Let's face it: it's pretty but very casual. The artists were not just lazy and uninspired as hell, they also had no understanding of the universe whatsoever. This quote from an interview sums it all:
"The buildings of Alinor are said to look like they are "made from glass or insect wings". If the Summerset Isles are traverseable, will we see a design reminiscent of this?
The architecture of the High Elves is fanciful, certainly, but also practical, constructed of real-world materials. Architects can't make buildings out of poetry!"
In a previous review on deviantART, I was very hard in my opinion. But then yesterday I discovered the screenshots taken by felrokker, and I was shocked by the quality of what I saw. Unlike her, I had not dared to max up the visual settings, with things like specular, reflection, shadows, long FoV, shadows, etc, in fear I would get too much lag (I had some time to time and it was horrid). The difference between her experience and mine is simply stunning. Amusingly enough, we took some screenshots that were nearly identical, see below mines on the left, hers on the right:
I think those last two ones show how terrible things can get. I was mad over the fact that the devs hadn't been arsed to make Dwemer metal golden, making it look like some dull cast iron... The difference is just incredible. Worrying even.
Onto the different areas now.
As a general statement, I would say that everything is very small, tiny, even, and nothing seems alive. Even the places with NPCs talking to the crowd or what are just... dead boring. It's lifeless. This is probably partly due to the contrast between AI-controlled NPCs and human-controlled PCs.
Seriously, is has a nice atmosphere (in high resolution only, else it looks ridiculously cartoony) but it does not look like it should a second. It looks like some foggy blue factory and has nothing in common with Tamriel, when it should be a corrupted version of it. And it's full of Daedric typos.
Screenshots courtesy of Felrokker.