Zero Punctuation: Oblivion

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Another great review by yatzee. (cough,,,cough,,,HAZE REVIEW,,, cough,,,cough)

I actually agree with him on the whole "lack of immersion" the telling moment for me was when I actually got REALLY caught up in the game and came across a group of guards desperately fighting for their lives against a suddenly opened Oblivion Gate, there was only one survivor standing heroicly on the bodies of his fallen comrades, desperately trying to hold back the tide of demonic invasion. So I charge in, kill the demons, then go to talk to the guard and he promptly responds with...

"Good day citizen"

As if nothing had happened... that just broke the immersion factor right then and there.

Haha that's friggin' hilarious

Most of these point's made only apply to the 360 version of Oblivion.

The PC version was made in such a way that people are encouraged to add there content, that's always been what TES is all about. The blanks in the story are there to be filled in by imagination. This allows players to add there own content to fill in the blanks, if TES told everyone everything, then people would complain the game had to much content (speech), and was linear as hell.

On the other hand they could just have lousy writers and that this was just a superficial, empty shell of a game. With that explanation you don't even have to bend over backwards rationalizing. He was far too kind to it in my not so humble opinion. It seems like I only disagree with him when he reviews a PCRPG.

That... was... Orgasmic. I've been waiting, waiting beyond all hope, lost in a mirky sea of lost hope, hopeless like a hope berieved hopeless misanthrope, for you to review Oblivion. So therfor I thank you. Thank you for letting me finally die happy. This was a fantastic review, witty, amusing, constantly on topic and makes valid points. I still love Oblivion dont get me wrong, and if Immersion isnt thinking your the Breton youve been leveling for the past 2 weeks without sleep, food or toilet breaks, then trying to fry your best friend for his clothes, I dont know what is. But points made were valid, amusing and excellently well put. Oblivion can be bloody stupid at times, and (also the bit that made me laugh the most), you do see NPCs talking in identical voices about a shop an identical voiced NPc owns :P Never seen the "fine moustache" shop persay but it was hellishly funny. Only criticism, 1 tiny tiny flaw, I didn't think you made a very good analogy with Assassins creed, and could have worded that better, there may have been a couple of lost 1 liners that could have made it, but maybe thats just me. Thats all I ahve to say negatively. Otherwise BRAVO! Excellent, just bloomin spot on! Way your loins never give you a rash and may your manly reviewer beard of grunting and axes grow ever manlier. (Nord was my first character, about tha same as yours, but with sneaking abilities.)

Again, THANK YOU :D (We're trying everything to get to Melbourne to come see you. The cheapest return flight we can get is £800ish Per Person. Damn you England being so far away and such! I blame God on this one XD)

Most of these point's made only apply to the 360 version of Oblivion.

The PC version was made in such a way that people are encouraged to add there content, that's always been what TES is all about. The blanks in the story are there to be filled in by imagination. This allows players to add there own content to fill in the blanks, if TES told everyone everything, then people would complain the game had to much content (speech), and was linear as hell.

The only point I have seen that I agree with is the immersion quality. In the story, you aren't saving the land. You're just helping the guy who will save the land to do it. You're the side kick. Which is boring and not something most people would play.

Quick point, I believe he reviewed the PC version :P He states so at the beginning in passing.

Also I like how TES leaves things to your imagination. Thats I think, how it immerses you, if it does at all. Apparantly he didnt see that, maybe we're just looking into it too deeply, maybe I think I'm a breton. Who knows.

The main story does leave you feeling a bit like a side kick. I prefer the term hand of the emperor. Same thing really, but it makes me feel like my balls are much bigger than say "Emperors Bitch".

This review features hypocritical elements. In Yahtzee's Assassins's Creed review he was complaining about walking down mountains and roads. In this hes changed his views to mention the awesomeness of walking in creatively made environments where the beggars and others interact creatively(ex latching on to you and begging) still entertaing

It's nice to see someone who doesn't seem to think that Oblivion is everything it was hyped up to be. As someone who loved Morrowind to death, this game felt like Bethesda was taking warm shits in my mouth. It was barely even a fucking RPG.

Given that you utterly loathed Oblivion, I rather hestitate to suggest this, because granted it is a bit like suggesting that you now attempt to copulate with the chainsaw which has just accidentally castrated you, but...

