The Elder Scrolls

Oblivion Review (+ Shivering Isles)

I have uploaded an unfinished review a few days ago, since then I have completed every guild and the Shivering Isles mainquest. TLDR: The game's good, like really good.

First playthrough, completely blind, lowest difficulty level, German.

The character editor is a meme, creating a nice-looking character is hard, but at least you don't have to look at yourself too much for it to really bother. That being said: third person view feels weird and everytime I accidently hit 'R' to switch views I wanted to switch back immediately.

I liked the intro with Uriel Septim, it looked nice and the german dub sounds good. I can't really remember the first few quests though, but I remember leaving the tutorial area and being stunned at how beautiful the game actually is. And how slow I was walking … until I realized I was faster when unequipping my sword. I did skip through some tutorial dialogue by mistake I think.

The first guild I entered was the mage's guild, so I will also start off with this. Having to go into every city and completing the mostly uninteresting quests was not my favorite thing to do in this game. In fact, the only quest I remember is the one in which you have to find a drowned person in a well. As I played on the lowest difficulty, the rewards for completing the questline have gone unused.

The fighter's guild was uninteresting for me as well, consisting of quest like "Hey this person is probably dead, go look!" or "I need you there!", I liked the quest in which you were on drugs and kill off a whole village though. The ending was somewhat interesting, but didn't really compensate the hours I went through dungeons just to save some person.

Most quests in general consisted of "Look at your map, go there, get into a dungeon, kill someone/go get me something" which went boring really fast. I was happy to have the game on the lowest difficulty level and that could just basically kill everything with two hits.

Loved the quest where you had to go into a painting – it was really original and the place within the painting was amazingly beautiful. The quest in which you had to sleep at the "Bloated Float" was interesting, as well as the quest with the haunted mansion in Anvil.

The thieves' guild was the last guild I completed. I don't like stealth, I never do in games, but the quests were interesting enough and didn't require too much sneaking around. Having to sell a specific amount of gold in order to be able to get to the next quest only made the whole questline better, in my opinion. Although (at least in the German translation) they constantly displayed the wrong amount of gold, which was annoying.

The arena was easy, as expected for playing on lowest difficulty. Not having to fight the Grey Prince, but instead him wanting to die, wasn't disappointing in my opinion. At least it's optional and only depends on if you want to do his quest or not. It's also a nice bonus for completing the quest.

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And now to the best fraction. The Dark Brotherhood. Having Lucien Lachance standing next to my bed shocked me in the first moment upon seeing him. And as I usually play the "good guy" in games, I wasn't to excited to start this questline, but in the end it definitely was worth it. The quests were fun, especially the one in which you were a "party guest" and had to kill everyone else. Yes, it was just another "Kill this person" type of quest, but with a little tweak. Also having to kill every member in your own "guild" was an interesting twist. Realising that I had followed the wrong instructions was interesting as well. The ending of it all was unexpected and I honestly felt bad for Lucien Lachance, even if he actually was one of the bad guys.

When I first read that you could become a vampire through the Dark Brotherhood questline, I was really intrigued and wanted to become one after finishing the main quest. However, after around ten hours into the game, I got infected and didn't realise it. After sleeping in a bed to level up, I had a dream and – welp – was a vampire. I heard that it sucked, but didn't think so until I could not even go outside for two seconds anymore. Even doing the quest for the cure was annoying, in the end I just cheated and gave myself the items the witch wanted. Never again will I become a vampire without really wanting to, and never again this early. The advantages were not worth it compaired to the disadvantages. There also was a bug which changed my appearance from having a female body to having a male one? It switched back after reloading, but it was somewhat annoying nonetheless and I was glad when it all was over.

Sadly, I must say, after completing the quest where you had to close every Oblivion gate around the cities to have allies for the battle of Bruma … I just hated the Oblivion gates. They were the most boring part of Oblivion in my opinion and I was always happy to just get out of them. It was annoying having to wander around in circles sometimes and I didn't just want to get out of them without closing them. Of course I only became aware that this quest was completely optional after I had already finished it.

Well, after spending 32 hours in this wonderful world and having finished all side quests I had in my journal (I did not go out of my way to find the remaining quests), I figured I'd go back to the main story. At that point I needed to find the blue big stone (no idea ) for Martin, which I had postponed from around 10 hours into the game until then.

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I figured I'd be around 1/3 into the story and had another 3-5 hours of quests waiting for me, but oh my, I was wrong. I did the remaining quests with ease, then I was listening to Martin Septim's death.

Now I have to say that I'm somewhat disappointed with the base game's story, but I must say that the game is phenomenal nonetheless. The side quests that are really interesting and original definitely make this game special and even if there were many "tedious" things (such as the repetitive dungeons) I really enjoyed it. Maybe I didn't pay too much attention to the main quest, maybe I postponed it too long to the point of not knowing what happened in the quests I did before.

However, not having heard of anything in The Elder Scrolls before didn't help my understanding of the world. Being greeted with many strange names that I couldn't connect to anything was overwhelming. Even at the end of the main story I didn't quite know who Mehrunes Dagon and that guy that lives in his own paradise were, what they did and why they want to do it. Yes, it was explained, but I just forgot about it, honestly. Sadly this is a problem for me with most games and it's not really the game's fault. Lore is important, if I'm not educated enough I should either check it out or be confused throughout the game.

Now let's go onto the Knights of the Nine. I honestly thought this was just a sidequest in the base game until I looked it up online. Well, it felt just like any other sidequest – go there, get this, fight this guy, get this other thing, done. I kept the armour until I had to do the thieves' guild and couldn't wear it anymore because of my infamy. Then I got the armour from completing the mainquest, which I wore from then on anyways.

The Shivering Isles were something I didn't expect from this game at all to be honest. Getting there, being asked questions and then entering "Passwall" was something I didn't expect, but I liked it. The story was interesting, but the quests sadly weren't. Too much "go there, get this" for me and the dungeons looked too similar for my taste. But as you have probably already guessed: I wasn't too interested in dungeons throughout the whole game anyways and had always been glad to get out of one. I liked the twist with Sheogorath and Jyggalag but honestly should've seen that coming.

Because I didn't know where else to put this, I will now talk about two annoying mistakes I have encountered. A lot of dialogue was messed up, it was mostly the audio not matching the displayed text, which was annoying. Then there's the bug where you can not pay your fines at the Shivering Isles if you finish the questline, but there's at least a cheat for that.

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Something I usually turn off/low in games is the audio, but not with this game. The soundtrack fits the atmosphere very well, and not being able to quickly return to the desktop without closing the game completely prevented me from turning on some video (which I usually do).

Graphics-wise you can obviously see that the game is a bit older, but in my opinion good gameplay definitely is worth more than good graphics. Besides that, Oblivion's visuals aren't bad at all. The only thing that bothers me a bit is that most caves look the same, most "temples" look the same, etc.

To end this little review: I loved the game, it was a lot of fun (even if I sort of only pointed out the negative things here) and I can honestly recommend it to everyone who likes RPGs with a lot of sidequests. I loved going into the game blindly, without a clue or spoiler in the world.

The only bad thing is that in the end (after completing the main story at around 35 hours) I only played to finish it, making the experience a rather "I want this to be done" thing.

My next stop will be Skyrim, of which I have not yet heard anything about either. I'm excited!


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