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Imp-potent Review: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Ah yes, the RPG. A flicked thing consisting of thousands of games over the period of the last 30 or so years. Starting with Dungeons & Dragons in the late 1970's, RPG's have become the staple of the geek's time wasting misadventures. Although I do like a good role play once and awhile, I loathe to see games take on the RPG with either too much enthusiasm or not enough of it. No RPG game I've seen, with the exception of D&D, have done the genre just right.

Oblivion is one of them.

Hailing from a line of games from the umbrella term of 'The Elder Scrolls' series, Oblivion continues the tradition of putting a blanket of awe, beauty and epic hugeness on a world that is littered and filthy of bugs, glitches and things that would make any one with a hint of pride weep. Yes, I do realize that at the time of writing this, Oblivion is 6 years old and that might constitute as a retro review but I want to enlighten people who are considering buying this or older games.

The game starts off not with game play but some over done introduction stating that the Emperor Jean-Luc Picard narrating that Oblivion will come and destroy the world and he's going to die. No, it isn't the loveable baldy from Star Trek but Patrick Steward who is the first of only two voice actors who can actually act. The other being Boromir, the bastard son of Picard. After this you get the lovely job of choosing a race and a face, neither of which are pleasant. You can select three types of Elf, three types of human, two beast folk and one Orc. All of them have their ups and downs such as High Elves having more magicka or Orcs having more health. Some have racial powers like Argonians being immune to poison and being able to breath underwater or Nords being highly resistant to cold magic. It doesn't matter what you pick as long as your happy with rolling with that character.
Once this is done, which can take minutes to nearly an hour, you find your character in a dungeon in the capital city know quite cleverly as the Imperial city. Well done, Bethesda. After walking around you get harassed by a fellow prisoner that tells you that you'll die in prison until the Picard shows up with three guards with two that might as well have been red shirts. After a brief and self indulging dialogue with Jean-Luc, your told to follow them into the sewers but instead of freedom you get attacked by assassins and soon they tell you to piss right off and make your own way just as rats attack you and only you.
After a lengthy sequence of assassins trying to kill you, the dolt of a Emperor dies and your only left with a simple minded guard that assumes what class you are. Which is most often wrong. In the final stretch for freedom, you actually go through sewers and make it to freedom. Once the sun hits your eyes and decent music starts to play, you notice how all the trees look oddly...fake.
Like I said before, Oblivion and indeed the elder scroll series are riddled with things like this. I know that it's and older game but to look at trees, grass and even the water and know it's fake doesn't bode well for the entire experience as a whole. Graphics in this game in general are bad, even for it's time. The canopies of trees look like old style sprites and are painfully one dimensional. Rain and snow follow you like you have your own personal cloud over you. Unless you have the PC version of the game, textures such as wood are out of focus and bland. Like the people. Oh, the people...horrible facsimiles of life populate the word with flat skin looking like cake fondant with eyes. It's not until you start to talk to these things that you get the sense of disgust and robotic canned speech with everyone in the world having the same responses over the smallest amount of topics. The worst instance of this was when I arrived in the Imperial city right after escaping from the sewers and someone was talking about the emperors murder. This wasn't even ten minutes after he got killed!
The actors, like I said before, are horrendous. All elves sound the same regardless of what kind of elf. Orcs and Nords sound the same as well as beast folk of Argonians and Khajiit. More robots, anyone?
Trying to get passed this all is the enemies and, in a greater vein, the AI. There isn't any. Enemies range from bandits on the road, marauders intrenched in old forts to wild animals such as bears and wolves. All of which attack on sight with no provocation what so ever. Now bandits and marauders I can understand but wolves? Bears? This isn't how it works in real life. Bethesda has said millions of times that the Elder Scroll series are ment to be as real as possible. They lie through their teeth. Along with what is said above, wolves only attack people if they have no choice or your in their territory. Bears are the same. This isn't realism. This is just arbitrary nonsense. Now speaking of the AI or lack there of, an example if I may? Bandits are the only enemy that carry and use poisons. They make a sizzle when a coated weapon hits you. Since it's suppose to be common knowledge that Argonians are immune to poison in any form, logic dictates that the bandit wouldn't waist it. Right? If you agree, you would be wrong. Every bandit that I encountered that had the stuff would use it right away. Either they are really desperate or the AI is fucked beyond words. Excuse me if I believe the latter.
Ah, but what about Oblivion itself? The Hell of this fantasy world? Is it a horrible place where souls go to suffer of eternity? Where the damned go to get boned up the ass? Nope. It's over done and an example of trying to hard with spikes grow out of the ground and bodies are mutilated everywhere along with the occasional Daedra. A thinly veiled attempt to rename demons. Instead of drawing fear and foreboding, it really warrants no different of a reaction if you look at an ASCII graphic game. Really, the entire game is like that.
So if you want sub-par gaming and a thousands of people who sound exactly the same then Oblivion is right for you! If your a normal person who would rather being doing something more constructive, then never buy this game. I did and regretted it after an hour of playing. It only took that long to notice everything wrong with it.
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Added: 8 years ago
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