Friday, February 7, 2014

First Impressions: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PC)

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has a sordid history with me, which is why I didn't jump on the bandwagon back in 2006 when the game first came out.  Prior to 2006, I had heard nothing about The Elder Scrolls series on any platform, most likely due to the fact that I wasn't a big PC gamer until recently and I didn't own a 360 or PS3.  
The symbol for the school of Conjuration.

I recall seeing the boxes in Target and upon first inspection, I thought that I had stumbled across a video game series based around H.P. Lovecraft's Cthuhlu mythos.  The cues for me were the similarity between the "Elder Gods" and the "Elder Scrolls," as well as "Oblivion" being a frequent theme of sorts in Lovecraft's writings about the various.  Even the logo I thought was an artistic relic based around the image of Cthulhu.  Granted the symbol looks a bit more like fangs, but now that you have Lovecraft in your mind, seeing what I had thought might become a bit more clear.  So at this point, I figured I would get around to playing this Oblivion game.

The house I live in during 2006, we had a housemate whom we will simply call OnlineGamblerGuyWhoLivesInAMercedes, or Axe for short talked a bit about the game then showed myself and Chreekat what the game was like.  He described it as a kind of fun fantasy game played in first person and I immediatly thought of the Neo Geo game, Crossed Swords.  Axe said that by the end of the game it had gotten repetitious and that you can simply jump while moving and you raise in experience levels.  He said that it while it was a decent game, just that by the end, it got pretty boring.

This was my first impression of not only Oblivion, but of this apparent Elder Scrolls series.  It was not a favorable impression.

Ring in 2012.   Skyrim had been out a year by the time I bought the game and delved deep into it's depths (not nearly as much as Conklederp has mind you).  Thus my impression of The Elder Scrolls forever changed and for the better at that.  In March of 2013 I began playing Morrowind (Chapter III) and this January (just over a month ago), I began playing Oblivion.  

My feelings about this game continue to be conflicted.  I understand the immense leap from Morrowind to Obilivion, the changes in gameplay mechanics (the ones I know about anyway), the graphical improvements over the four years between the two games.  However, in the back of my mind are those first feelings of negativity because of the review of a housemate and finding out that the conjuration sigil had nothing to do with anything related to H.P. Lovecraft.

One other sad thing, for me at least, is that I'm not a fan of the intro song, which is just a fanfaric and slightly sped up version of "Nerevar Rising" from Morrowind.  Yes, I know it was used again in "Dragonborn" from Skyrim, but there it's done with a choir and all bombastic, which I tend to like.  Basically the song, "Reign of the Septims" using the "Nerevar Rising" theme, plays it too fast for what the song is doing.  I don't know if that really makes much sense, but that's how I feel.  The rest of the music in the world I do enjoy as it is very Jeremy Soule and fitting for Cyrodiil.

Presently, I am 14 hours into the game, which isn't far by Elder Scroll standards and for those of you who know, I just joined The Blades at Cloud Ruler Temple and that is where I have left the game since the middle of January.  Rather than be all rhetorical, I have not stopped playing, but felt that I could now diverge from the main storyline to do any half dozen of those side quests that always populate these open world games.

There are certain things that I do like so far in Obilivion such as the lushness of the land.  I mean, just look at all these lupins (??)

and I just escaped (was allowed to escape) from prison!  I like the facial feature-thing mechanic that I will/might get to in a later post.  I like building my character and having them focus their abilities along certain paths.  And as is the case with any game, there are certain aspects that I'm not too fond of such as the menu system, the pudginess of faces due to the facial feature-thing mechanic, the ability to fast travel to locations you have not yet gone to but know of their existence and how small Cyrodiil feels, but maybe this last part is normal having come from such a vast expanse in Vvardenfell.

I will come back to Obilivion very soon, I think I just needed some time to figure out my current feelings for the game and how they conflict with how I first felt about the game.  Well, that's about my quota for the month for talking about feelings.  

I Shall Return From Out Of The Fire
P.S.  Have a good (snowy?) weekend all.


  1. That game does look beautiful! If I wasn't such a cheap bastard, I would definitely pick this game up or skyrim. Or minecraft, for that matter.

    Nice picture of snow. We're getting consistent rain here in CA, which is pretty rare.

  2. For games in the Elder Scroll series, I would recommend Skyrim for ease of play or Morrowind for a more challenging (albeit older looking) game. I would of course wait at least until Steam has their next sale, which should be sometime in March for Spring. Oblivion has had its moments so far though; plus, something I didn't mention, but both Sir Patrick Stewart and Sean Bean voice their own characters in Oblivion, so there's that.