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Opinion Retro Trailer Oblivion Is Still Excellent 15 Years Later

Vier

Member
Jun 7, 2019
4,246
8,598
710
Dallas, Texas
Oblivion is the worst TES game I've played for any length of time and possibly my biggest disappointment ever (due to me liking the predecessors a lot). It's like a romantic comedy from Hollywood, incredibly skillful craftsmanship but very empty.

For me TES games always were about replay-ability and free form roaming through quantity. The quests and the characters might be flatter than in some other games, but I could always count on there to be something new for me to explore. I really looked forward to Oblivion as I was a big fan of Morrowind which is up there with the Gothics among my top RPG experiences. Daggerfall was also cool for its time but suffered from a very lacking presentation (lots of features weren't fully implemented). These games also had level scaling, but not as extreme as Oblivion. So where did the much more polished Oblivion fail?

Quantity: Too few quests and factions makes you run out of things to do and reduce replay value A LOT. Replay value was IMHO the main strength of Morrowind, and the guilds were much more fleshed out in MW with questlines that were rather long compared to those in Oblivion.

Console interface that's developed for 13 year old's. The game feels like a console port. Menus and the like were not even rescaled to make use of the higher resolution on a PC.

MAJOR: Questionable quest mechanics where you don't get enough oral/written hints, making the bleeding COMPASS ARROW necessary for solving quests. The quests are also more often than not scripted in such a way that triggers have to be activated in a certain order...

MAJOR: Lack of branching in storylines and guild selection: The latter was admittedly a problem in Morrowind too, but there you could ignore it and just focus on one guild and still have enough things for your character to do. Not so with the low number of quests in Oblivion.

Level scaling: A historical weakness of TES games that was in Daggerfall (almost as dumbly implemented as in Oblivion, but less problematic as you could get by without optimizing your character) and Morrowind (where it was less intrusive) as well. But it reaches new heights here, making certain character types (a thief levelling on thieving skills) completely unviable. Any system that requires you to plan your levelling extensively disrupts the fun of the game and kills immersion. Allied NPCs also don't seem to level up to the same extent as your enemies. Anyone tried making the Kvatch guards survive at level 15 or so?

Voice acting: Sean Bean and Patrick Stewart do their part very well, but was there only money in the budget for 3 or four other actors? I hate hearing the same voices over and over again, and I find it a bit odd for High Chancellor Ocato to have the same voice as Glarthir the Psychotic. It would have been better to allow one to switch of voice acting completely, as the repeated use of the same few voices kills immersion.

MAJOR: NPC AI in combination with a ton of escort quests. Possibly dumber than in Gothic 3. NPCs run in BETWEEN MY SWORD AND THE ENEMY. NPCs hit each other and start killing each other. The so called Radiant AI causes a lot of friendly fire incidents to end with wholesale massacres.

A misused physics engine: Walk close to the shelves in a shop and watch the inventory fly all over the place.

MAJOR: Twitch-based combat is not for me. Combined with the "allied" AI its a game breaker.

A lack of weapon types and skills compared to earlier incarnations make each character feel less unique. I know this is cosmetic, but its a big deal to me.

MAJOR: The most populous province of a world-conquering empire has a rather ridiculous population density. The scale is way off. This was less problematic in Morrowind as MW took place on a frontier island, and not an issue at all in humungous Daggerfall.

MAJOR: Random dungeons. Why reuse the obviously faulty dungeon generation system of Daggerfall (combine about ten unique larger dungeon blocks at random)? Sure, the dungeons aren't mating octopi this time, but they repeat. And repeat. Pure shite and inexcusable in this day and age.

MAJOR: Oblivion gates and the, as advertised on the box, infinite realm of Oblivion. Random generated lava levels just don't do it for me. I would recommend any new players to avoid (the realm of) Oblivion and its blasted gates by never going to Kvatch, so the shite doesn't shoot up all over the place.

