The third installment in the long-running and extremely popular Elder Scrolls series, Morrowind establishes a new standard in role-playing games. It's astonishing in its depth and detail, and also sets a new benchmark in graphics.
Morrowind's extreme open-endedness sets it apart. Despite the linear story, the way the other characters in the world interact with you changes based upon your actions. There are various guilds within the game, like the Assassins Guild, and whether or not they see you as friend or foe is determined by how you interact with them. Attack an assassin, and the entire guild will be hunting for your hide. That kind of flexibility means that each game can play out a little differently.
As a result of those interactions (and the side quests that become available to you), you can literally spend hours far away from the main quest. This is both a blessing and a curse - it's possible to forget about the main story altogether.
Unfortunately, the combat doesn't quite measure up to the other areas of the game. At times it feels like you're playing a very funky version of EverQuest, with below-average animations and sub-par controls. Also, you'll often hack your way through a long, challenging cave, ultimately coming to a treasure chest at the end. You crack open the chest … and receive some worthless knife. That's an awful lot of work for some rather lame loot. This risk/reward mismatch may be a minor complaint, but it does feel frustrating.
One aspect that feels above reproach is Morrowind's stunning graphics. The character models and environments are crammed with an astonishing level of detail, and awesome weather effects also show up from time to time, like rain and sandstorms. The first time you see a sandstorm, it'll literally take your breath away.
Morrowind will please both serious role-playing fans as well as anyone looking for a technically stunning adventure that will hold their attention longer than your average hack-and-slash title. This is the good stuff.