The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is one of the most beloved of Bethesda games, so much so that many fans still celebrate it to this very day. I can’t count how many YouTube videos I’ve seen which sing the game’s praises; some even go so far as to say it’s superior to Skyrim! As someone who played Oblivion after Skyrim, I’ve been somewhat confused by this. The game I played felt wholly inferior to its successor, both in terms of graphics and mechanics. I remember my time in the game as confusing, with very little to redeem it. However, I also did nothing but run through the main story. I did no side-quests, and I barely touched the Shivering Isles expansion. So, when I saw the game for sale on Steam last week, I decided to give it another try. It was back to Oblivion for me!
The first thing to do when playing an older PC game is to get some decent mods installed. Unlike with Morrowind, I didn’t install anything overly game-altering. Just the usual fan-made bug-fix/performance mod, some graphics updates, improved dungeons/cities and a companion. I want this run to be mostly true to the standard Oblivion experience, as the whole point is to try and experience this game that everyone’s been gushing about since 2006. Anyway, with the mods installed, I made my character and got my adventure underway.
Since I only did the main questline last time, this time through I’m planning on avoiding it for a good while. I don’t want to feel pressured to save Cyrodiil from the outset, and I want to avoid spawning oblivion gates all over the place. I still remember closing a few of them in my original run, and…yeah their reputation is wholly deserved. If I’m going to go around closing gates, I want to have both better gear and abilities that will allow me to skip through them as much as possible. I was tempted to look for a mod to improve them, but so far I’ve held back. Maybe I’ll try to find one once I’ve had to run through a gate or two.
So far, I’ve put a few hours into the game, and I’ve spent it mostly running whatever sidequests I can find. Most recently, I helped a very paranoid elf spy on his neighbors, who are, according to him, almost certainly up to no good. They’re out to get him, you see. He knows too much and only you, an outsider can bring their nefarious schemes to light. What exactly does he know? Oh, he could tell me, but then they’d be after me too it seems. So I followed them around as he asked, and, shockingly, none of them knew who he was. Nobody was after him and all should have been well.
Unfortunately, he was a bit disappointed when I told him nobody was following him and had to defend myself when he attacked. It was a rather unfortunate ending, especially because I think he was partly correct. These people were up to something, he just wasn’t their target. I don’t know what they were plotting, but I witnessed several odd conversations spoken in what sounded to me like code phrases. I wanted to learn more, but impatience got the better of me and I reported my findings before seeing the full picture. Still, it was quite intriguing and an indication of the side of Oblivion that I’d missed the first time around.
After that rather interesting experience, I’m definitely on board to see where exactly the Oblivion train takes me. Will it transform me from skeptic to fan, or will my original impression hold true? I guess I’m on track to find out, and I’ll be sure to let you all know once I’ve spent some more time finding out!
How do you feel about Oblivion? Do you have a favorite quest? Is this game actually better than Skyrim?
Image from the Oblivion Remastered trailer