Mods can fix some of these issues, but not the ones I labelled as major. Fans have told me that there are quest mods and the like, but my experience with mods for all games (including say NWN that was intended as a construction set) is that fan made content varies in quality, and that one has to wade through a lot of poo to get to the nice 5%. I played the game for 20 hours, uninstalled it, and wont touch it again. It bored me and that was due to what I perceive as major design flaws. In the future I'll try to only buy Bethesda "RPGS" from the bargain bin. I concede that the game looks good, some of the quest ideas were neat and new, and that the AI and physics engine could have been nice parts of better thought out design. This isn't Neverwinter Nights 1, a construction set with a campaign tacked on to it, but a GAME with a construction set tacked onto it.
 

Philfrag

Member
Jul 3, 2020
65
106
220
If you're into Bethesda games the first one you play always has a massive impact on you. Oblivion was the first for me, and for all its flaws its was pretty fucking incredible to experience. A lot of people want to get snooty about Bethesda's continued move into the console space but if it wasn't for Oblivion a huge amount of console players would have never got into open world RPGs as much as they did in the following years.

Oblivion was incredibly ambitious for its time and that ambition should be applauded. Every time i hear the soundtrack for that game it transports me back to a time when videogames still felt magical to me. The metal gear solid, Ocarina of Time and Minecraft soundtracks are the only other ones that can do that to me. A lot of that is the composition itself but some of it is the result of my mind being completely blown away by witnessing just how much video games can achieve.
 
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anthraticus

Member
Sep 11, 2018
1,100
1,027
390
Oblivion is the worst TES game I've played for any length of time and possibly my biggest disappointment ever (due to me liking the predecessors a lot). It's like a romantic comedy from Hollywood, incredibly skillful craftsmanship but very empty.

For me TES games always were about replay-ability and free form roaming through quantity. The quests and the characters might be flatter than in some other games, but I could always count on there to be something new for me to explore. I really looked forward to Oblivion as I was a big fan of Morrowind which is up there with the Gothics among my top RPG experiences. Daggerfall was also cool for its time but suffered from a very lacking presentation (lots of features weren't fully implemented). These games also had level scaling, but not as extreme as Oblivion. So where did the much more polished Oblivion fail?

Quantity: Too few quests and factions makes you run out of things to do and reduce replay value A LOT. Replay value was IMHO the main strength of Morrowind, and the guilds were much more fleshed out in MW with questlines that were rather long compared to those in Oblivion.

Console interface that's developed for 13 year old's. The game feels like a console port. Menus and the like were not even rescaled to make use of the higher resolution on a PC.

MAJOR: Questionable quest mechanics where you don't get enough oral/written hints, making the bleeding COMPASS ARROW necessary for solving quests. The quests are also more often than not scripted in such a way that triggers have to be activated in a certain order...

MAJOR: Lack of branching in storylines and guild selection: The latter was admittedly a problem in Morrowind too, but there you could ignore it and just focus on one guild and still have enough things for your character to do. Not so with the low number of quests in Oblivion.

Level scaling: A historical weakness of TES games that was in Daggerfall (almost as dumbly implemented as in Oblivion, but less problematic as you could get by without optimizing your character) and Morrowind (where it was less intrusive) as well. But it reaches new heights here, making certain character types (a thief levelling on thieving skills) completely unviable. Any system that requires you to plan your levelling extensively disrupts the fun of the game and kills immersion. Allied NPCs also don't seem to level up to the same extent as your enemies. Anyone tried making the Kvatch guards survive at level 15 or so?

Voice acting: Sean Bean and Patrick Stewart do their part very well, but was there only money in the budget for 3 or four other actors? I hate hearing the same voices over and over again, and I find it a bit odd for High Chancellor Ocato to have the same voice as Glarthir the Psychotic. It would have been better to allow one to switch of voice acting completely, as the repeated use of the same few voices kills immersion.

MAJOR: NPC AI in combination with a ton of escort quests. Possibly dumber than in Gothic 3. NPCs run in BETWEEN MY SWORD AND THE ENEMY. NPCs hit each other and start killing each other. The so called Radiant AI causes a lot of friendly fire incidents to end with wholesale massacres.

A misused physics engine: Walk close to the shelves in a shop and watch the inventory fly all over the place.

MAJOR: Twitch-based combat is not for me. Combined with the "allied" AI its a game breaker.

A lack of weapon types and skills compared to earlier incarnations make each character feel less unique. I know this is cosmetic, but its a big deal to me.

