The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle Review
Courtesy of Bethesda

Reviewed on PC. Review copy provided by Bethesda.


The Elder Scrolls as a series is incredibly beloved. Doesn’t matter which game you’re talking about, there’s bound to be an incredible fan base excited to talk about and preach their love for the game. And The Elder Scrolls Online is like that as well.

While the game isn’t an RPG like the mainline games, this MMORPG has a very strong player base and fans who absolutely adore it. And the best part about ESO is just how vast the game is. It’s added so much since launch which provides players with the best of the Elder Scrolls world.

High Isle is no different. It’s a brand new location that we’ve always heard of and about in the games. To finally see it is incredible. This Mediterranean coastal location is absolutely gorgeous. It’s visually breathtaking. So let’s dive into the High Isle DLC and see what it’s got for us.

Isle Love You

We are introduced to a brand-new zone in the High Isle DLC. Two islands are part of the Systres archipelago. Rich people go on vacation to The High Isle. Amenos, on the other hand, is a prison island populated by misfits, criminals, and political dissidents.

This is the setting for the political intrigue story of High Isle. The feudal Britons are involved in political intrigue and a fight with anarchists, the Ascendant Order after peace efforts to end the Three Banners War fail. This creates a primary storyline that lasts for around twelve hours and exposes the players to a large number of well-developed NPCs, such as Lady Arabelle, Lord Bacaro, the Ascendant Magus, and Ascendant Lord. Many of these persons, their connections, and their identities are shrouded in mystery and intrigue.

Generally speaking, High Isle’s tale is more rooted in reality and ideological strife, despite the game’s inclusion of some particularly terrible foes this time around. High Isle at least makes overt political allusions without being overbearing. Although not the most dramatic chapter in the series, it is nonetheless interesting. The new zones have dozens of side missions and hundreds of hours of activity outside the main plot, much as in previous ESO chapters.

Aces and Accomplices

Like its predecessors, High Isle is packed with both main objectives and side quests, dungeons, caverns, camps, and a variety of world interactions. The new Public Dungeons are enjoyable whether played alone or with others. In the 12-player trial Dreadsail Reef, players must solve several environmental puzzles while fending off human and monster foes. Volcanic Vents, a global phenomenon, can provide excellent locations for gear grinding. PvP enthusiasts won’t find anything new in this expansion to pique their attention.

Two new companions are available for players to go with on High Isle. Isobel Valois is a Briton knight, and Ember is a Khajit magician. Again, these friends make for more than capable battle partners and have intriguing personalities and backstories. The game’s loyalty mechanism makes it such that your activities have an effect on your connection and that getting to know them is always entertaining. All four companions are available as long as you currently possess the Blackwoods chapter.

The finest trial so far is the newest one, “Dreadsail Reef.” Not only is it the longest trial yet, but it is also exquisitely made. The mechanics used by the bosses are impressive. Additionally, getting in the way of the bosses involves more than merely shoving hordes aside. On this one, coordination is truly required! Because of that, it will be very hard to do with random people, but if you can get a committed group going, you’ll have a wonderful time.

I’m a sucker for in-game games. Things like Gwent from The Witcher 3, Orlog from AC: Valhalla and Machine Strike from Horizon: Forbidden West. And High Isles managed to hook me in with Tales of Tribute. Tales of Tribute blends more conventional card games with a deck-building game. It is accessible at the conclusion of a quest line, yet it is rich and captivating enough to quickly take over as the only reason to play ESO. Tales of Tribute has additional tasks, a ranking system, and even exclusive gear that is only available via playing it. Tales of Tribute really improves the game, even if it doesn’t completely alter it.

Visions of Beauty

High Isle doesn’t abandon the graphical engine that has been driving the game for years, but excellent art design helps a lot in this situation. I’ve always believed that good, strong art direction can really elevate the visuals of the game. Especially when they’re not the most graphical intense looking. And the High Isle DLC really knocks it out of the park. I was not expecting it to look as picturesque as it did.

As always, the settings are rich in detail and imaginative mythology. With each chapter, the faces and animations become better. It’s hardly surprising that Brad Derrick’s music remains outstanding. Additionally, the narrative generally stays away from being overly exposition-heavy, and the voice acting is excellent. It presents a hurdle because Elder Scrolls Online newcomers have a lot of lore to catch up on.

TL;DR

The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isles is a fantastic DLC that adds quite a bit to the world of ESO. If you’re a returning player then this DLC is an absolute must. And if you’re a newcomer, there’s honestly not a better time to get in. This just makes me excited for The Elder Scrolls VI and scratches that itch of wanting more from the world of The Elder Scrolls.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Recommended for Shore
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the-elder-scrolls-online-high-isleThe Elder Scrolls Online: High Isles is a fantastic DLC that adds quite a bit to the world of ESO. If you're a returning player then this DLC is an absolute must.