-Choppy combat system.
-Lack luster story line.

Overview

The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey Overview

The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey is an action oriented role playing game that was released for the N-Gage in late 2004. This game plays exactly like the other Elder Scrolls games, in a hack and slash, roleplaying fashion. The game does have very well done music, but it is literally just ported from Morrowind. Overall Shadowkey is a big disappointment as far as the Elder Scrolls franchise is concerned, and is not really worth playing unless you are a die hard fan of the series.

The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey Screenshots

The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey Featured Video

Full Review

The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey Review

 

A portable Elder Scrolls? Sounds like a plan. But despite the exciting prospect, fans of the series will find themselves severely underwhelmed.

 

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Shadowkey is an interesting prospect: the Elder Scrollsseries is a long-running PC staple that boasts massive worlds completely at the whim of the player. There’s no set path to follow, and adventurers may travel wherever they like from the start. While this has endeared it to hardcore RPG fans everywhere, it’s a name not so familiar to the mainstream, making it something of a surprise that Nokia would pursue the name.

 

Shadowkey isn’t the first portable ES game, as the previous two Elder Scrolls Travels games are downloadable java games. Shadowkey is, however, the first Travels game to use a fully polygonal world, and is available only on the N-Gage.

 

The storyline this time is centered around a struggle involving the Battlemage Jagar Tharn and the Shadowmage Skelos Undriel. Basically, you’ve got to stop Skelos Undriel before he garners power from the Star Teeth. The story is both hard to follow and surprisingly uneventful. While it has the vagueness present in most Elder Scrolls games, it lacks the magnitude and cohesion that brought it all together.

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Whereas previous entries based much of their replay value on the numerous sidequests available, dwarfing the main quest, Shadowkey is fairly straightforward. There are several sidequests along the way, most of which really don’t require anything special besides a thorough exploration of the next dungeon. Certain locales, like Dragonstar, are taken directly from the series.

 

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Although Shadowkey shares similar races, spells and equipment as other Elder Scrolls titles, it’s much more in line with traditional RPGs than the non-linear character development the series is known for. Classes are specific and limited to what types of armor, weapons and spells they can wield, and race doesn’t seem to have much of an effect on the game as a whole.

 

All this has to be accomplished through an awkward, clumsy control scheme. Characters turn painfully slow, and looking up and down is just as awkward. This makes navigating the large, barren world maps all the more painful, and the cramped spaces of the large dungeons are all the worse.

 

While combat was never a shining spot in preceeding games, Shadowkey takes a mediocre system and makes it downright painful. Attacks are limited to a spell, a swipe with a weapon, or a throw instrument. When confronted by an enemy, the general strategy is to press attack until the enemy is close, then run back and repeat. Character class, race and weapons really don’t make that large of a difference either way.

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Initially, Shadowkey looks surprisingly like previous entries in the Elder Scrolls series. The excitement wears off quickly, however, as it becomes apparent just how sparse the land is, lacking landmarks and a populace. Further detracting from the experience is the regular stuttering that seems to happen every couple minutes, essentially halting play for upwards of ten seconds. Loading times are equally painful, often taking thirty or forty seconds to set up the next area.

 

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If there is a plus to Shadowkey, it’s the soundtrack. From the moment the game boots up, Morrowindveterans will recognize that familiar battle music, brought to life via powerful orchestral vibes. TheMorrowind soundtrack is solidly replicated and plays throughout the adventure, desperately trying to make you believe that you’re playing an Elder Scrolls title.

 

The accompanying sound effects don’t hold to that same standard. Although many are taken from previous Elder Scrolls games, they seem to be few and far between. Apparently the world has become a very quiet place in Shadowkey, and it further detracts from the experience.

 

There’s also a throw-away multiplayer mode, which only taxes the N-Gage even moreso. It’s glitchy and slow, just like the rest of the game. Worse yet, Player 2 gets nothing out of the bargain – they’re just along for the ride, and they don’t gain any experience points.

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Sadly, Shadowkey just doesn’t cut it as an RPG, let alone an installment in the Elder Scrollsseries. While a game of such magnitude would understandably have to be toned down for the portable market, Shadowkey is unforgivably bland, clunky and boring. Even N-Gage owners dying for a new RPG should steer clear: Shadowkey won’t do anything to satisfy that urge.

 

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Pros
-Solid music taken straight from Morrowind

Cons
-Choppy, bland graphics
-Horrid combat system and awkward controls
-Dry, uneventful storyline

 

Final Grade: 50%

Screenshots

The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey Screenshots

Videos

The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey Videos

The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey Trailer

 

Guides / Links

The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey Guides / Links

The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey Wikipedia Entry

FAQ/Walkthrough