I want to do something a bit different this week (and it’s not down to the fact that I have ran out of money) I want to look back at one of my favourite games from the Xbox 360 and PC and that game my friends, is Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. This game was a launch title if I remember correctly with the 360 but appeared on the PC first and that also happened to be the first platform that I played Oblivion on. The down side was that this game distracted me from my school work for hours and hours. What I liked best about the PC version though is that it came with the TES (The Elder Scrolls) Construction Set which would let you create anything you want really and put it in the game, for example you could make buildings and strange armour for your character. This game also introduced the RPG genre to the main stream audience, because way back before people played these sorts of games they would say that RPGs are for nerds who stay in their rooms 24/7.
When I first played this game I was around 11/12 years old, I didn’t play many video games and The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion was the game that introduced me to the RPG genre. The basic story in this game is you live in a land called Cyrodiil and the crisis known as Oblivion has stuck the land. You are entrusted with the task of stopping it by the fate of the stars. This is one of the greatest open world RPG games that I have ever played, I would say it’s better than Skyrim in some respects, but don’t get me wrong I love the Elder Scrolls V but it felt like they dumbed it down for the more simplistic gamer who has never played an RPG before.
Oblivion in my opinion was the most impressive game of 2006 because as I mentioned previously it was one of the biggest open world games that I have ever played with rich environments and superb graphics for it’s time, it’s one the first games that I put fifty to sixty hours into.
This was the game that brought me into the fantasy genre and I still play this game today to compare it to Skyrim and I think it has way more features, even down to the pointless skills such as athletics and acrobatics – okay, they weren’t completely pointless though because say if you become a journeyman of acrobatics you could fall from greater heights compared to when you are novice you would take damage from missing a step when walking down a set of stairs.
Compared to Skyrim the level up system was slower but it made the game more of a challenge rather than leveling up every five minutes for doing nothing which seems to be the case in the latest entry of the series. It encouraged you to go and explore, do the various side missions, and join the guilds and brotherhoods instead of running through the story straight away with ease. The cool thing about this game you weren’t tied down to exploring one world as there are two others from each gate – like the Plains of Oblivion, a paradise which is a colourful and peaceful place where you will find ingredients and items that you will not find in the main world for example, if you shut down an Oblivion Gate you get something called a Sigil stone and you can use these to customise your weapons by adding fire damage or soul damage.
Elder Scrolls: Oblivion has the classic feel of an RPG and these days I don’t get that excited about these sorts of games any more because a lot of them in my opinion are dumbed down for the main stream market (ahem Dragon Age II). Don’t get me wrong I can see it from the developers point of view because at the end of the day it’s a job that puts food on their table, but the thing that annoys me is that there is no originality any more, the gaming community has become inpatient for games like this and they just want a Michael Bay experience with mindless explosions and gunfire.
I have so many fond memories of Oblivion where a time of experimentation awarded the player rather than putting them down and I think that developers need to go back to basics and see what went wrong with this genre, if you haven’t played this game I say buy it, it’s only around £10 these days and it’s a bargain for a massive open world RPG.