MAJOR: The most populous province of a world-conquering empire has a rather ridiculous population density. The scale is way off. This was less problematic in Morrowind as MW took place on a frontier island, and not an issue at all in humungous Daggerfall.

MAJOR: Random dungeons. Why reuse the obviously faulty dungeon generation system of Daggerfall (combine about ten unique larger dungeon blocks at random)? Sure, the dungeons aren't mating octopi this time, but they repeat. And repeat. Pure shite and inexcusable in this day and age.

MAJOR: Oblivion gates and the, as advertised on the box, infinite realm of Oblivion. Random generated lava levels just don't do it for me. I would recommend any new players to avoid (the realm of) Oblivion and its blasted gates by never going to Kvatch, so the shite doesn't shoot up all over the place.

Mods can fix some of these issues, but not the ones I labelled as major. Fans have told me that there are quest mods and the like, but my experience with mods for all games (including say NWN that was intended as a construction set) is that fan made content varies in quality, and that one has to wade through a lot of poo to get to the nice 5%. I played the game for 20 hours, uninstalled it, and wont touch it again. It bored me and that was due to what I perceive as major design flaws. In the future I'll try to only buy Bethesda "RPGS" from the bargain bin. I concede that the game looks good, some of the quest ideas were neat and new, and that the AI and physics engine could have been nice parts of better thought out design. This isn't Neverwinter Nights 1, a construction set with a campaign tacked on to it, but a GAME with a construction set tacked onto it.
The best mods for Oblivion & Skyrim are the complete overhauls Nehrim & Enderal. Especially if you're a fan of Gothic 1 & 2, as the creators were. Brings them more in line with proper cRPGs.
 

nkarafo

Member
Nov 30, 2012
16,055
7,345
1,070
Nah. It's depressing how bad this game was and still is. The level scaling was probably the worst game mechanic of all time. The randomly generated dungeons were boring and generic (back then i had no idea why i was so bored by them, until i learned they are randomly generated). The whole thing was riddled with bugs, shitty performance, broken mechanics, shitty animation, hideously ugly NPCs, etc.

Yes, it had some good things like some good looking environments and a nice atmosphere for the most part. Some quests were great and i liked how every lootable object had a 3D model associated that could be present in the game world. But even these weren't enough for me to stand the game in order to finish it.
 

Panajev2001a

GAF's Pleasant Genius
Jun 7, 2004
18,621
11,949
2,110
Oblivion is the worst TES game I've played for any length of time and possibly my biggest disappointment ever (due to me liking the predecessors a lot). It's like a romantic comedy from Hollywood, incredibly skillful craftsmanship but very empty.

For me TES games always were about replay-ability and free form roaming through quantity. The quests and the characters might be flatter than in some other games, but I could always count on there to be something new for me to explore. I really looked forward to Oblivion as I was a big fan of Morrowind which is up there with the Gothics among my top RPG experiences. Daggerfall was also cool for its time but suffered from a very lacking presentation (lots of features weren't fully implemented). These games also had level scaling, but not as extreme as Oblivion. So where did the much more polished Oblivion fail?

Quantity: Too few quests and factions makes you run out of things to do and reduce replay value A LOT. Replay value was IMHO the main strength of Morrowind, and the guilds were much more fleshed out in MW with questlines that were rather long compared to those in Oblivion.

Console interface that's developed for 13 year old's. The game feels like a console port. Menus and the like were not even rescaled to make use of the higher resolution on a PC.

MAJOR: Questionable quest mechanics where you don't get enough oral/written hints, making the bleeding COMPASS ARROW necessary for solving quests. The quests are also more often than not scripted in such a way that triggers have to be activated in a certain order...

MAJOR: Lack of branching in storylines and guild selection: The latter was admittedly a problem in Morrowind too, but there you could ignore it and just focus on one guild and still have enough things for your character to do. Not so with the low number of quests in Oblivion.

Level scaling: A historical weakness of TES games that was in Daggerfall (almost as dumbly implemented as in Oblivion, but less problematic as you could get by without optimizing your character) and Morrowind (where it was less intrusive) as well. But it reaches new heights here, making certain character types (a thief levelling on thieving skills) completely unviable. Any system that requires you to plan your levelling extensively disrupts the fun of the game and kills immersion. Allied NPCs also don't seem to level up to the same extent as your enemies. Anyone tried making the Kvatch guards survive at level 15 or so?

