I have played this one before, but I never did finish it. If I remember right I mostly hid out in the Arena until I ran out of enemies to fight, then got bored with it.
(Click the pics to make them big.)
Also a badly lit dungeon is a terrible place to give someone a makeover. How am I supposed to get my hair and skin tones looking right when I'm in crappy lighting? I could walk out into the sunshine later and find I've given my hero bright pink skin, and it's too late to do anything about it.
But hey at least I can jump right into the thing and make a character without having to play through an entire intro section first, like in Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age 2. Damn that gets annoying after the first playthrough.
Then I'm left in a cell to jump around for a bit while the prisoner next door throws verbal abuse at me. Until the arrival of some soldiers finally shuts him up.
It's Emperor Uriel Septim, the guy from the intro video to Daggerfall! Only this time he's got a lot more hair, and sounds considerably more like Patrick Stewart. Apparently he's been having weird dreams about me, but I decide not to inquire further.
His guards quickly move him along through a secret door in my cell, but they're unable to lock the door behind them. The guy in the cell next to me can go fuck himself, because I'm getting out of here!
Instead of just clicking on locked objects with my lockpick like in Morrowind, this time I have to play this damn lockpicking minigame before I can get to the valuables within.
Elder Scrolls games I'd rely mostly on sleeping to regain lost health, but I start with cure magic in this so I might as well use it.
So far the magic system seems to be an improvement on Morrowind. I've got recharging magicka, and I can cast spells immediately without 'equipping' my magic first. I just press the magic key and I'm healed.
The guards wouldn't let me steal the Emperor's robe either! I did get given his amulet though. Before his death, the Emperor told me to take it to his son, and I totally made him believe that I'd do that.
I'll go with a stealth specialization as recommended, because I like my x2 damage, but I'm changing my favoured attributes to Strength and Agility. Mostly because I want to be strong enough to carry all my loot, and being able to jump all over rooftops is crucial to my entertainment.
Though I'm hitting for x3 sneak damage now I've got my class set up, which is nice. Foolish rats, they never saw me coming.
When I (finally) reached the end of the sewers, I was given a second and final chance to change my face, my class... everything, now that I've had a chance to play with it for a while. So... I can just save here, and if I ever want to make another character I can just load this save and never have to go through the tutorial dungeon again! Oblivion, you win this round.
Morrowind, that's for certain, and I can actually see things in the distance in this! I think Morrowind has the more epic music though.
I was told to visit a man who knows where the Emperor's son is, so I should probably go do that.
Morrowind. It has nothing on it! It's a big fold-out brown map with nothing but the main towns marked on it. What's the point of that?
I guess this in-game version of it is so tiny and zoomed in that they thought it'd be nice if players had a quick way to know where the towns are. I just hope Skyrim has some much better art on the map in the box. Also I hope it still has a map in the box.
Anyway, what was I doing? Oh right, I'm the gold arrow over on the right of the screen, and I want to get over to the red arrow on the left. This will be no trouble at all, because after a short disappearance in Morrowind, fast travel has returned to the Elder Scrolls games!
But fuck that, I'm walking it.
A LONG WALK FOLLOWED BY A SHORT MEETING IN WHICH I DISCOVER THE LOCATION OF THE EMPEROR'S SON, LATER.
Well, you know I'd love to get involved and save the world and everything, but I've just escaped from the Imperial prison so I really can't be bothered right now. It's okay, there's no time limits so I could come back a month later at level 50 and this would all be exactly as I left it. I hope.
Morrowind's fantastic open towns.
And opening times for shops make a return, with the added complication of the shop owners actually leaving work and going out. I guess it's an overall improvement, but I miss being able to just run into a shop at any time, day or night, and being able to sell stuff.
They've changed the shop's cash limit from 'total available cash' to 'amount they're willing to spend per purchase', which makes it much easier to sell a lot of things in one go, but even harder for me to sell my high value gear.
Which kind of takes the joy out of finding high value treasure really. "Awesome, I've found a 5000 coin hammer! I can totally sell this and become rich and... oh wait, shops would only give me 1000 for it. Well no point carrying that around then."
I have to admit, this place looks cool. It makes a change from the forests of Cyrodiil, which are very nice but incredibly generic. In Morrowind travelling outside the towns felt like an expedition into the unknown. In this it's like a stroll in the park.
Okay this Oblivion dimension is quickly losing my interest. The damn place is a maze of towers and bridges and it's wearing me down.
