The Elder Scrolls

My Bad Review of Oblivion

I'm thinking of making this review out of my ass a YouTube video review after some edits. Also, I suck at video games. If I say something dumb or uninformed please tell me.

If Morrowind has aged like milk and Skyrim is rendered immortal through ports to PC, Console, and the Samsung Smart Fridge, then Oblivion has aged like fine wine…. If the bottle was held together with silly putty and duct tape. Then there’s Daggerfall which grinded my gears as soon as a died to a fucking rat in the first room and decided I’d come back to that little adventure later.

A few bug fixing mods and a controller support mod later and the The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is the closest I’ve ever gotten to my ideal Elder Scrolls game. With Skyrim being mindless sword waving and potion chugging and Morrowind relying so much on my numbers that my sword doesn’t hit when I clearly see it hit what I assume is meant to be a face, Oblivion feels like the right middle ground. Stats and strategy matter, but my execution can close the gap in numbers, like when I cheesed the Umbra fight at level 3 spamming Minor heal, zombie skeletons, and sword attacks while running backwards like a bitch, getting a few flares in, then finishing with a bound sword to the face before she could heal again, all while chugging potions like Kool-Aid.

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The quests and factions genuinely made me care about the world as more than a playground for my sociopathic fantasies, at least at first, and when the quests actually worked looks at Martin Martin! Took me 30 minutes to get this asshole to stop polishing his armor and get outside of Bruma with the rest of us, not to mention I accidentally committed murder in that clusterfuck when I was going for a heroic playthrough, triggering the Dark Brotherhood questline. Bugs aside, the main quest was epic in scale and made enough change in the world around me that I actually felt like I accomplished something. It made me feel like an absolute chad.

Then I made an alternative save, did the Dark Brotherhood line and genuinely felt clever when I figured out how to achieve the bonus conditions for assassinations, and I generally don’t care for stealth missions. Especially that fake house party. That shit was deviously hilarious and now I know why the Illuminati is so fond of making people bicker like idiots and kill one another.. By the end I had money, rare gear, and strutted around town like a mob boss, snickering as they called me the Champion of Cyrodil when I probably murdered their entire family.

It’s not without its issues though. The combat is still only good by Elder Scrolls standards, and sometimes feels like I’m trying to fight with dollar store action figure arms rather than real ones. Speaking of action figures, the faces in this game couldn’t look more like melted plastic if everyone in the game was Micheal Jackson. While I certainly get making fun of the faces, the voice acting was.. Fine to me. There was the issue with some the characters sounding like they were talking to themselves because two characters have the same voice, which kind of baffles me given there were 15 voice actors plus an additional 3 working on the Shivering Isles. You mean to tell me they couldn’t have the voice actors change their voices a bit and run it through some vocal software. I know it was 2008 but the music industry has helped people with big titties and no vocal talent get by for years by that point. But the voice acting that was there was varied and well delivered enough that suspending my disbelief wasn’t too difficult for me. Other elements also feel a bit recycled. A lot of the dungeons look the fucking same and its like most of the world is made your your generic level 1 beginning forest area. This is where Skyrim with it's stunning winter mountains and Morrowind's creatively weird landscapes and town leave Oblivion in the dust, save for the Shivering Isles, but I'll get to Lord Loony in Bi Polar Land another day.

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