Did you get the chance to play the Shivering Isles expansion set? It's hard to describe how completely different from the original game it is. It's like a door into parallel universe opens and suddenly you are transported to a place where Oblivion doesn't suck (well, in fact, that is exactly what happens, but never mind)

Shivering Isles sports some truly weird and interesting visual design, a coherent and engrossing story line about a mad god badly in need of some lithium, actual things to do which are slightly more exciting than walking from here to there, interesting characters that actually interact with you, quests which are, dare I say, fun to complete like designing and building your own zombie henchman (morningstars or meathooks for hands? I just can't decide), and totally cool new abilities like the ability to change the weather in the whole world anytime you want.

Just a thought, in case those cosmic rays haven't quite worn off.

Shivering Isles was an improvement. Attractive landscapes with some apparent kind of atmosphere and actual art direction, characters with no relation to quests feeling like something more than just filler with bad voice acting, and just as many decent quests as the rest of Oblivion.
However, it still suffered from being Oblivion. I just didn't need to mod the living shit out of it to enjoy it for more than 3 hours.

*claps* Good one, I once got this game for the 360, all pumped up because of all these "It's so amazing!!!" talks I got smacked in my face, but I ended up with a pile of rubbish! It's indeed 1 of the worst immersion experience I éver had. I can remember that this game was renowed by some people for it's incredibly AI and character graphics, but by the Lords of Kobol they suck áss. They don't just stare and talk to you like soul-less drones, but they act retarted as well. An example Yathzee didn't mention, you can just cause havoc in 1 of the many shops, running around on the counter like the local village loony scattering there wares all over the place, but no one gives a damn untill you pick something up. Then they'll cry for help without even looking slightly in distress, not even moving an inch. It's almost scary...
Another thing that totally kills immersion wich Yathzee did not mention, is the combat. Really, I've got a huge glowing sword and when I violently swing it at any random enemy it has the same effect as flinging an inflatable baseball bat at my little brother; it just makes it angry, and you'll just repeat that untill they apperantly get a heartattack.
I can't imagine why any reviewer would give this game a 9+ (see IGN for example).

It's nice to see someone who doesn't seem to think that Oblivion is everything it was hyped up to be. As someone who loved Morrowind to death, this game felt like Bethesda was taking warm shits in my mouth. It was barely even a fucking RPG.

I havent really enjoyed Morrowind so far :\ What Yahtzee suffered with Oblivion, where he feels the game is constantly trying to keep him out of being immersed in the game world, happens with Morrowind for me. I just cant see to give a flying shit about it, I find it horribly too easy to bare, and theres so much reading, its like travelling the world just to read the guide and then meander back home feeling empty, but full of info. Like when relatives come back off holiday, know bugger all about the place, but enjoyed it, apposed to learning every miniscule detail and returning home feeling a bit dejected. I know Morrowind in so many ways is "bigger" than Oblivion, but however many times I go back, Oblivion always seems a thousand times friendlier. I'm a sucker for the STUNNING scenery too :P Alchemy was one of my favourite skill choices, because wandering through forest was such a joy. Alternatly in Morrowind it was a bit drab. A cross of Morrowind and Oblivion would be great. I missed the unnarmoured skill in Oblivion, good for Barbarian warrior types.

Albeit I never really found any TES challenging since Arena. That as only because the fram rate was awful.

You complain about immersion and then you complain the world isn't diverse......... Well the world isn't meant to be diverse it is meant to be a more realistic medieval setting fantasy game based on myths of the time it is set in. it's a small part of the map so take each English country for example and say Oblivion is like Bedfordshire, you don't see a volcano and then a few feet down the road a iceberg now do you? So really it keeps the immersion by doing so.

Also other faults you found with the game happen in all RPG's and the only difference Oblivion has is it's like GTA fantasy instead of the linear progression based most other RPG games are. Don't forget that back in the making of the game it was quite a impressive achievement and well to todays standards some things wouldn't be accepted back then there was more leg room for errors.

The only valid points you said were the dropping items cause I couldn't work out how to first of all... abit of trial and error until I found out how and the people of the streets changing voice halfway through talking to you although this only happened once or twice throughout the whole game.

your other point about fast travel well you don't have to use it, although if the world was amazingly diverse you'd still use it because noone enjoys running from point a to b for 15 mins hense why theres griffins in WOW which let you go make a cup of tea.

