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Review Oblivion Review

Vault Dweller

Commissar, Red Star Studio
Developer
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Messages
28,017
Tags: Bethesda Softworks; Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

We proudly present our review of the first truly next-generation RPG, Oblivion:

However, with Morrowind I think we saw that our kind of game appeals to a wider audience, given the game's success among more casual gamers who are neither "hardcore" nor "RPG geeks".
Gavin Carter

That quote is probably the best and most honest description of Oblivion I've ever seen. It's a game for casual players. Hardcore fans of the series or RPG geeks need not apply. You shall not find depth or challenge in Oblivion.
 

POOPERSCOOPER

Prophet
Joined
Mar 6, 2003
Messages
2,714
Location
California
I thought it would be a lot longer, Saint's reviews generally are. It's not like I read it or anything but at a first glance it doesnt look as intellegent as some of saint's reviews.
 

Naked_Lunch

Erudite
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Messages
5,360
Location
Norway, 1967
It was a pretty good review. Rebutting the quotes was a nice touch and I like a lot of the screenshots. Nicely done.
 

Greatatlantic

Erudite
Joined
Feb 21, 2005
Messages
1,683
Location
The Heart of It All
Love the screen shots, but it seemed a little short for the time you've had to write it, and needing to live up to Codex's epic reputation of nitpicking.

Here's my Amendum:

1. Blunt is worthless, since blade is so much better. You'll get a lot of epic blade weapons, but enchanted blunt weapons are few and far between. Even worse your typical blunt weapon weighs more and doesn't seem to come with a knock back or damage bonus.

2. Fights against multiple opponents can stink. My first character was nicknamed Thor, who I wanted to be a Hammer weilding Nord. Trying to get an attack off was difficult since multiple opponents always seem to be able to get knockback hits on me. Furthermore, when I power hit somebody with a 90 pound hammer, they should be on their back with birdies above their head.

3. No Weapon Collison detection, I think. It seemed to me weapon damage was determined by where you aimed the reticle, sort of like a very short range FPS weapon. So, I could only hit one person at a time, and heaven forbid my ally try to attack the same person I did, they'd be the one getting hit.

4. Joing some guilds is pretty much essential for a Morrowind like experience. The only way to create custom spells or weapons is through the mages guild. The only way to buy lockpicks in reasonable quantites or sell stolen goods is by joining the thieves guild.

5. Closing Oblivion gates is a LOT worse than VD makes it sound, and he isn't positive about it. Whats worse to get help in Bruma from the other cities of Cyrodil you have to close an Oblivion Gate outside each city. Its the easiest way out possible for Bethseda to take. Whats even stranger is some cities have another Gate a stone's throw from the one you need to close.

6. Skeleton Key makes having a skill or progressing a skill worthless. Enough said.

7. Cyrodil is now a melting pot. You think the Imperial region would be occupied overwhelmingly by imperials, or at least maybe 50%. I'd say all races are equally represented, there is even a Dark Elf Count.

I could probably come up with a few more, but thats all for now. Anyways, good review and love the use of quotes to show the discrepancy between what was promised and what was delivered.
 

SlavemasterT

Arcane
Joined
Nov 23, 2005
Messages
2,670
Location
not Eurofagistan
If anything, the review was far too gentle. From what I've seen in the game so far, all of the accusations of Bethesda "dumbing down" the game turned out to be spot-on. From the lack of options, be it in completing quests or in dialogue, to the lack of interesting new reading material, to the giant font and the magic compass and dialogue in general, the game feels like it was designed with hare-brained ADD kids in mind. And being forced to think at an 8th grade level in order to "immerse" oneself, and believe, in the quests and storylines is even more annoying than being hampered some of the crappier gameplay designs.
 

Falcore19

Novice
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
81
Good review.

You should have mentioned how ranged combat sucks though, I can't believe nobody talks about it. You can dodge everything from spells to arrows, range attackers are harmless.
 

EEVIAC

Erudite
Joined
Mar 30, 2003
Messages
1,186
Location
Bumfuck, Nowhere
SlavemasterT said:
If anything, the review was far too gentle.

I agree. I was expecting the character system to get more of a ripping than it did. In fact, I can't think of a game with a poorer character/advancement system. The problem is that you only advance when you use a skill which makes questing, the heart and soul of RPG gameplay, redundant. I often felt like I was being penalized for not engaging in wholesale slaughter (Hackdirt, for example.)
 