Well okay yeah I could just use the compass marker to tell me which way to go next, if I'd thought of that. But it didn't occur to me until now so... fuck.
Though I think I've broken the scripting because the soldier I'm supposed to talk to won't respond and he's gotten all his men killed by running out of cover.
Still no sign of the Emperor's son, but that can wait until this place is cleared out.
It's not a quick or easy fight, but eventually the town of Kvatch is liberated! Well, the rubble of Kvatch is liberated. Maybe they can build a new town here, and call it New Kvatch or something. The last of the Kvatch guard decides to quit, and gives me his magically enhanced Kvatch cuirass to wear, which is nice. You'd think everyone would assume I was a Kvatch guard now I'm dressed head to toe in Kvatch gear, but nope.
I'm finally able to meet up with the Emperor's son (who turns out to be Sean Bean!) who I found hanging around with the rest of the Kvatch survivors camped just outside of Kvatch, and finally I'm done with Kvatch forever!
SOME QUESTS LATER.
The game just doesn't have much of an incentive to level up. Enemy levels scale up along with mine, so I'd actually be making it harder on myself if I chose to level up any further. It makes a big difference from Morrowind, where my boss would always be telling me to improve my skills and take side missions to get more experience.
Okay yeah, there'd be better loot and more variety of enemies if I levelled up more. But on the other hand, it's taking me long enough to kill these damn creatures as it is.
I'm just lucky that Imperial Legion soldier happened to be in the area to keep her friend busy. I'm supposed to be waiting for some mages to jump in to my rescue, but they're taking their damn time.
The other mage, furious over his friend's death, jumped in and murdered the soldier in retaliation. It's practically Shakespearian in its senseless tragedy.
All that was left for me to do was to steal all their stuff, then go back to the guild to claim my reward for completing the mission. Tragic.
It might have been cleverer if they hadn't already put me fighting rats in a basement (and in a sewer!) in the training dungeon.
Morrowind. For one thing, it's not a bloody maze, and I can fast travel to any segment of it.
I'm fully converted to Oblivion's way of doing things now. I don't even know where I'm supposed to be meeting the guy or why, because this info is irrelevant and possibly wasn't even explained to me. All I do is follow the little red arrow and do what the short pop up messages tell me to do. It does feel a little bit too simplified, I mean I was doing fine with Morrowind's system of giving me directions and explaining what I should do, but it's not exactly ruining the gameplay for me either.
Unlike Morrowind, plot critical characters cannot be killed in this, just knocked unconscious. But my poor friend has no plot armour so I guess he's not important after this point. No more awesome spy mission team ups for us.
I reloaded my save and took the enemy out the best way I know how. I shot them from the shadows before they even entered the room. I might not be much of a fighter, but don't ever bet against the guy with the quick load button.
And then of course we had to go out via a different set of corridors, guarded by an entirely different set of cultists. And these ones were still alive. So instead of being a stealthy ninja striking from the shadows, I had to run out and go on a kill frenzy with my government issue secret agent katana, because the stupid prisoner would continually run ahead and get himself killed.
After playing around with the wheel of persuasion for a bit to make him like me I eventually get the next destination... another dungeon!
With some searching I eventually got the breakthrough I was looking for!
I'm a pretty crappy thief anyway to be honest. I've got good security and sneaking stats, but I just can't bear to steal anything from these poor computer people or their virtual houses.
It's just lucky I've been carrying this silver sword around with me for just this eventuality. Well not this exact eventuality... you know what I mean.
Where's the guy who sold me this bloody haunted mansion? I wanna try my silver sword out on him.
Fortunately the evil ghostly necromancer isn't immune to arrows in the back, and I'm able to win the fight. And get my house back.
And of course each of them would probably reply 'I'd love to send soldiers to help, but unfortunately we've got a big Oblivion gate of our own sitting next to us and we need our soldiers for defence'. And I really don't feel like going through six more bloody Oblivion gates.
It's a big improvement on Morrowind, and a huge step backwards at the same time. The combat is much improved, but the enemy scaling is basically broken. The graphics are far prettier, but the music is less epic. I'm sure that the mods fix a lot of this and turn it into the game it should have been from the start, but I just hope that Bethesda have learned enough from their mistakes to get Skyrim right from the start.
Other Elder Scrolls posts:
Elder Scrolls: Arena
Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall
An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire
Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion