The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (360)

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DaHeckIzDat
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The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (360)

Postby DaHeckIzDat » December 18th, 2021, 6:35 pm

I didn't use to like open world games. A more streamlined game would be able to focus on the memorable bits without dozens of hours of walking from point A to B. But while they're still not my favorite genre, I've found that I'm a lot more tolerant of the good ones now. Namely, that the traveling feels like I'm exploring a cool and fleshed out world, and not just padding the game's runtime out.

Anyway, having finally beaten Skyrim a few months ago, I wondered if I'd have a more charitable opinion of its predecessor, Oblivion, now that I have an appreciation for open world games.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. It's not just that Oblivion lacks the polish that Skyrim had (which is part of it) but the world itself is generic, boring, and no fun to explore. Take a look at your surroundings as soon as you finish the tutorial, and that's pretty much all you're going to see -- except when you go to Oblivion, which made me feel like I was playing a way, way more boring prototype of Doom 2016. Combat was never Skyrim's strong point, but it was serviceable. Oblivion's combat is so bad I literally had no idea if I was hitting my target or not because your weapon passes right through them as if they weren't there.

TLDR: even as a fan of Skyrim, Oblivion isn't a fun game.

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DrLitch
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Re: The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (360)

Postby DrLitch » December 19th, 2021, 1:16 pm

Like many open world style RPG titles of the early to mid/late 00's, it helps to have played them in the day when they were new and fresh. Not just for nostalgia sake but also for sake of developing an acceptance of the differing mechanics. Although Elder Scrolls Morrowind and Oblivion are classic games, they are both clunky byproducts of an era when game designers were still figuring out what works best for these open world RPG's - translating the Board Game RPG / Dungeon Crawler into a fully fleshed out 3D world (or redefining them as more action RPG's without die rolls or heavy stat reliance). Having played Oblivion in the day, despite being buggy in places, it is one of my all time favorite titles topped in the series perhaps only by Morrowind. Elder Scrolls Skyrim feels a little more watered down RPG wise but the more contemporary design makes it seem to be a more refined game and it perhaps is. Not to mention the graphics are significantly enhanced over the older games to help with the immersion.

Playing Skyrim first then playing the older titles - as you are experiencing, it is going to underwhelming unless one has done their dues experiencing it as it evolved. Many Fallout fans are in a similar position, the real old school players never took to the 3D incarnations, while those that played Fallout 3 / New Vegas found Fallout 4 lacking in RPG goodness despite it's extra polish, while folks playing Fallout 4 first often find the older games too antiquated or RPG heavy to fully immerse themselves in.

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ActRaiser
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Re: The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (360)

Postby ActRaiser » December 19th, 2021, 10:55 pm

I gotta disagree with you on Oblivion. I sunk 120 hours into it. Skyrim only captured about 5 before I called it quits.

There's one side quest where you go inside a painting. Imagine walking around in an impressionistic painting. Amazing!

And then there were updates to Oblivion that launched it into a whole new realm. I can't remember the name for it but it had a completely different art style as well. Plus, you can be on the hunt for some type of plant that makes a singing noise as you get closer to it if I recall correctly. Fantastic game!

DaHeckIzDat
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Re: The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (360)

Postby DaHeckIzDat » December 19th, 2021, 11:18 pm

ActRaiser wrote:There's one side quest where you go inside a painting. Imagine walking around in an impressionistic painting.

Image

ActRaiser wrote:Plus, you can be on the hunt for some type of plant that makes a singing noise as you get closer to it if I recall correctly.

Those are in Skyrim too.

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noah98
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Re: The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (360)

Postby noah98 » December 20th, 2021, 8:30 am

Well, Morrowind and Oblivion were certainly impressive when they were released. But unlike Skyrim, they just don't hold up anymore. I have trouble going back to those games, but Skyrim still gets played at least once a week. With mods, Skyrim has unlimited content to explore. I love the Elder Scrolls universe, and I like all of the games, but I'll never agree with the idea that Morrowind or Oblivion did it better.

