As a developer, Bethesda Game Studios has become synonymous with a certain kind of RPG. We know what to expect: open worlds, faction quests, extremely familiar voice actors, jank. And, since Oblivion, we expect a prologue that includes a bit where you step out of a dark area into a well-lit area and see a world of opportunities and diversions placed in front of you like a cheese platter—only there’s a ruin you might want to explore and a settlement full of sidequests instead of some brie and a sharp cheddar.

Attempts to repeat this in subsequent Bethesda RPGs haven’t always worked as well, but it’s definitely become a thing. Which is why it’s time to consider all those things together and rank them from worst to best, like parents do when they think their kids aren’t paying attention.

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