Archive for April, 2006

Gates of Oblivion

Friday, April 21st, 2006

The interface seems to be very much designed with the console in mind. Where are the resizeable windows? Why is everything limited to one screen with a bunch of tabs to go through the various windows?

Once you get past the interface though and dig into the heart of the game, it ends up starting to feel like the classic Elder Scrolls series. At least, until you run into the itemization and leveled system they’ve implemented. By that point you end up realizing how much they’ve potentially gimped Thieves and other “non-action” oriented classes. One of the best things about the Elder Scrolls series was that it was the first RPG series to do Thieves justice. Unfortunately, with the leveled loot system, thievery just completely sucks now. There’s absolutely no point to explorer all of the nooks and crannies to find something worthwhile. When you finally do level up to the higher levels, suddenly it seems like every common bandit is in full Glass. I mean, why do they continue to be bandits if they can afford Glass armor?

While the new leveled system does allow for a greater degree of challenge while you level, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can potentially gimp yourself if you are unfamiliar with the Elder Scrolls system and level up too fast.

Is it a better game than Morrowind? That depends. They did improve on a few things, but it seems as though they’ve possible taken some steps back in other areas. Is it still fun though? Yes. Will I play this longer than Morrowind? No.

There’s a lot of hand-holding in Oblivion. In essence, they’ve had to dumb it down in order to sell even more units. The game also feel strangely linear while questing simply because your compass and map automatically point out where to go. While it was a good business decision, I don’t know if it was actually a step up in terms of gameplay value.

Minor Disappointment

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006

Oblivion managed to improve on a couple of areas. However, it seems that they might have taken a few steps back as well. The overall simplification, or “streamlining”, if you prefer, of the game I don’t think makes it feel quite as in depth as Morrowind. The interface itself has a couple of oddities that don’t quite make sense for the PC environment either. While I am sure that, overall, it is still a decent game, I think that history will look at Oblivion as a step back in terms of “openness” for the series.

It already doesn’t look like the replay value will be quite up there with Morrowind, but it should still be a decent romp for a while.

The Power of the Dark Side

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

So, despite my better judgement, I splurged and bought myself an iPod. In hindsight, I probably could’ve settled for a Nano and still been fine, but unfortunately, trying to tell me otherwise is hopeless once I’ve made up my mind on something.

Of course, there was the initial “oh shit I spent way too much money” … but after playing around with it and using it for a while, I no longer have any regrets. I really should try to listen to music more if only to help pass time.

Granted, time is something I am now in short supply. I am still contemplating whether I should use a melee, stealth, or caster. However, I still need to figure out how to get out of the starting dungeon without triggering any skill level ups. Either ways, Oblivion now awaits…