The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Extended Review and Analysis - Still An Amazing Game 12 Years Later.

in #gaming6 years ago

Recently Iv'e been hurting for video games, it feels like iv'e played everything and am just in the process of counting the days down til I get my hands on something new, so I decided to go old school, reinstalling Oblivion I had a sense of adventure that not many games really give you before you even start these days, unfortunately I realized how old the game was when I tried to install the discs and realized I didn't actually have an optical drive in my computer, so I headed over to GoG and re-bought the game, I was pretty amazed that it was only 5.5GB, for a game iv'e spent hundreds of hours in I was almost sure it was close to 20GB, but either way I installed it and off I went and I remember running around the world after just escaping prison and kept thinking to myself "Wow this game is so huge I forgot" even though there are numerous games a lot bigger than it today.

So I decided to review the game but also try and explain the sense of adventure that Oblivion brought that games after it never seemed to be able to capture fully and why even 12 years later it's still a masterpiece of gaming, so lets jump right into all the craziness of Oblivion and review it.

Welcome to Cyrodiil.
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Setting and Story

Oblivion kicks off as you awake to find yourself in a jail cell, it isn't before long a bunch of guards rush into your cell and tell you to face the wall, accompanying them is Emperor Uriel Septim, the high ruler of Cyrodiil, you're informed that there is a secret passage in your cell that is used as a royal escape route as numerous assassins have invaded the imperial city and plan to kill the emperor and his sons, the emperor however notices you and tells you of a dream he had that you play a major role in, urging the blades to take you with them to which they reluctantly agree, as you enter the sewer system you're beset on all sides by assassins who attempt to kill you and the emperor, finally being chased into a trap you and the emperor are left alone to fend for yourselves as the blades attempt to clear the way, however an unseen assassin emerges behind you and kills the Emperor.

Before dying he entrusts you with the Dragonfire Amulet, a relic that all emperors have held and informs you of a son to the west that lives an unassuming life but is watched closely by a secret member of the blades, this is where your story begins, you exit the sewer and are greeted by the world of cyrodiil at large where anything is possible and you can choose wherever you want to go right off the bat, we'll talk more about that in the game play portion though, lets stick to the story at the moment, heading to Weynon Priory to find the emperor's son, Martin, you arrive you as the priory is being attacked by the cult of assassins known as the Mythic Dawn, after fighting them off you're informed that Martin is in the city of Kvatch, a city that is currently being plagued by a demon invasion of an unknown origin, you head towards the city of Kvatch and are greeting by fleeing citizens who inform you a gateway to Oblivion has opened up in front of the city.

To enter Kvatch you're tasking with going inside the portal to shut it down, upon entering you're met with a hellish landscape in the realm of oblivion, fighting your way through you come across nightmarish beasts and demons as well as the Daedra, the demonic servants of the Daedric gods, fighting your way to the top of the spire you eventually pull the soul gem that powers the rift and are spat back out in front of Kvatch that is now accessible as well as is Martin, leading an assault you find Martin in the church and usher him back to Weynon Priory where you discover the Dragonfire amulet has been stolen by the Mythic Dawn cult and that Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of destruction has unleash portals to oblivion all over the world and that demons are pouring forth intent on destroying all of Cyrodiil, it's up to you and the blades to find the dragon amulet and shut down any an all portals you come across before ultimately fighting Mehrunes Dagon himself.

Story Analysis

The story analysis of Oblivion is a bit different than you might expect, as the world is huge and filled with quests there are numerous interwoven characters, quest chains and guilds that can be found through basically everything, talking to random NPC's could lead you towards a massive chain quest that ends up in loot or even exploring the world at large you can stumble upon quests you've never done, I know I still find random quests even though iv'e finished the game several times over, I think this is the really strong point of Oblivions game story, it feels alive and obvious technical limitations aside, it does a fantastic job of creating an alive world that is flooded with content for you to discover.

But it also does a fantastic job of subtly directing you towards the main story without even realizing it, I decided to just go completely free roam in this play through and funnily enough found myself being led to the thieves guild and the Dark Brotherhood, while these things are also around in the next installment of Skyrim, it doesn't feel as involved as Oblivion does, it may just be nostalgia but even for the "smaller" open world the quest lines feel more explorative, taking you to extremely different areas of the map or to desolate regions where there may not be much at all except for the actual quest itself, and that's not even mentioning the amazing shivering isles DLC which could probably be a full release now days(maybe).

