I’ll cut to the point for this post, as I’ve got nothing particularly interesting to add to it. I was playing some Oblivion on my brother’s Playstation for the first time in forever, and I remembered why I never play Oblivion, but still am madly in love with Morrowind.
Let’s just cut to the chase – first off, it’s not a very original idea to fight off a demonic invasion of the world, so to begin with that could have been polished a little more. But, I’ll just let that point slide for now. This second point is what really grinds me about Oblivion…
SO MUCH of the MQ is a fetch-quest.
Get the Amulet to Jauffre.
Fetch a sigil stone to close Kvatch’s gate.
Fetch the Count’s ring
Find Barus and then fetch the 4 commentaries
Fetch the Xarxes
Fetch a Daedric Artifact
Fetch Tiber’s armor
Fetch the support of the Counts to aid Bruma
Fetch the Great Sigil Stone
Fetch the Amulet
Battle for the Imperial City
That’s the gist of the MQ. It didn’t feel particularly interesting, and despite feeling relatively short next to Morrowind and Skyrim (in my own opinion), it felt like it just DRAGGED on. And, after a while, you start to get tired of being the errand boy. C’mon, Marin! I know you’re Emperor and I’m a Blade, but there are a dozen of them in the fortress! It’s someone else’s turn to go fetch items.
That’s where I felt Morrowind excelled (yes, I know I love Morrowind and talk of it a lot – because it IS the best). The quests varied a little more than straight collection quests.
For instance, Morrowind, you had to initially fetch some notes for Caius Cosades, but once that was done, you were out in the field exploring and experiencing Vvardenfell, being sent by Caius to visit Great Houses, tribal clans, explore dungeons, or just go do whatever you fancy, as Caius on numerous occasions dismises the player specifically to go visit guilds or quest, because you’re one of the secretive spy Blades (not the ceremonial warrior Blades of Oblivion who are personal guards to the Sovereign) and you have to keep your cover identity as a citizen and adventerer/mercenary intact.
You were constantly being immersed into this province’s culture, and the world felt more real than the standard fantasy towns of Cyrodiil that you had to rush through, as the Main Quest always felt pressured to be finished, because everything was urgently needed (which is appropros for what the story is, but it makes it harder to experience the open world, in my opinion as a roleplayer and not a power-gamer).
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with errand boy quests on the side (such as Skyrim’s Radiant quests where you go out to gather herbs, deliver papers or items), but those quests are supposed to be fun little atmospheric quests to help you experience people, those quests enable you to visit other people and experience all these different areas, because it’s a casual thing.
Oblivion sent you to quite remote regions that typically had little to see, because the map was so… bland. The Lake Arrius caverns and the area around the Shrine of Azura, for instance, were around trees and rocks. The same thing I could look at in my yard. And, the Shrine itself, while a nice representation of who the Prince of Dawn and Dusk is, is still a bland and boring experience, compared to others. For instance, Azura’s in Skyrim stood on a Mountain and was visible from long distances, and when you approached, being so many times larger, it felt monumental and it was an experience to hike up the mountain to find it.
But, I’m starting to digress. Point is, Oblivion is subpar for the Main Quest, thanks to the nature of fetching things all the time. Then, I broke away into irritation at the landscape, because I was rambling.