TES IV: Oblivion

I’ve been playing this game on and off again ever since it came out on March 20th, and I’m very impressed with the scope and depth of its gameplay. Having played and enjoyed its predecessor, Morrowind, I had high expectations for Oblivion, and wasn’t disappointed at all with Oblivion. Like Morrowind, (and most serious single-player RPGs), Oblivion requires a lot of time to get into and enjoy – it’s not really that type of game that lends itself to short 20-minute gaming sessions.

However, those of you who invested a lot of time in Morrowind and have gotten used to its style of play will be rewarded, since Oblivion doesn’t fundamentally change this. Pretty much the same types of races are available, as well as the same system for class creation. (You can either use a predefined class or make your own, which I suspect most people will do.) Most of the same skills are present, and the attributes are identical – for the most part, the major changes are the improved graphics and the changed interface for managing your character’s journal, quests and inventory. For the most part, these UI changes are for the better, except for the large default font-size used in the screens.

From this, it’s clear to see that the oversized fonts were designed with the XBOX 360 and consoles in mind, where typically you have to worry about someone playing the game on a TV that doesn’t have the best resolution. PC gamers don’t have this worry since typically even the lowest PC resolution is better than a standard TV’s. This resulted in screens that don’t display enough information; for example, you have to scroll once you have more than 4-5 items listed in your inventory.

Thankfully, Oblivion is mod-friendly, perhaps even more so than Morrowind. This is evidenced by the appearance of over 1000 mods since the game debuted – no small feat! One of the quickest mods to come out was BTMod, which changes the UI screens to use a smaller font so more information can be shown at once to make the game more PC-friendly. Since then, other UI mods have come out to further tweak the display of screens.

Other mods have also come out, even major ones that change the fundamental gameplay and levelling of Oblivion. You see, Oblivion has a distinct levelling system where NPCs also increase in level as you do – so monsters you fight at level 24 are tougher than those you face at a beginning level. The idea is to keep the game challenging, but it does decrease the sense of accomplishment – after all, everyone wants to level up and become a demi-god that can toss around guards like sandbox toys, right? Oblivion’s default levelling system makes this much more harder, and may diminish the sense of accomplishment. Again, modders have come to the rescue, and Oscuro’s Oblivion Overhaul fixes many of these problems.

This isn’t the end of it though, as with the many Oblivion mod sites (Oblivion Mod Wiki, TESSource File Database), you’re sure to find something that adds to, or changes Oblivion to your liking. Personally, I’m having enough fun with the original game that I doubt I’ll have time to fully try out every good mod out there! If you’re enjoying this game, don’t forget to check out OblivioWiki for help or information about the game or quests that are troubling you.

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