Oblivion is the fourth Elder Scrolls entry and was released on the Xbox 360 and PS4 in 2006. It is very critically acclaimed and many still consider it the perfect game.
To make my bias clear, it is the perfect game, there is nothing wrong in the game at all. That is why I am entering Oblivion into the Gem Vault.
Oblivion is a fantasy RPG set in the fictional realm of Tamriel, specifically in the province of Cyrodiil. Cyrodiil is the seat of the Imperial Empire and home to the Emperor Uriel Septim VII.
What’s the message?
Something that I noticed between Oblivion and it’s sequel Skyrim is how forthcoming the story is. From the start, you basically know what you need to do and who you’re going against. I honestly can’t decide if this is a positive or not but that’s really besides the point right now.
So the story, you are in prison. The end… just kidding, obviously.
You do start in prison though, you have been locked up in the Imperial Capital of Cyrodiil. For what? Only god knows but there you are. It turns out that there is a secret passage in your cell, who’d have guessed it?
Well the Emperor is under attack and he and his guard, the Blades, need to take this passage. They barrel into your cosy little, bone-infested cell and take the passage, only the Emperor remembers you. He’s only gone and seen you in a dream! Saucy old dog!
Long story short. He gets buggered and sends you on a quest to find his illegitimate son, Martin. Martin, voiced by old die-pants Sean Bean, must take up the throne to stop a Daedric Prince. The Prince in question is Mehrunes Dagon and he basically wants to rule, well, everything.
You’ve basically gotta help the Empire not let that happen. Good luck with that…
So Oblivion is a Medieval-Fantasy world, so that means swords and magic, the important stuff. There’s also literal gates of hell opening everywhere. So there’s a real “rough with the smooth” thing going on.
There’s a lot of sword slashing, axe swinging, monster conjuring, and fireball flinging. Running around the Cyrodilic countryside killing monsters, animals, and bandits. A perfect sunday afternoon if you ask me!
There are quite a lot of side quests and activities to keep you busy too. The actual side quests are pretty much standard fantasy RPG side quests. The real meat and potatoes come in the form of Guilds, these can take up the majority of your time.
I personally really like most of each of the guild of quest lines. There’s the Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, Thieves Guild, the Arena, and the Dark Brotherhood. Each deals with very different matters and you can climb to the top in each.
I personally like the Dark Brotherhood the most, here you join a massive network of assassins. My favourite part of this questline are within each of the assassination contracts there is a bonus. A reward bonus that you can obtain by fulfilling a certain parameter on the mission. For example, switching a sick man’s medicine without being detected. Or for dropping a stuffed animal head on a guy to make it look like an accident. It adds a lot of great variation to the missions.
What do I like so much?
This is another example of me liking everything in a game, my bad. Again. The difference this time is that, while I know that Oblivion has flaws, I love it despite the broken quirkiness and ridiculousness. It’s all so delicious!!
This needs not be said but Sir Patrick Steward is godly. Or Emperor-ly. Heh. He takes the opening monologue and what a monologue it is! It leaves a rather large first impression and I have yet to get bored of it. I still regularly play Oblivion and will listen to the whole thing.
Following on from the start of the game, the theme that starts at the menu is iconic. It’s also pretty recognisable to be sure. It’s not quite the first note of the Black Parade but it’s pretty darn close. It gets me all excited everytime I hear it.
Oblivion actually has one of my favourite level up systems. There are those that don’t like it, but I just think it’s the most logical. You choose 7 major skills and the rest are kept as minor ones. As you raise your skill level in your major skills, you’ll be able to level up after sleeping.
The reason I like this is that it’s very “role-play-y”. If you’re a knight that focuses on swords, heavy armour, and illusion magic then using those skills makes you better. Your knight doesn’t get better if you then use a mace, or a bow. I like this level up system because as you level up as a knight by using your knightley skills.
I’m not sure if there are many other games that use a similar system but I know they changed it for Skyrim. In Skyrim, I still really like the skill points and some of those skills are pretty great.
What does it all mean?
Well, it all means that despite it all being a buggy, goofy mess I love it. It has real character, from start to finish.
Oblivion is one of my favourite games, especially from the 360 era. I must say, it still holds up well enough to this day. I’ve re-played it quite a bit recently, as well as Skyrim. My honest opinion is that I prefer it greatly over Skyrim, by some measure.
I think for next-gen they should really put together a full Oblivion Remaster. I do mean remaster, if you remade it, it may just end up as Skyrim and I don’t want that.
That being said, Backwards Compatibility on the Xbox Series X seems to improve all games without changes. I wonder if there will be any measurable improvements on the new system? I shall certainly find out!
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion – Into the Gem Vault.
Written by Kyle Munn.