It's more like they moved the sliders of Oblivion and Morrowind's criticism but got really lazy about it.
Morrowind was an original (Daggerfall's lore is buried under classic western medieval mechanics) setting that drove the player into the strangeness without railroading. It was a very good balance of 'here be weirdness' without 'you must be the one true weirdness dragonlordbornerino'. Nerevar prophecy shmerevar prophecy, you can just get lost with water-breathing exploring the endless oceans. Down a stack of Sujamma and you can jump across the whole map in one keypress. Magick's broken as F, but it's single player, so I love it; wizards should be stupid OP if you want them to be. Slavery is a thing and so is the guild of assassins? The gods are false gods and they control the government? Their rule is good/bad choose my own interpretation? I am the CIA agent sent to pretend to be the Mahdi? Subversive without becoming divisive; instant classic.
Player criticism: Improve the engine and combat, it's clunky, keep the story/lore it's great.
Huge graphical upgrade of the engine for the time. Screenies of a steel armour knight and tower were the page 1-5 in many issues of PC Gamer, others.
Kept the lore, but chose the most boring conceivable vision for Cyrodil; le centrist province = trad medieval. But they kept the custom spellmaking engine and the combat was reasonably improved and felt chunkier/responsive. Ayleid Ruins provided reasonable set pieces for boss monsters without breaking the bank on RAM/GPU. Still not perfect but an improvement. Voiced lines are right on the line of tolerably 'guy who delivered the pizza' bad but infrequent. Patrick Stewart voices the Emperor and we've got Sean Bean. omfghshshs…etc.
To do all this they shrunk the world a bit, but you didn't really notice. Player based Modding embarrassed horse armour DLC back to the stables and we eventually got Nehrim among others. Radiant quests are billed as a big deal but few normie players notice it's there.
Player Criticism: You dumbed down the lore and forced it to the background; it should be more obvious at a glance I am in the fantasy world of Tamriel. Thanks for improving combat, but a bit more responsive please. Voices are cute but you can do better. Look at Nehrim, even the unpaid german VAs are bettePost too long. Click here to view the full text.