Voice acting: Sean Bean and Patrick Stewart do their part very well, but was there only money in the budget for 3 or four other actors? I hate hearing the same voices over and over again, and I find it a bit odd for High Chancellor Ocato to have the same voice as Glarthir the Psychotic. It would have been better to allow one to switch of voice acting completely, as the repeated use of the same few voices kills immersion.

MAJOR: NPC AI in combination with a ton of escort quests. Possibly dumber than in Gothic 3. NPCs run in BETWEEN MY SWORD AND THE ENEMY. NPCs hit each other and start killing each other. The so called Radiant AI causes a lot of friendly fire incidents to end with wholesale massacres.

A misused physics engine: Walk close to the shelves in a shop and watch the inventory fly all over the place.

MAJOR: Twitch-based combat is not for me. Combined with the "allied" AI its a game breaker.

A lack of weapon types and skills compared to earlier incarnations make each character feel less unique. I know this is cosmetic, but its a big deal to me.

MAJOR: The most populous province of a world-conquering empire has a rather ridiculous population density. The scale is way off. This was less problematic in Morrowind as MW took place on a frontier island, and not an issue at all in humungous Daggerfall.

MAJOR: Random dungeons. Why reuse the obviously faulty dungeon generation system of Daggerfall (combine about ten unique larger dungeon blocks at random)? Sure, the dungeons aren't mating octopi this time, but they repeat. And repeat. Pure shite and inexcusable in this day and age.

MAJOR: Oblivion gates and the, as advertised on the box, infinite realm of Oblivion. Random generated lava levels just don't do it for me. I would recommend any new players to avoid (the realm of) Oblivion and its blasted gates by never going to Kvatch, so the shite doesn't shoot up all over the place.

Mods can fix some of these issues, but not the ones I labelled as major. Fans have told me that there are quest mods and the like, but my experience with mods for all games (including say NWN that was intended as a construction set) is that fan made content varies in quality, and that one has to wade through a lot of poo to get to the nice 5%. I played the game for 20 hours, uninstalled it, and wont touch it again. It bored me and that was due to what I perceive as major design flaws. In the future I'll try to only buy Bethesda "RPGS" from the bargain bin. I concede that the game looks good, some of the quest ideas were neat and new, and that the AI and physics engine could have been nice parts of better thought out design. This isn't Neverwinter Nights 1, a construction set with a campaign tacked on to it, but a GAME with a construction set tacked onto it.
I think we are still suffering from the fact that games have given up of 2D sprites for NPC’s and other world objects and as we got prettier and prettier visuals we got a very pathetic crowd / population density as a result.

What I want the HW in XSX to be used for in TES VI is to make NPC crowds and vegetation feel a lot more alive than it does now (forests in Skyrim were a big let down compared to Oblivion), more than even Assassin’s Creed: Unity at a fluid 30 FPS. No excuses now Behesda, you have MS Trillions behind you, right Phil ;)?
 

johntown

Banned
Dec 27, 2010
3,761
2,366
945
East Coast
Oblivion is one of the best ES games Bethesda ever made. Sure it has a few flaws and it didn't age very well but that does not discount how amazing the game is. People here who say it isn't are retarded and don't know what a good RPG is.

The side quests are some of the best the series has to offer. The Dark Brotherhood and Thieves Guild quest lines are some of the best in the ES series.

The leveling system is different but once you understand how to use it properly it works fine. I find people who complain about it don't play the game right or understand the system.

The music is the best of the series as well. There is no other ES game that comes close.

The vast amount of weapons, skills and magic make replay-ability easy and rewarding compared to Skyrim which dumbed down all the systems to make it more accessible.

Shivering Isles was one of the best and memorable DLC's ever released.
 

R6Rider

Member
Jan 22, 2020
1,899
2,507
425
USA
The default leveling system alone makes it worse than Morrowind and Skyrim, but I still had fun with it. The Dark Brotherhood quest line is great. Oblivion gates are lame.