However on the topic of the Main story line, I found it wholly more interesting than I did in Skyrim or Morrowind, personal choice maybe, but I felt like it was more involved in the game world at large and interconnects more with other quest lines and random dungeons making the natural progression feel more fluid, it's also important to point out that the Oblivion crisis feels exceptionally more like a "real" threat than Skyrim did in the sense that the portals to Oblivion are opening all over the country threatening every aspect of life there as opposed to a dragon sometimes flying over a town, all together the story line/lines feel a lot more involved even if some of them don't really amount to much but to be fair, that's how it is in most bethesda games sometimes.

Ultimately it might just be personal preference but the world and story of Oblivion feels overly more involved than it's followup and is somehow more memorable as well, one of the the things I did notice was just how much I remembered about the game world and it's story when comparing it to say Fallout 4 or Skyrim that I have played fairly recently, more a testament to the old guard of gaming.

Anyway lets move forward.

Game Play

So now we come to the Game Play portion of the review, now look I love this game, it's one of my favorite of all time but it's not hard for me to say that some aspects of the game play are pretty dated, mainly the combat systems but for now lets have a look at the basic functions of the game world at large and what you'll be doing to level up and become fit to take on the oblivion crisis.

Characters are given the chance to move into their desired combat type through the archetype systems at the start of the game, there are numerous classes for you to choose from that will by and large affect how you play the game for example a rogue using stealth and sneaking up on people won't be known for throwing massive fireballs at people, or so you would think, the greatest thing about Oblivion is that all skills are open to you at all times, instead the archetypes are used as a way to form you into the strongest version of your character a lot faster, below is a list of the skills you can acquire and level up in the game world that will come in handy one way or the other eventually.

As you can see from above there's numerous way to play your character where some skills may become very important for survivability or even to advance in quests, things like Security are invaluable for nearly every class to open locked doors and chests, likewise Mercantile is also useful for every class as it allows you to sell things for a lot more to vendors and buying things cost a lot less, however like I said these are things that can be leveled independently without greatly affecting your character, one of the greatest things about Oblivion is the freedom of choice, for example I decided to roll a Battle Mage this time around and went heavy into Blade, Heavy Armor, Destruction and Block, however while leveling those main skills will eventually level you up to gain more points they're only there to keep the game flowing.

Personally I absolute love this system, it allows you to eventually max out your character to be strong at everything with some sacrifices, as loot is very, very important in Oblivion you'll eventually come to a sacrifice moment where the desired skill you want has weapon/armor specifications, for example if you're heavily invested in Heavy Armor and Destruction, you will have to make a sacrifice between having Heavy Armor that empowers your stamina and health or if it increases the damage you do with Destruction Magic, this was later changed in Skyrim but personally I think it was done right in Oblivion, making players choose between their ultimate character is great and it's not artificially limiting it in say, making it so you can't get enough experience to level all of them up or by making a skill cap, I'd love to see more games do this again to give us ultimate choice.

Now we move on the combat systems, look for 2006, it was great and even in 2018 I still enjoy it but it's pretty obviously dated in some parts, almost hilariously so, before the joys of modern gaming tech such as hit box auto detection making combat LOOK smoother there was your very basic hit box Vs hit box which is exactly what you get in Oblivion, some fights can be pretty hilarious to look at with the almost stale swinging of a sword that hits a random part of the monster but it's hard to fault a game for not having technology or design choices that weren't available to them at the time, and even though it sounds like I might be ragging on them i'm actually not, it's a great trip down memory lane seeing character animations like this before everything was so synced up.

But in many ways I think the "dated" combat system is part of the charm of Oblivion, it's very simplistic in it's design which means it's easy to master and since it's played in essentially a sandbox world your skills and abilities can go crazy such as creating a spell that deals 10,000 fire damage in all directions for a minute or creating a sword that makes enemies explode in frost and electricity, it's hard to explain since everyone's play through is different but if you have played Oblivion you will know what I mean, eventually you find a combination that works fluidly and is often hilarious when you're one shotting giant ogres even on the highest difficulty.