Alucard1191
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Re: The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (360)

Postby Alucard1191 » December 20th, 2021, 6:54 pm

So I'll say that in general I'm not a fan of open world games as an adult. They take way too much time and I just don't have it. (BoTW is the exception here, I can do a shrine or two than stop and go about my life. The Elder Scrolls games and Fallout New Vegas don't really have that. Sure you can save anytime but it isn't the same. You don't feel like you've accomplished anything in 20 minutes most of the time in those games.)

That said, I'm really going to agree with the assessment of 'these haven't aged super well.' I own Morrowind through Skyrim, and I beat Daggerfall way back in the day. (The 2nd one.) Though the first one (Arena) I never got even close to beating, I just couldn't figure that one out for whatever reason. I honestly consider Skyrim the only one worth playing nowadays. Morrowind I installed on my PC and gave a go to two-three years ago now and I couldn't get very far in it. The game was amazing, and in my late teens and early 20's Morrowind got well over 100 hours of play, but I could barely stand its clunky, slow gameplay today. Oblivion, which I have on PS3, is definitely better, but I agree with the 'world isn't that interesting' critique from earlier. I got about 4-5 hours in on the file I have on there and just lost interest. Skyrim on the other hand I feel has a lot more going for it, with the shouts and better world and many fun ways to build.

And that is my worthless 2 cents on the subject.

ThePixelatedGenocide
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Re: The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (360)

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » December 20th, 2021, 7:12 pm

I got into the series with MorrowWind.

The writing is best described by the number of wooden splinters you'll remove afterwards, as are the acting and the polygon counts.

And the combat is based on the exciting theory that actually hitting the monster with your sword - at point blank range - shouldn't completely influence whether or not you still missed. It's an action game with all the work, and none of the reward.

By every modern standard, a chore.

Save one.

The actual world was one of the most imaginative I'd seen - just seeing the giant insects looming over the towns took my breath away. And it felt deeper and more immersive than anything else I'd seen on console. To explore it all, forgave a lot of faults.

So imagine my surprise, the first time I spoke to a shopowner in Oblivion, and realized I just didn't have the patience for this nonsense.

Something that simple and basic was now a mini-game. From the same people who couldn't even figure out how to make "fighting the undead" any fun.

Were they taking inspiration from Alex Kidd?

More important -

Has the game's designer ever spoken to another human being in their entire life? Because the results of their extra efforts to make all the NPC faces look as boring as possible suggest otherwise. (They really needed expressive faces if they were going to attempt this. And better lighting. And better writing. Nobody asked for a cross between the worst of King's Field and Shenmue in 2006.)

As for the exploration? Sure, there's secrets to be found, and they're worth the hunt. But that's not much comfort early on, when it seems like they've simply removed everything that was enjoyable about the last game.

And there's rolling hills of grassy cliche as far as the eye can see.

How much game must someone endure, before you're allowed to just have fun?

Anyways, it's just a bad open world game that had the good fortune to be released before we really had any standards.

Kind of like Hylide was for the Japanese.

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DrLitch
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Re: The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (360)

Postby DrLitch » December 21st, 2021, 7:28 pm

ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:INobody asked for a cross between the worst of King's Field and Shenmue in 2006.)


That is a good description :D although I am willing to overlook the flaws. My 2006 incarnation loved it and influences my thoughts.

I am shocked to find someone else played King's Field. Dark Souls / 1990's Elder Scrolls crossover, not recommended even to my worst enemies.

I often wonder if video game companies hire scriptwriters for the task as they hire in the acting profession. I just cannot imagine a CS/CSE/EE major, bogged down in C code, masquerading as a world class artist and storyteller/script writer. At least not in 90's to mid 00's. Then again, these guys produced Crash and the guy talking is an exceptionally talented engineer. Quite an interesting tale of PS optimization. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izxXGuVL21o

ThePixelatedGenocide
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Re: The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (360)

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » December 21st, 2021, 9:07 pm

DrLitch wrote:I am shocked to find someone else played King's Field. Dark Souls / 1990's Elder Scrolls crossover, not recommended even to my worst enemies.


