Because I found kjptx1998’s post on Bethesda’s Oblivion
to be sadly lacking in content (although full of potential), I decided I would hijack his/her idea and manipulate it -- hopefully -- for the better. What follows is a collection of ideas that I would like to see implemented in Skyrim
and a reflection on Oblivion
-- a veteran action-RPG which has selflessly served the gaming community for around five years.
In anticipation of Skyrim
, the next game in the ever-popular Elder Scrolls
series due for release in November, I decided to revisit the expansive world of Cyrodiil in the role of a nostalgic wayfaring pilgrim to inventory the maddening design flaws and miscellaneous gameplay issues that I would love to see fixed or ousted before Skyrim
releases on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year of the… 21st century. Above: I don't even have to write a caption for this one! Oh, wait...
It pains me to attack Oblivion
-- a game so old it can’t really be
attacked, a game so old that attacking it feels like I’m attacking my grandmother -- for its graphical shortcomings, but it has to be said that Oblivion
is not the best-looking game on the market. Frankly, in 2006, when the game was released, Oblivion
was not the best-looking game on the market. I’m not a graphics whore by any means, but the graphical quality of Oblivion
was and is inarguably awful and the game contained hilarious bugs such as the infamous ‘paintbrush glitch‘ which, bewilderingly, allowed the player to construct his/her very own Staircase to Heaven from paintbrushes. The game featured a host of issues, such as ugly, 2-dimensional grass which had no place even in a 2006 game and the unsettlingly smooth, unblemished faces of Cyrodiil’s inhabitants, which haunted my dreams for weeks after my first experience with Oblivion
. One hallucinogenic side effect I noted after playing Oblivion
for long enough in one sitting was that the game seemed to adopt a strangely cartoon-ish look which initially convinced me that I was finally going insane at the relatively young age of 15. However, things are definitely looking up with Bethesda’s replacement of the geriatric Gamebryo engine with a brand new powerhouse which promises to appease the hordes of graphics whores who moaned about Oblivion
’s less than luscious looks and numerous graphical oddities. Hopefully this time Bethesda will pull out all the stops and release a glitch-free game -- although a return of the paintbrush glitch would be a welcome addition.
’s combat definitely needs to be updated to contend with some of 2011’s heavy hitters. Sword fights -- a basic feature which most fantasy RPGs handle without many problems -- in Oblivion
often descended into chaotic meleés which would generally see the player attacking an ally by accident and subsequently being apprehended later by one of those pesky Imperial guards. Stealth classes skilled in the arcane art of archery faced little or no challenge when skulking around in the darkness with a powerful bow, firing arrows into the backs of unsuspecting foes from the shadows. The pretty pyrotechnics that the mage-type class afforded were ridiculously over-powered, even at lower levels, and hordes of enemies could be dispatched relatively easily with a few well-aimed fireball spells.
In addition, Oblivion
was never hugely difficult in any respect. Due to the fact that the enemies in-game levelled with the player, I -- at least -- never felt challenged or out of my depth because Oblivion
’s in-game foes were as inept as I was at lower levels but somehow nowhere near as adept as I was at higher levels. However, I’ve been told that Bethesda has phased out this well-intentioned but unnecessary system and has replaced it with…dragons, which should provide a welcome challenge if these scaly beasts are pumped with enough pure, undiluted badassery to make them a force to be fearful of. Oblivion
’s AI, while serviceable, didn’t provide any surprises. On the whole, currently-engaged enemies charged blindly at the player, making for laughably easy, horrifically one-sided battles which ended disappointingly quickly leaving a bitter taste in the mouth. The simplistic AI is something that absolutely must be updated - this is 2011, and the gaming public has come to expect more from its games than 2006-era gamers did. I would really love to see Bethesda engineer enemies capable of more than simply running straight at the player swinging a blade in the air. A talented developer like Bethesda is definitely capable of such a feat, and updated AI could potentially be the element to catapult Skyrim
to the greatness and long-lasting fame that Oblivion
had an overwhelming number of positives in face of its few crippling negatives. Cyrodiil was such a huge, immersive world; a world which really felt alive. Hell, the game itself was huge -- I have poured hundreds of hours into that game and haven’t yet finished the main campaign. Oblivion
featured hundreds of different characters, each with their own personalities and most of them with their own involving backstories which led to the sort of addictive little side quests which kept distracting me from completing the campaign. I know I’ve moaned at length about Oblivion
’s graphical shortcomings, but the game also had moments of beauty. The snowy mountain ranges Oblivion
featured were stunning when viewed from the right perspective, and I adored the picturesque city of Bruma and its arctic air. In short, Oblivion
is one of the best action-RPGs ever made for a reason -- many reasons, in fact.
Happy 5th birthday, Oblivion
LOOK WHO CAME:
Lord Death of Murder Mountain