The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is both a uniquely satisfying and deeply immersive RPG’s that has ever been conceived, but for a brief period I became estranged from my virtual friend. The Elder Scrolls literally dictated my life and simple mundane outings or conversations became almost impossible. No longer could I simply arise in the morning, have some corn flakes and head off for my daily excursion to work, oh no, now I was ever fearful of constant hidden attacks from non-existent goblins and trolls, hell I couldn’t even purchase a paper without first trying to barter with the poor shopkeeper (30p you say?, tell you what, I’ll give you 5 gold coins and 2 fatigue potions, deal?). Trying to engage with friends in social interactions or to even be socially acceptable has been completely damaged by constant visits to Cyrodiil, no one laughs at my jokes, people fail to acknowledge my admiration’s or boasts and don’t appear to take too kindly to being coerced. As you can see, being so totally emerged in such a world for such great extent can be a little damaging (just a little), so after much deliberation I simply quit playing, just so I could gain some sense of normality back into my life. But after a few years I finally began to accept the inevitable and horrifying truth, normality and reality majorly sucks!. So I decided to once again embrace the world of Cyrodiil, to not only reminisce but to also remind myself why I’m so excited about the arrival of its sequel, Skyrim.
From the very beginning it’s completely understandable to see why so many of us struggle to put down the controller once your sucked into TES world of mysticism and swords, as you lose countless hours just wandering through the wilderness and glorious mountain peaks, peering down on a world that your almost convinced is real, it’s just so vast and vibrant. Recoiling my initial experience with this huge continent, I remember feeling utterly shocked by its beauty but equally scared of this imposing world. Finding your bearings in such an expansive landscape can be daunting at first and aimlessly wandering through forests is about all I could handle, and it was strangely satisfying, why follow a predetermined route when you can invest hours exploring caves for money, weapons and potions (which is what I did). But the trouble with reminiscing is that things always appear much better in retrospect, and alas the world of Feralden doesn’t appear as vibrant as I reco……. Oh who am I kidding, it still looks staggeringly exquisite, ok it may not seem as polished as Skyrim, but for a game that’s almost 5 years old and to still retain that same depth and quality is simply astonishing.
The first person perspective has always been the most accessible way to travel in the Elder Scrolls, sure you could opt for the third person view but to be frank, you would be a blithering nitwit and should seek professional aid before continuing any further in your quest. It was clunky and cumbersome to say the least, and clicking the L3 button again just reinvigour’s my absolute hatred for this woefully atrocious perspective (why does he run like he’s constantly soiling himself?). Sticking with first person view then, and negotiating town’s and cities is far more attainable, unfortunately the combat has aged rather substantially. Many battles are very easily handled, usually consisting of blocking your opponent’s strike before launching your own, and at higher levels your find that the majority of battles will end with just one strike from your overly powerful character, of course this is all relative to the level of difficulty you choose to play Oblivion. Despite my meandering grumblings however, there is still many hours of combat opportunities to keep you satisfied.
The one aspect during my entire play through that has always enraged me though, is the hideous inhabitants who dwell in the various cities and towns across Cyrodiil, how can a landscape as awe-inspiring and with such sheer beauty be inhabited by such a vast cast of butt ugly NPC’s? Comparing the world of Cyrodiil to the people who live there is similar to comparing the Mickey Rourke of the 80’s to the Mickey Rourke of today, its like the entire population has succumbed to some blind, crackpot plastic surgeon’s magic incarnation’s, with catastrophic affect’s. But with the freak people of Cyrodiil aside there is still enough quality to warrant another visit before you minds are (yet again) blown away by what is seemingly likely to be your new addiction, Skyrim. Oblivion may have its flaws, but for a game as old as this to still be a visual treat, coupled together with a combat system that’s not perfect, but still competent, is remarkable. So im asking, if you havent given Oblivion another go, then do so now. But let’s be honest, you probably already are.
Skyrim is released on November 11 (but you already knew that).
All comments, feedback and criticisms are welcome, just go easy on me.