Stop right there, criminal scum! With the upcoming release of The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO), I thought I’d treat everybody to run through of the latest fantasy RPG’s brought to you by Bethesda on the lead up to TESO, and if you’re lucky you may even get a cheeky piece of Morrowind in there. They may also be short articles, sorry about that but leading up to exam time I haven’t got much time at the moment, just enjoy what’cha got and don’t complain.
Oblivion is an action RPG which probably became one of the best games of 2006, within a month the game had already shipped over 1.7 million copies. Even to this day it still gets the dust brushed off and the disk slipped in the tray, and then the memories of floating paintbrushes and hilarious door glitches come flooding back. But really, what we remember was the story, the idea of the Emperor, Uriel Septim, being overthrown immediately and leaving you, a simple prisoner with not a clue about the world outside, to carry on his legacy. The main enemy here is the Mythic Dawn, the clan that assassinated the Emperor. The murder though has broken an old covenant and dangerous oblivion gates open, all awaiting either your closure or your death. After you escape the sewers though, it’s entirely up to you about how you want to play the game, you could follow the main storyline and save Cyrodiil from imminent destruction, you could go ahead and join one of the many guilds and try to join The Gray Fox or become master of the fighter’s guild. Or you could just go around killing everyone you see, the benefits of an RPG really shine in this game and if you have ever played any of the Fallouts and Megaton has fallen to your hand, you’ll know how sadistically fun this really is.
The gameplay was a huge upgrade for it era, one of the largest games to be released that year, and it came with more after the release of several DLC packs such as the expansive and beautiful Shivering Isles DLC. It has all the conventions of an RPG, health, mana and gold counts. It is completely free roam, so go ahead and do whatever you want. The choices of characters are massive, with 10 races to choose from, each with different abilities to choose from, then you get to choose main strengths and skills and eventually a star sign. The game’s 21 skills conveniently fall under the subjects of combat, magic and stealth, so build how you want. The levelling system, although not conventional because there is no experience, you level your skills and when you level a main one you get closer to another level. To level up, all you need to do is get some healthy sleep in either your bed or a found one, which leads to the time element of the game. You are given the ability to wait, which is the same as sleep apart from you can do it anywhere, you don’t heal up and you can’t level up using it. The game switches regularly from day to night and even follows the realism pattern for time change even when you fast-travel to destinations.
The world of Cyrodiil is full of items for you to use at your disposal, granted you get some of them off a dead body of a vampire you just killed in a hollow cavern. Main items you’ll find are alchemy things, like ingredients and potions, btu every now and then you’ll get a god that is enchanted, and even rarer you could get an item of clothing that never needs a recharge. The recharge system is extremely confusing at first, with the use of soul gems and the fact that you need to have a weapon to capture the souls with anyway, but never the less the enchanted weapons and staffs are awesome, wait until you find the Wabbajack, a gift from the madgod himself. Spells feature also, whether you build like a mage or not. Some are simple fireballs and lightening, but as you progress you fill find that conjuring an undead can come in handy sometimes and even equip yourself with some daedric gloves to give that edge in battle.
So we come to the end of our journey (I said it was going be a short one), but Oblivion remains one of my favourite games ever, purely because of the whole idea and the series is still going strong. If you loved Fallout, then you will most definitely love this game, although 8 years old, I still have a handful of friends at the moment still playing this game. I also totally recommend getting the DLC for a cheap price if you can find it, because the expansion of The Shivering Isles is by far one of the best game add-ons I have ever bought. And it’s not just the gameplay; clearly the developers have spent a good amount of time looking at the design of the game, so if you can’t appreciate the game you have to appreciate the beauty. Ignoring the crashes occasionally, the annoyingly helpful auto-save system and the frequent loading times, the games advantages clearly outweighs the disadvantages. So go forth and save Tamriel from disorder and destruction, before it is too late.