Solik

Scholar
Joined
Jan 24, 2006
Messages
377
This isn't a review so much as a message board post in a debate thread against the game creators. It didn't seem to be anything more than finding neat ways (often exceptions) to prove random dev comments wrong (an easy task in any game of this scale).
 

Volourn

Pretty Princess
Pretty Princess Glory to Ukraine
Joined
Mar 10, 2003
Messages
24,924
Yup. Just another ES game. Huge world... that is empty, and repetive. At least the graphics look much more impressive than the shitty brown of MW.


LOLOLOLLLIPOP


I'll see it when it's in the bargain bin as planned. :D
 

Greatatlantic

Erudite
Joined
Feb 21, 2005
Messages
1,683
Location
The Heart of It All
Solik said:
This isn't a review so much as a message board post in a debate thread against the game creators. It didn't seem to be anything more than finding neat ways (often exceptions) to prove random dev comments wrong (an easy task in any game of this scale).

Exceptions to the game's norms? I don't think so, maybe the worst offense but not exceptions. Please, give specifics if you have a problem with the review. Do you honestly think the game gave you choice? Or that the speechcraft wasn't worthless? No one is going to band you if you express opinions in a coherent fashion.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2006
Messages
1
Volourn said:
Yup. Just another ES game. Huge world... that is empty, and repetive. At least the graphics look much more impressive than the shitty brown of MW.


LOLOLOLLLIPOP


I'll see it when it's in the bargain bin as planned. :D

So you'll have it in 2010?
Yeah, This game blows.
It sold over 1.7 million in its first week, and it blows.

As Solick said


Solik Posted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 6:54 am Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This isn't a review so much as a message board post in a debate thread against the game creators. It didn't seem to be anything more than finding neat ways (often exceptions) to prove random dev comments wrong (an easy task in any game of this scale).


Do you let any idiot post a review?
 

Jason

chasing a bee
Joined
Jun 30, 2005
Messages
10,737
Location
baby arm fantasy island
"Do you let any idiot post a review?"

So one of the staff members is "any idiot"? Does he need your permission to review it?
But otherwise, you're right. It sold 1.7 milion copies so it must be good. Negative reviews of popular products are unprofessional.


edit: Oblivion is already down to 40 bucks. I don't think it's gonna take another 4 years to get down to 15 or 20.
 

Volourn

Pretty Princess
Pretty Princess Glory to Ukraine
Joined
Mar 10, 2003
Messages
24,924
"It sold over 1.7 million in its first week, and it blows."

Hey, i said it sucked; I didn't say it was unpopular. BIG difference. You are arguing the wrong thing.

Besides, was that 1.7 mil sold to actual customers or shipped to stores? There's a difference you know.

Not that it matters. An ES game can sell 1 billion copies, and I'll still it sucks.

God has billions of worshippers from all faiths (Christian, jewish, Muslim, you name it), and I think he's a big damn poopyhead who is a mass murderer.

Your point?
 

glasnost

Augur
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
202
Location
spurious messiah camp
Thank you for the review; I liked it.

Also, I guess this answers my question of how 'gameplay' can/should be broken up into individual elements, each to be analyzed in turn. The review addressed the elements I'm interested in, and completely ignored the 'elements' that don't matter (I assume this was a conscious decision). Huzzah.

Too bad about the game.
 

Zomg

Arbiter
Joined
Oct 21, 2005
Messages
6,984
I like the sentiments and the format (the quotes, etc.) but the writing is very awkward.
 

Atrokkus

Erudite
Joined
Feb 6, 2005
Messages
3,089
Location
Borat's Fantasy Land
The review is amazing, thank you.
The quoting of the developers is a very good touch, VD. Great work.

Ya know what? I think I'll translate the damn thing and post it on RPGplanet.ru. We got some fanbois there, wonder what the reaction will be.
 

DarkUnderlord

Professional Throne Sitter
Staff Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2002
Messages
28,314
Solik said:
This isn't a review so much as a message board post in a debate thread against the game creators. It didn't seem to be anything more than finding neat ways (often exceptions) to prove random dev comments wrong (an easy task in any game of this scale).
Would you care to elaborate on those exceptions? For example, Vault Dweller claims "First, there is no demonic horde invasion going on there. The demons did open portals all over the place, but instead of invading, they are patiently waiting for you to show up and close all those portals in not very timely manner" despite what the developer claimed. Are you saying those portals where they wait for you are the exceptions?