I just feel it's a weak review and I loved your past reviews but this one just felt like you had a few drinks and wanted to moan about a game you just didn't gel with.

Oblivion is a fantastic game that fixed all the flaws of the previous Elder Scrolls title and while people will say oh Daggerfall had a giant world.... well it was a giant boring mess where you'd see the same towns over and over again.

Ok, I'm not sure, but the Marrowind version of the game I had was on Xbox. I don't know if this makes a difference, but if so PLEASE tell me. Because, when I played Marrowind..... IT SUCKED ASS! Seriously! I would get so lost! As soon as you start the game, enemies are too strong pretty much everywhere you go! Nothing ever made sense, usually I'd end up walking mindlessly through the land, not really sure what the hell to do! And every time I thought I found something, it would bring me eventually back to the same damn landscape! Please, somebody tell me what went wrong?!

Morrowind just isn't the right game for you, simple as that.

Anyway, one of the main things I disliked about Oblivion (besides complete lack of voice acting variety, the levelling, and the other points raised in the review) was how it pretty much took everything every previous game had said about Cyrodiil, and completely ignored it. Jungle? What jungle? Nope, it's *always* had a temperate climate. What about the news that there's mass unrest due to the emperor being on his death bed from illness and his sons being complete buffoons, with the empire's future looking bleak? Nope, everybody loves the empire, and everything was going absolutely fine before the daedra showed up. Racial tensions between the Nibenay and Colovian Cyrodiils? Nope, and I've never even heard of those two groups.

Or how about the fact that the whole basis of the Daedric invasion is that the bloodline is broken, when the bloodline was broken multiple times in the past with no repercussions whatsoever?

Immersion is driving on the highway after watching the Transformers movie and waiting for all the cars to transform.

Immersion is walking down the street one night and wondering where you can shoot your portals so that you can get up the street faster.

Oblivion blows ropy goat chunks. This review was too kind.

I have Morrowind on the good ol' Xbox, and after playing it for a little over a week I realised my choice of species was really, really bad and that if I was to get anywhere I needed to start all over again... at which point I said "bugger that" and went back to Beyond Good and Evil.

The controls were difficult, the graphics horrible, every now and then my protagonist friend would get stuck trying to walk over rocks, and I had the feeling the map was so large because the whole point of the game was some sort of mundane treasure hunt where every new section has one hidden item or cave and you are expected to find it.

I think overall they needed a service pack which re-injected the "fun" they forgot to include when they released it :o/

p.s. Anybody want a copy of Morrowind? :oP

I almost shat myself when I saw Yahtzee was reviewing this game. This is one of my favorite games of all time, and I loved it because of the freedom it gave you. Multiple storylines all at once, Characters that live their lives (though tracking someone down could sometimes be a chore), and a world large and diverse! There are a variety of landscapes in the game, though the main one IS foresty. Realistically, how much does land change from one area to another in the real world as compared to this game. I did find the lack of character voice actors to be distracting, but it wasn't one of my big complaints. If you use magic, you get better and better spells that deplete more and more of you MP, and the characters take it like a cave rat with flame. There is no change in your more powerful spells! Also, if you replay the game and go for one of those great pieces of weaponry you found during a previous playthrough, you'll get it to find that it matches your CURRENT level. So one of your better weapons has turned into a piece of crap that you'll throw away at a future juncture. If you breed Morrowind and Oblivion into the next TES game, you'll have another Game of the Year.

I was wondering when he would get around to reviewing this one ...
But for the sake of not getting killed ...
Im going to say that its JUST funny ...
*cough* AWESOME *cough*
Never saw the hype about this game in the first place ...
It really does try to hard ... For 360 and PC ...
But then again i kinda went off fantasy RPG's around the time
I could actually run around my local DnD and beat the absolute merciless crap out of everyone else (while they were doing the same mind you ^_^)

What I hated in Oblivion was the main quest. At first its fun, but later it gets worst.

I also hated the lack of guilds...Only 4. In Morrowind you had Fighters,Thieves,Mage, Morag Tong (Assasin) (I liked the contract that permitted you to kill someone), 3 House, Legion and others (If I forgetted some). Also what I liked about Morrowind is some guild had conflict. ( cant complete fighters and thieves.)

