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This Elder Scrolls Mod Makes Daggerfall Worth Revisiting

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Daggerfall Unity, a community-developed mod for The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, completely revitalizes the game in a number of ways.

The second entry in the prolific Elder Scrolls series, Daggerfall was met with both critical and commercial success upon its initial release in 1996, thanks in large part to the game’s breathtaking ambition. Like its predecessor, Arena, Daggerfall promised players the ability to live whatever life they wanted in the fantasy world of Tamriel, only this time on a much grander scale. However, as The Elder Scrolls franchise would eventually become infamous for, the game was marred by an abundance of bugs and technical issues, some game-breaking.

Much of Daggerfall remained incomplete by the time it was released, and this unfinished state could be felt at various points throughout the game. Additionally, the game’s outdated engine and high difficulty level severely impacted its popularity in the decades to follow, especially when compared to its far more enduring sequels. Despite its flaws, there was enough to love about Daggerfall that it retained a passionate cult following, as well as a devout modding community that works to keep the game alive even today. While many of these mods improve upon the original game, one in particular revamps Daggerfall to such a degree that it feels like an entirely new game: “Daggerfall Unity.”

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The Daggerfall Unity Mod Makes the Game Feel New Again

Daggerfall Unity screenshot overlooking Daggerfall City from horseback

First released in 2019, “Daggerfall Unity” ports Daggerfall to the titular Unity engine, allowing for considerably better performance and smoother gameplay. Both the game’s soundtrack and graphics have been overhauled, with Unity offering a remastered score and greater terrain generation to make the game feel more like a modern title without infringing on its retro appeal. Unity also fixes a huge number of the game’s bugs, as well as expanding on unfinished questlines — and that’s far from the extent of its improvements.

“Daggerfall Unity” provides the player with a far greater degree of control over the game’s performance than was available in 1996, allowing them to adjust screen resolution, VSync, FOV, texture quality, and more to their liking. There are a variety of optional gameplay adjustments available from the starting menu, such as better interfaces, enhanced enemy AI, access to an in-game console, and various quality-of-life improvements like the ability to repair weapons instantly instead of having to wait long periods of time

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Unity Allows Players to Experience Daggerfall at Its Fullest Potential

Daggerfall Unity screenshot looking at Sentinel Palace

Unity brings real depth to the gargantuan slice of Tamriel that Daggerfall takes place in, namely the provinces of High Rock and Hammerfell. Whereas all terrain was flat in the original game, with only a set of numbers to denote the player’s supposed altitude, Unity adds sprawling hills, mountains and valleys to the overworld.

Unity also brings greater depth to many of the game’s already complex mechanics, such as advancing through guilds. Daggerfall offered dozens of different guilds and factions for the player to join, and Unity enhances this experience by improving progression and even adding brand-new guild quests for the player to embark upon. Unity’s framework makes modding the game considerably easier than in the original version, allowing access to hundreds of player-created mods that make Tamriel feel more alive than ever before and ensuring that the adventure never needs to end.

What makes “Daggerfall Unity” so essential is that it doesn’t just garnish Daggerfall with little improvements here and there. Instead, it transforms the game into a much closer vision of what it was always intended to be, helping it reach heights once considered as fantastical as the game’s setting. Never has Daggerfall been more accessible to new players than with Unity, and fans of the series — as well as RPG fans in general — should not miss out on this opportunity to explore one of the most in-depth, rewarding and liberating fantasy adventures in gaming.

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