Again, "every gate is more or less the same". Is that also an exception? Has VD simply seen the handful of portals that are all the same and that, in fact, he only saw the "exception" as you put it? What about this "I don't really see a reason for a fighter to pick Blade, Blunt, and Hand to Hand skills and spend time raising all three, considering that these skills are practically the same and have the same perks". Is that an exception to the rule too? Are the skills actually so diverse and amazing that once again, VD has merely seen an exception?

I could go on but I'd just like to see something to back up your broad statement please. Unless of course, VD is right...

viruscarrierxxx said:
Yeah, This game blows. It sold over 1.7 million in its first week, and it blows.
Actually, it shipped 1.7 million units. Shipped is not sold. It's like Microsoft shipping 150,000 Xbox360's to Japan while only 40,000 of them are actually bought by consumers. 110,000 XBox's sitting in a warehouse is not as huge a success as it's being made out to be.

I'm not aware of any quote on actual sales figures. If you have any evidence to backup your claim, by all means, post it.

viruscarrierxxx said:
Do you let any idiot post a review?
Why? Do you want to write one? While we're at it, would you care to explain what was idiotic about the review or are you going to wait for Solik to do the job for you?
 

Dhruin

Liturgist
Joined
Aug 15, 2003
Messages
758
I'd place some different weight on various issues but a pretty good read. Not sure what I think of the dev quote thing in a review but it's an interesting technique and certainly makes it different to other reviews.

I'd like to see a little more credit for the quest writing - they're completely linear but some of them are nice mini-stories with occasionally inventive situations. Quite a surprise to me after Morrowind. On the other hand, I'd have criticised the character development system even harder.

One thing I don't really embrace is the idea that Daggerfall is an outstanding RPG while Oblivion is only an adventure. Daggerfall is unquestionably deeper but I think some of the critcisms are the same. I'm not a Daggerfall afficianado (I hate excessively large random dungeons and the bugs and static world killed me) - so perhaps I just didn't play it enough - but I don't recall branching quest lines or too many multiple solutions.
 

Bladderfish

Augur
Joined
Apr 10, 2006
Messages
125
Everything - enemies, their equipment, and treasure in chests - is scaled down to your level. So, if you are exploring at level 1-5, don't expect to fight a challenging opponent or find an awesome sword of inner beauty

Not 100% true, for one specific reason.

If you have a quest that involves fighting a certain type of monster - ogres say - at a certain dungeon, then that type of monster will always inhabit the relevant dungeon. Which means that it is quite possible to get your arse handed to you if you happen to stumble in when you're the wrong level.

How many of these types of dungeon there are, I cannot say; I've only found two so far. Still, its worth noting.

The rest of the review is pretty spot on apart from that. The thing about choice being the best comment (when you think about it, the game is totally linear. The only decision one makes is in which order you do the quests).

Might have been worth mentioning the voice acting, though, considering the fact that it is quite a achievement to have all the NPCs voiced. But I can do that for you here:

Sean Bean: Excellent
Patrick Stewart: Not bad
Everyone else: Adequate, but there are simply arent enough voices to go around, which means they end up being dire due to endless repitition
 

Abernathy

Scholar
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
174
Location
New Zealand
viruscarrierxxx said:
[It sold over 1.7 million in its first week, and it blows.

Whenever I hear this, I can't help but think of McDonalds food, Microsoft operating systems, VHS, and the Spice Girls.

Some people really need to learn to differenciate between great marketing and a great product, methinks.
 

Jora

Arcane
Joined
Mar 14, 2003
Messages
1,115
Location
Finland
Great review. The combination of quotes and screenshots works well and often in hilarious ways. The VD style is enjoyable as always.
 

VenomByte

Scholar
Joined
Oct 17, 2005
Messages
271
An honest review. Doesn't go into excruciating detail pointing out all the numerous flaws, which I did kind of expect.

Fairly accurate though. An ok casual action game, but a pretty poor RPG.
 

Vault Dweller

Commissar, Red Star Studio
Developer
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Messages
28,017
POOPERSCOOPER said:
I thought it would be a lot longer, Saint's reviews generally are. It's not like I read it or anything but at a first glance it doesnt look as intellegent as some of saint's reviews.
Greatatlantic said:
...it seemed a little short for the time you've had to write it...
4000 words or 8 pages. The only problem with the review is that screens look way too dark in jpg format.
 

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