Monday, March 11, 2013

Skyrim vs oblivion

This posts purpose isn't to pick one game over the other, simply to present the pro's and con's of two completely separate and yet still connected games.

I know, I know... were all level 500 over-powered dragon slaying avatars ready for the next segment in the elder scrolls series, but hold your horses (seriously, if your playing skyrim at the moment) for a minute and lets delve into the past so that we may consider, study, analyze, criticize and become better conduits for suggestions towards the next game.

Oblivion, to me, is one of the most re-playable games you can own, if you can get over the time jump backwards in terms of graphics and voice-actor diversity. the fact that you are an absolute nobody in the beginning of the game is no new idea to bethesda, but it does appeal to me personally. The fact that you get the chance to go from the filthy, smelly ground of a prison cell up to the variable different types of powerful person(s) you want to be, makes the game something you really want to play alot. everything you get in oblivion, you earn. (unless, of course, you use the famous duplication cheat...dont do it! at least not on your first play-through) you work days and days leveling up your combat, magic or thievery and slowly but surely you become a powerful...whatever. to me, all of the magical quests to gain entry into the college in the imperial city, or the numerous evil deeds to become a trusted member of the dark brotherhood are two of the funnest quest-lines in the game. sure, the main story line is interesting, and the concept of the hellish plains of oblivion and certain doom at the hands of a deadra is quite interesting, but for me, its all the side quests that truly make an open world rpg great. 

we all know where oblivion falls short, the graphics, the non-expressive faces, the lack of voice actors, the constantly repeated lines, such as "you should've paid the fine!" the absolutely ridiculous idea that stealing a fork constitutes a bloody execution at the hands of an overly dramatic guard. We also are familiar with all of the pro's of skyrim: the MUCH needed graphics boost, the diversity in voice actors and script, the novelty of a mountainous landscape, and dragons...giants...marriage etc. Lets not focus on the faults of oblivion or the virtues of skyrim. I'm going to apply what I think oblivion offered that skyrim didn't. to be clear, I love both games and am not bashing either of them, simply trying to bring in the old dog and teach the new one some tricks. 

oblivion offered a more realistic approach in terms of your character, you are a nobody, and depending on what major skills you have, the star you were born under and the factions you join, you become who you want to be. In skyrim, you are almost immediately told that you are an ancient and powerful person and it is your duty to learn the power of the voice and "save" skyrim; which, honestly, doesn't ever seem to be in that much danger, no major towns can be destroyed by the dragons, they aren't nearly as powerful as you'd think, I mean geez, trees don't even burn down when they swoop by and spit fire. the main quest line of oblivion is more rewarding than that of skyrim's, once completed, you are hailed as a champion by many and there are other benefits. in skyrim, its almost like you've won an award before you even had the chance to earn it just by being the dragon-born. 

One part that really disappointed me in skyrim was the mages questline. In oblivion, it takes a LONG time and many missions to even get to the mages college, in skyrim "cast this spell and come right in!" then the college is all run down and old, and few people study there. Its almost as though they watered down the difficulty of getting in and poured you a triple reward on the rocks, then knocked your glass over once you actually see the place. the questline of the college isn't really that engaging either, you just don't feel connected enough to anyone there to actually care, your just doing it to get cool magical stuff and be on your way. as a matter of fact, I found most of the people at the college to be quite annoying and distant towards my character. that seems to be the overall feel of the game unfortunately, I mean sure, you make a few friends here and there, but for the most part, your just some guy nobody really cares about (unless they know your the dragon-born) even when you try to build a relationship. I felt closer to my escort out of danger in the beginning of the game more than anyone I actually met in the world, including my wife, no, let me rephrase, ESPECIALLY my wife. 

As much as most men like to get homecooked meals and money from their wife's buisness, thats not USALLY the basis a marriage is centered around, I mean really? no conversation options other then, "did you make any money from the store?" not even an "how has your day been" or "I love you honey!" or "is there anything I can get you while I'm out slaying dragons? a dragon tooth necklace perhaps?" I could go on and on, but I am trying to give constructive criticism here. like I said, LOVE both games, have played through both more than once, but the next game in the series could use a little more tuning up. 

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