Friday, March 31, 2006

Oblivion 28 Hours In

This is what I know:
  • Most of the quests involve people bitching about someone else or require lots of killing. So far in twenty eight hours I have only had two quests that do not involve slaughter. The first is someone who is pissed off about somebody in another town that looks like them (who turns out to be their twin brother, but that quest later requires some killing) and the other is the thieves guild initiation quest where you have to steal a diary (specifically without killing anyone).

  • Took me ages to figure out how lockpicking truely works.

  • The speechcraft thing where you can persuade people to like you is add and experience breaking. Fallout did an excellent job with it's talking heads by having multiple toned speech options and depending on how you communicated with the NPC influenced their opinion of you. With Oblivion you just select a keyword and that NPC will tall you what they know. There is no actual conversation, they just talk at you. And then if they don't like you, there is a little puzzle game you can play to get them to like you. I just think this feels odd.

  • Controls and menus are excellent.

  • A walkthrough for almost any quest is unnecessary because the quest description tells you what to do step-by-step. It says stuff like "you should talk with" or "you should follow" or even "go to wherever and kill whoever" which is a common one.

  • the game is filled with bugs, as is traditional for RPGs. The game has locked-up once and I have had three CD read errors that required me to restart the game so far.

  • Most of the quests do involve a lot of killing. I walked into a tavern once and the first thing the bar maid said to me was "THAT [insert name] MUST BE KILLED NOW!" and that turned out to be a Necromancer who I went and killed.

  • The music is the same everywhere so all the towns have the same feel to them.
I think maybe the conclusion I am coming to is that this is an excellent game, but because of some short sighted design decisions it isn't as good as it could have been. I am still very much enjoying it and it has been years since I last played a free-form-RPG.