What I liked about Oblivion its easier to fight than Morrowind. And the Arena is more lively

All other complaint are already said by Yahtzee

I agree with Oblivion, it's fun, the story is cool, but the environment looks alike all over the place and what really pissed me off is that every monster was just a humanoid pretty much. And not just humanoid but just felt the same to me.

I really wonder what you'd say about the Gothic Series. Personally I like the Gothic series far more than Elder Scrolls. Gothic 3 (after finally being fixed with some patches lol...) is a beautiful world, unique places, great story, free choices on how to progress the story. Good times.

Great review as always, but you need to do an actual review of WoW. You have talked about it twice or so BUT NEVER DID A WHOLE REVIEW ON IT! GOgogo!

Or hit up BF2, old game but a great one.

I think you skipped a lot of the game here, it allowed you to do pretty much whatever you wanted (I always found myself becoming a member of that underground murder society.. interesting). However I agree 100% with the whole huge map yet pointless map because of the teleportation thing and how everything looks exactly the same. Pretty funny in all and you nailed the bad points.

I tried playing Oblivion once because everyone kept telling me it was the next best thing after sliced bread, which I don't really see the point of in the first place...

I tried so hard to find reasons not to quit and uninstall the crap but in the end it failed. I wasn't too shocked though since Morrowwind had the same result for me. After those I've also tried out Two Worlds and come to the realization that western first person fantasy RPGs aren't really for me.

That said, I did enjoy Hellgate: London, much because of the Hilarious characters, like Lucious Aldin and Techsmith 314 =D Not that I played that in first person much...

I'm kinda afraid of what Bethesda might have done to Fallout 3...

Oblivion... man I am missing too many games.

Well I tend to disagree with a bit of what Yahtzee said, but then again I'm a huge RPG fan and really liked other games he's blasted like "The Witcher" (which doesn't prevent me from finding him funny).

I thought the immersion was pretty good. Sure there are plenty of backround NPCs, but then again they are just that: backround. A lot of the important ones were pretty well done, like the guys in the Arena, or (paticularly) the Dark Brotherhood quest lines. Not to mention some of the performances in "Shivering Isles" which were pretty amazing, especially our buddy the God Of Madness.

I think the problem with Yahtzee and RPGs is that he just doesn't have the patience for them. Plus writing a review column where he needs to check out a new game a week (at least) I'm guessing he doesn't have a lot of time to actually sit down and let things develop. But then again he more or less admits he has the attention span of an ADD afflicted gerbil gasping it's last after a cruel child overdoses it with speed and LSD just to see what will happen. Hence the comments at the beginning about shooters.

That said, as fans of Oblivion can tell you, it takes place in one province of the world so you have to expect it to look similar. It's not like it would make sense for like deserts and Tundras to be that close together. Plus while a lot of backround stuff is repetitive there are some neat backstories if you read the books, and some cool quests that involve investigating hauntings and such. I especially liked that bit with buying the haunted mansion in Anvil. :)

my god, I nearly danced in glee. I got this game expecting it to be the best thing since sliced bread (I didn't get much into it during the demo I played on the PC) - SO I got it, I sat down and I really went whole hog into it.

If I see another FAKE zoom on the SAME face of the SAME NPC in the SAME situation say the SAME thing to me for the 5 BABILLIONTH TIME, my head will explode.

I had no ability to get "immersed" in the game, every time I went to have a conversation, it would lose me and I wanted to toss down my controller and jump off a cliff. The expressions, the everything irritated me to no end.


I still need to sell my copy :(

I agre and love oblivion. Its good but, meh.

Loved Morrowind, hated Oblivion. It's like they took everything that was great about the original and made it crap. And then they screwed up the interface by making it xbox-friendly and slapped the same shit on the windows version where they could have used the mouse and made it nice.

IT WAS PERFECT - why try to improve something perfect to cock it up in the end

At least in Morrowind you actually feel like you're important... The whole time you play Oblivion it's like you're a generic twat wandering the countryside smiting wolves and deer... Only when you decide to enter a portal and really cheese off the demons does it get interesting... but at that point early on, the fighting dynamics are so damn hard... You're better off being a sorcerer and blast fireballs at everything on the screen than try and chase down imps that can run circles around your flailing limbs.

