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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion – Video Game Review

The Elder Scrolls, one of Bethesda’s biggest franchises. During its tenure, this series has had 5 single player games, an MMO that has seen two expansions and of course all of the single player expansions as well. It’s no fluke either, as The Elder Scrolls games are constantly known for delivering excellence in video games, no matter how buggy some of them can be. But with this in mind, are they actually any good?

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Logo

Video games have come a long way since the Golden Age of Video Games. Oblivion is one of these games that people don’t talk about much today, because it was inherently quite buggy and flawed. I don’t know; I enjoyed that about it. I’m a fan of seeing ruggedness and roughness in a video game, so long as the flaws aren’t the only thing prevalent. However, is it a justifiable complaint with this particular title, or is this another case of people jumping the gun? Here’s my review on TES IV: Oblivion.


 

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion – Review

Story

Oblivion3

Emperor Uriel Septim VII, (as voiced by the amazing Sir Patrick Stewart,) sets the scene for you really early on. You’re imprisoned: Rightly or wrongly, it doesn’t matter. You are imprisoned and it just so happens that the fates have smiled on you. An assassination on the emperor means he, along with the assistance of his elite bodyguards, the Blades, must get to safety. How can they get to safety? Through your cell, of course! A secret escape tunnel!
The Blades and the emperor don’t mind that you can go free and eventually the player and the emperor meets up once again. The Emperor explains that he can’t go on anymore and just before he’s assassinated he hands you an important amulet, you’re just a mere outlander! The Blades see this as a sign of respect from their fallen leader, thus allow you to carry on and point you in the right direction, to give the amulet to the rightful heir to the throne and warn of the lands impending fate.

The story is well written as to be expected by Bethesda; it holds the game together beautifully. However, as the story progresses, there are certain points that seem not so well thought out; such as the inclusion of all of the Oblivion Gates. We’ll touch more on those shortly, but for the story, some feel entirely insignificant and obsolete. As is typical of an Elder Scrolls game though, they’ve made it so you can make your own story for your character… So if you want your character to traverse around as the leader of the Thieves Guild (The Grey Fox), who then becomes the greatest hero of the Imperial City… Well there’s no reason why not! Even if this does confuse lore, somewhat.

Gameplay

Oblivion First Person Fists

Notice the random “Hotkey” word hanging out at the top? This is a glitch.

Focusing on the main game, the idea is to speak to the correct people, collect the right things, level up appropriately and get better. The goals are simply to meet Martin, then to start closing down the main-story Oblivion Gates, to stop the realm of Oblivion from basically taking over the world… Of Tamriel. It’s a very simple trigger mechanic, saying once you do x, y will unlock to continue with the story.

The levelling system in Oblivion is the same as it was in Morrowind, but they made it more obvious to the player that they should go to a bed to level up. One of the biggest issues people faced with the predecessor was that they didn’t realise you needed to find a place to sleep to level up. This eliminates that problem with a little indicator to tell you to rest and meditate on what you have learned so far. Other improvements include a vastly better melee combat mechanic.

In Oblivion, it feels as if Stealth was vastly overpowered for what it was. I took out the Arena Champion just by being a stealthy Khajiit with some claws… As well as way harder targets than that with just a simple dagger. It’s also strange seeing characters stealing so well with huge weapons, too. This is beside the point, but it is always funny to watch people sneak unseen when they’re right next to a royal in his or her own keep! Oh and don’t even get me talking about the bugs this game has – Whilst not quite on the same level as Skyrim, Oblivion is full of hilarious and sometimes exploitable bugs.

Graphics

Of course, what good would a review be without having a look at a quick gallery of images?

I hope you enjoyed how beautiful Super Sexy Senton Sam is.

Music/Audio

The iconic music of the series makes its mark known once again, as it softly plays on the title screen. Oblivions feels more proud than some of the other titles, such as Morrowinds more serene version and Skyrims more primitive, chanted mantra. It’s instantly recognisable and adds just that little bit of excitement before the game truly begins.

