Acid Rounds: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Xbox 360)

Acid rounds is a semi regular, irregular spot on TGAM for games we have beasted from start to finish.

Cunzy1 1: Ahhh yes the game that started it all The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Aside from a few ill fated forays into Skyrim, I've not touched the Elder Scrolls games at all so interested to see what you have to say. First up this is that sword one in first person with the dragons, dwarves and fairies right?
Richie: Just the one dragon in this one, unlike Skyrim where it's hard to move with out one overencumbering you with bones. No Dwarves or Fairies either, Dwarves are in Elder Scrolls are long extinct, dunno about fairies, maybe. But yeah this is the fourth Elder scrolls game, set in Cyrodiil, notably with Jean Luc Picard, Wonder Woman and Ned stark doing the voiceovers.

Cunzy1 1: Did you play any of the other Elder Scrolls games?
Richie: Well, Skyrim, to death, but back in the day I did play Morrowind, but it suffered very heavily from PC-game-itis. Relying heavily on keyboard and mouse interaction on the hud, it ended up feeling more like a fantasy game overlayed with an excel spreadsheet. Additionally the game just had awful GFX spindly jagged polygon people. Its a game I tried hard to like, but in all of it's great effort, it just went into too much detail to the nth-degree, even just to barter a sale involved cumbersome stats and boxes on the screen! Given how long I spent on Oblivion, I feel if I did the same thing for Morrowind it would have been tenfold that time.

Cunzy1 1: What got you playing? What kept you going and how many times did you play through?
Richie: Doppelganger had a copy of it, he embraced it and charged through the game as a (mostly) righteous battle mage style character, as he was playing I found myself thinking how much I wanted to make a less righteous character...

Cunzy1 1: Who did you play as? Were there classes? Were you a sexy elf or an Aryan knight?
Richie: Neither, I played as an Argonian named Lizardboy, mainly because you don't really get to play as a lizard in many games, but also the Argonian racial ability of being able to breathe underwater really appealed, as I had seen drowning cause so much pain to Doppelganger.
Oblivion is a lot more free with classes, it's tough to give a high level explanation the system... there are preset classes, but classes just defined by your primary skills. So if you tell Oblivion you wanna be a 'Healer' it will focus on making your primary skills "Regeneration" and such. Similarly if you wanna be a Knight it will focus on "Swords" and "Heavy Armour" and similar. But of course you should can just go in and make whatever class you want.

For Lizardboy the focus was (and frankly is for all my Bethesda characters) long range combat, and sneaking about. The weapon of choice was Bow and Arrow, and gearing all enemy encounters to allow me to creep past them, or take them out with one shot, often causing the person they were talking with to exclaim, "What was that!" then remain where they are, looking down at a corpse muttering "must have been the wind". Yes I was that prick.

Cunzy1 1: Didn't Oblivion have that issue with enemy level scaling, so the environment levelled up as you did, so were you inclined you could run the whole game at level 1?
Richie: I mean, there wasn't really anything wrong with enemy scaling, yes if you levelled up, a new subset of enemies were available and you were going to have a challenge on your hands! But with that came better armour weapons etc.
Now, levelling is an odd beast in Oblivion, it is actions that dictate how you level up. As I mentioned before your character gets skills these skills can be Primary or secondary and as these skills progress so do you, but they require actions. So if you want to improve your swords you need to successfully hit things with a sword.
Remaining at lvl 1 would be a hard task! Almost everything from fighting, jumping, walking, speaking to people or picking herbs are skills, and doing any of these things can actively level you up. So you could fuck yourself up, pick thousands of herbs, then get to lvl 100 in herbs, and that will make that combat after a level up pretty harsh. That being said the game offers an unpunishing slider of difficulty if you have messed up your build and need to rectify it by hitting your sword off some enemies for a while.

Cunzy1 1: How does the main story work with such a massive free roaming game like this?
Richie: Well and the fun thing with Oblivion, You can just walk away from the main quest. In my original game I had become a Thief, Assassin, head of the mages college, the best fighter in Cyrodiil, and performed silly tasks for a mad god, before the first oblivion gate was even opened!

Cunzy1 1: Where does this game stand amongst the Elder Scrolls aficionados? Why wasn't this ported to every machine with a circuit like Skyrim has been?
Richie: Um, I think it's only PC/360/PS3 because that what was around at the time, and I think this may have been to adult a game for the Nintendo wii at that point. It has a "healthy" PC fanbase, mods and such, but I think the base game is dated and wouldn't really be worth a port without an overhaul.

Cunzy1 1: Touched it since? Would you ever return to it? Please tell me there's a cargo cult of Oblivion true believers out there still keeping this game alive and rejecting Skyrim?
Richie: I'm sure there is, though in my opinion Skyrim did everything much better! I would happily play Oblivion again in the Skyrim engine. Like I said, it does need an overhaul. In chatting about this I have actually installed, and then promptly uninstalled Oblivion. Oblivion is of its time, and yes there is a plethora of mods etc. but the deal breaker for me was  the lack of native controller support, it may be trite, but I played this originally on the 360 and the transition to a "PC game" version of this is just too much for me. That being said I have returned many times to Skyrim its great and Lizardboy lives on there, sneaking about on rooftops, and hiding underwater indefinitely !


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