In Morrowind, there was a sense of adventure... there was surprise in dungeons, you never knew if there was some grand treasure waiting for you, or a bunch of golden harpies primed to rape the piss out of you.

Oblivion has a lot of ho-hum dungeons, mostly filled with goblins, skeletons and rats. Not to mention the skeletons are EXACTLY the same models... they have some signature defining feature to them that would have been at least SUBTLY INTERESTING to figure out... by the time you do however, you'll notice that every skeleton has the same thing, and it loses it's luster.

I could not agree more with this review. Oblivion, while definitely fun, has got to be one of the most overrated games I've ever played.


...that line sent me into hysterics. My god, I have such a crush on yahtzee!

Oblivion has a number of issues you can nitpick about, but when it comes down to it this is the one thing that matters; Oblivion lacked the environment of Morrowind. Morrowind had that guy falling out of the sky, all those naked nords complaining about a witch, that sunken ship filled with pillows, a strip club, drug addicts, a skeleton of some guy who got crushed by a rock in a tomb and wrote a note about it, bandits smuggling slaves and goods around in caves, an underwater city, a mounted argonian head in a crate in a storage room of a bar, a wizard in castle with genetically engineered concubines and a mutant dungeon with a cyborg dwarf, around 6 different landscapes with a distinct geography and 6 different types of dungeons, also with unique permutations, all of which LOGICALLY FIT TOGETHER IN CONTEXT OF ONE ANOTHER. The tombs had zombies because the dunmer weren't big on having their ancestors disturbed. There were armed hostiles in dwemer ruins because the artifacts were valuable and illegal to export. in There were imperial strongholds near every major political group in order to keep control of the empire. There were shipwrecks on the coast because aspiring pillow merchants crashed there. There were the hlaau whose wealthy lived in rural estates with slaves farming stuff because that was how their culture worked, the telvanni whose leaders lived in giant mushroom towers surrounded by subordinates and a local economy, etc. It all fit together, and it was all interesting.

Oblivion, on the other hand, had around 3 dungeon types, one landscape type, and two cities (the one in the middle and all the rest of them, both of which were basically just walled enclosures with people wandering around and stuff to buy). Why these cities were walled and why people were living in them and not really anywhere else is sort of a mystery. As is the question of why there are zombies and bandits outfitted in 1337 equiptment running around the old forts and ruins. They didn't think it through; Oblivion has no cohesion.

tl;dr: Morrowind > Oblivion because it actually puts effort into world building.


The best thing about Oblivion was Cpt. Jean-Luc Picard... and they killed that off in the first hour of gameplay.

Oblivion is a nice game, but it's not great, as Yahtzee mentions, it lacks Immersion, the feeling of getting lost in the game, in the world. It has some great points, and some abysmal ones. The voice acting is terrible, definitely, they got like 3, max 5 voice actors for ALL npcs in the game (main quests npcs excluded, at least partially). The npcs look fugly. The story is much less immersive, much less interesting than the one in Morrowind (tried playing Arena and Daggerfall but they're just way too old). Mainly it's because the story in Morrowind revolved around the main character, whereas in Oblivion he's only a handy man.
Another very dissappointing thing about the game - the open end. Great, you haven an open ended storyline, but what do you do once you finished the main storyline? The world is not interesting enough to continue playing for it's own sake. Same for the different guilds, once you're Master, High Lord, whatever, it's boring. At least in the arena you can do _something_, even if only a few fights, but at most other guilds you can't do (interesting( jack.

BUT - Oblivion had a few good points, with the Dark Brotherhood questline (and Thieves guild) it had some of the best and most interesting quests I encountered in a rpg so far. This alone gives me hope - that the folks at Bethesda CAN do it better, they just have to try harder... ^^ The stealth gameplay was great too, Oblivion was the first game where I loved to play a stealth-based character - for the side quests, couldn't do jack in the main story. Once you start encountering multiple daedras light armor+short sword etc. just don't cut it... Even if you manage to do a ranged x5 hit with bow and arrow from the shadows - one single shot and every daedra within half a mile know where you are - wtf. Same for magic imo.

That was also dissappointing, imo Oblivion plays best with a heavy meele character, other choices are nearly impossible without turning the difficulty setting down to half.

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