One thing that is a little bit annoying is the user interface, in that regard Skyrim did a much better job of making everything more simplistic whereas Oblivion was a never ending series of buttons and icons to take you to the different parts of your character you wanted to find such as skills, your inventory the map or other things but again, this is a design choice that might of been needed at the time so it's kind of hard to fault it.

Now i'm going to skip a little bit of the game play to explain the next part but it ties together when you read it.

Deserving Of A Remaster

Usually I don't advocate for Remasters, I think they're a cheap cash in on peoples nostalgia and often times fail to capture the original vibe of the game, however for Oblivion I think it's a prime candidate for a remaster, why you might ask? well it's simple, the only thing Oblivion needs is a new coat of paint, we've had nonstop reissues and remasters of Skyrim but never have we heard a whisper about an Oblivion remaster, also before I skip ahead I want to point out the amazing community made mod that is Beyond Skyrim that completely updates Oblivion to Skyrim's graphics and combat system, we'll see in the near future how it goes and if you want to check it out you can go to but that aside I would love to see a remaster of Oblivion, obviously not at the expense of Elder Scrolls 6 but we'll see.

The reason I believe it deserves a remaster is simply because the game is still extremely enjoyable in the modern day and a touch of paint and a few tweaks here and there would make it feel like a new game and ultimately I believe that's really the point of a remaster, when a game has a phenomenal first outing and enough time has passed for a new generation to be introduced to it, remember, a lot of people who picked up Skyrim in 2011 may of never witnessed the world of Oblivion or what it had to offer and given Todd Howards.....propensity to umm..."release" new version of his games, Oblivion makes a perfect choice to be re-released in the current age a long with all the bells and whistles we have available to us now, but like I said it's just a little day dream some of us can have right?

But remaster aside lets move on the final portion of the review and wrap up the wonderful world of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Critical Review and Reception.

So ultimately, what are great games judged on? well for I believe it's how timeless they are, when a decade or two can pass and you still enjoy it as much as you did the first time, for me that is Oblivion, even though there's been a hundred and one different games of it's nature released in that time and it's sequel was also released, Oblivion feels like a special game in the gaming world that a lot of people tend to agree is the best in the series( I know I know, Morrowind etc etc) and that most people have very fond memories of, I know streaming it to my facebook account a lot of people were happy to see Oblivion again after all these years, keeping in mind that the last time a lot people played it was nearly a decade ago and I know a few friends decided to reinstall the game and go adventuring again for the first time in a while and a few friends who never knew about it.

Personally iv'e always held the game in very high regard, it was largely my introduction into open world games that weren't MMO's and the level of detail, all though kind of trivial now days, still amazes me for a product released 12 years ago, while some things are pretty dated it still holds up extremely well to the new games of the times and remains a product that people can still load up even now and enjoy to it's fullest extent, I said above that's why I believe it deserves to be remastered and I think a lot of people do as well, however if it never comes there's always aforementioned Beyond Skyrim and to be honest even without a remaster it's still just as amazing to play but it also holds a certain level of prestige in the RPG world as one of the last "old guard" games before the turn of the decade and the switch to a more....cliche'd style of "open world" "Rpg".

While not insinuating that the games that came after it aren't amazing, and in some regard downright master pieces( Witcher 3) it's always good to check out the roots and in that regard Oblivion stands up the test of time as an amazing, fluid and superbly enjoyable experience that even now can be enjoyed to it's fullest extent, so if you haven't played Oblivion before or if you haven't played it in a while now might be the time to dust off the old CD case and journey once again into the heart of Tamriel and stop the Oblivion Crisis once and for all.

Thanks for taking the time to read my review, if you enjoyed it feel free to up-vote,resteem or follow me for more content, how do you guys feel about Oblivion and the review? let me know your thoughts in the comments section and i'll get back to you, thanks guys!


it happened to me. It's good after a long time, to play old games again. Maybe we do not feel the same emotion but it's fun hehe.

Didn't see this, for sure my dude, always good to go back to the games of your childhood and give them a second play through.

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