I rather enjoyed my time with it. Sure, it moved in slow motion, but that only made every move feel like dreamlike chess. And it was designed by a sadist, but that constant sense of unwelcome made me feel like I was getting away with something, just by exploring the dungeon.

The graphics were so primitive and opposed to aesthetic, that my mind simply refused to see it as a retail consumer product, Every enemy animation seemed an unexpected spark of life. Especially since there was no such thing as a safe enemy encounter, and I had to learn how to read their intentions.

It was the welcome side of the uncanny valley.

For the first time, in a long time, I had no idea what to expect.

And that was an experience a polished power fantasy like a Diablo or a Metroid Prime can never give me again.

I often wonder if video game companies hire scriptwriters for the task as they hire in the acting profession.


That was rare, until recent. And often when it happened, it was because people with that talent found their way into game development, rather than the industry seeking out an outsider's perspective.

It's what made videogame storytelling so fascinating - many amateur writers either aren't always in control of their narratives, or they control every single moment as if they're programming code. Either one can take you to unexpected places.

For example, between IV to X, Final Fantasy's tone would be all over the map, but it fully committed to every emotion. The characters, powerful enough to kill Gods, were still some of the most vulnerable people you'd ever meet. It was if they all lived in a perpetual adolescence.

You could believe they'd fall in love at the drop of a hat, and form lifelong bonds with the complete and utter strangers they'd been trying to kill only a few minutes ago.

But struggle to figure out how public displays of affection worked.

And if the plots often forgot any sense of logic, and characters seemed to be simply reacting to events as they happened?

Well, that really helped sell the ridiculous game mechanics at the heart of the experience. It was all wonderfully sincere and charming, in a way that was almost like a socially awkward Princess Bride.

On the other hand, that "let's put on a show!" mentality also led to moments like Kung Lao teasing Liu Kang about his crush on Kitana...right after Liu Kang had brutally and stylishly murdered her mind controlled friend, Jade, right in front of her.

When it came to a game's story mode, you almost always rolled the dice and took your chances.

Then again, these guys produced Crash and the guy talking is an exceptionally talented engineer. Quite an interesting tale of PS optimization. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izxXGuVL21o


Yeah, but what makes them legends is they know their limits. He knew he needed a professional cartoonist to create the characters and their world - not everyone can turn a tiny polygon budget into a style advantage.

Don't forget Naughty Dog's idea of good character design looked a lot like Image And Image

And if they hadn't obsessively studied Miyamoto's game design, they'd still be remembered for 3DO blood and topless Genesis codes.

And poor controller response.

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DrLitch
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Re: The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (360)

Postby DrLitch » December 22nd, 2021, 8:04 pm

ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:I rather enjoyed my time with it. Sure, it moved in slow motion, but that only made every move feel like dreamlike chess. And it was designed by a sadist, but that constant sense of unwelcome made me feel like I was getting away with something, just by exploring the dungeon.


To it's credit though, I do not believe anything existed like this at the time, it was definitely ahead of Elder Scrolls Engine wise. Was not a couple of years until Daggerfall dabbled with 3D models. It's predecessors, Ultima Underworld 1,2 were pretty much all one had frame of reference wise, unless there were obscure DOS titles around at the time not commonly known.

ThePixelatedGenocide wrote: Don't forget Naughty Dog's idea of good character design looked a lot like ----.


Rough, not even of the diamond varietal. Without history would have never been able to link pre Crash Naughty Dog to post Crash. Although is Crash a worthy title to look back as a classic and influential game? Sonic on rails.

Regarding Elder Scrolls, Morrowind's music definitely helped on the immersion front. I remember when I first played Skyrim, Solstheim brought back so many memories with the overworld tune. Might be my favorite section in the game. Black Books to find also, at level 8 or so, masochism confirmed.


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