Other than the opening theme tune, the music within Oblivion is really soft and easy to listen to. It gives you the impression that you are in an epic adventure, with some areas being relaxed and more open in feeling… Whilst others feel dark, brooding and dangerous. The music accompanies the areas wonderfully… Until you start encountering the beggars. One moment, they’re down on their luck, sounding like a pitiable fool. The next minute, they sound like a royal, regal man or woman, who had a perfect education. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is Oblivions way of saying “Don’t be so gullible when handing out change”? After all, not all of these beggars can surely be beggars in Oblivion. Wow, life lesson..!

Overall

Now that I'm beautifully customised, let's settle on this!

I love Oblivion and it’s pretty obvious why someone should love it. The issue is, the game is incredibly flawed with bugs. This doesn’t deter me, as I’ve played the game as intended many times over, completed it a good number of times and feel like it’s a well put together game. Sometimes, the bugs are just uncanny though, so it’s worth keeping the console ready if you’re using the PC version – That can get you out of problems. Speaking of the PCs debugging console…

I will do an occasional video of me messing around on Oblivion, the fourth instalment to the franchise. However, for PC gamers, we have access to a feature that the Xbox and PlayStation versions do not: We have the console… And this can be hilarious! If this sounds like the right kind of video for you, check out our very own GeekOut Tube over the next few weeks, where I will be uploading Oblivion game play along with other videos. I’m looking to go through my cell door and beat up that annoying man the moment I start it!

Now it’s over to you: What do you think about Oblivion compared to the other entries to The Elder Scrolls series? This title often causes a bit of a divide amongst the franchises fans, but I truly believe it’s one of their best; bugs and all. As always, let us know what you think below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.

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7 responses

  1. Bethesda and bugs go hand in hand. Given the size and scope of their games I suppose we can give them a pass.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    • Interestingly, you see Super Sexy Senton Sam there? I think he looks the way he does due to a bug. I found sliders have a min-max, but if you keep min-maxing, you get bizarre results, like the above.

      I found one… Without even starting the series! But yes, Bethesda produce great, grand games – I think the bugs just accentuate them :)

      Liked by 1 person

      February 9, 2016 at 7:02 pm

  2. Oblivion was the first Elder Scrolls game I played. I enjoyed it, but that leveling system was problematic. I feel that Skyrim was better overall.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    • Skyrim certainly is good, but it’s not without fault.

      At the core of The Elder Scrolls, there is supposed to be a feeling of vastness. In both Oblivion and Skyrim, you lose this. In Morrowind, you cannot fast travel ((Except paid-for taxi services like Silt Striders and the Mages guild)). As such, everything feels vast and expansive.

      Skyrim loses that… And it’s a pity… Because games are so much quicker.

      Liked by 1 person

      February 9, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      • Perhaps, but it was jarring playing Morrowind only to learn that there was no fast travel option. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t get very far in it. It’s strange because the previous installment, Daggerfall, had fast travel. I think it’s an important mechanic for open world games to have.

        Liked by 1 person

        February 9, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      • Interesting! I feel the fast travel mechanic actually makes the experience much shortened… And thus for me, I feel like I’m -just in game-.

        As a huge DnD fan, even as a huge Final Fantasy fan – I’ve never been big on fast travel – But I fully appreciate the size of the worlds. Don’t get me wrong: I use the mechanics when they’re presented to me, but I much prefer not having the option. Especially since in Morrowind, just head to a city and you can fast travel :)

        I might do some research on fast travel and do an article on it!

        Liked by 1 person

        February 9, 2016 at 8:20 pm

      • Then again, the reason Daggerfall had fast travel was because the world was so large (about 161,600 square kilometers), that not including the option would have made the game unplayable. According to Todd Howard, Morrowind is merely 0.01% that size.

        I’m okay with Final Fantasy games not having the option because it doesn’t take too long to get from place to place (especially not when you get an airship). Then there’s Bravely Default where you can turn off random encounters entirely to speed up the trips.

        Like

        February 9, 2016 at 8:49 pm

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