As Oblivion Turns 10, I Wish People Remembered It More Fondly

10 years ago today, the fourth instalment in the Elder Scrolls franchise was released to fans and gamers across the World. Looking back now, many people see it as the awkward middle child between the almost universally loved Morrowind, and the spectacular, still-talked-about-4-years-later Skyrim. I remember talking to a friend, discussing why they loved Skyrim, and - more specifically - why they didn't love Oblivion: they said it was bland, ugly, boring, forgettable and - as I mentioned before - awkward.

I disagree. To me, Oblivion is anything but bland: if anything, I find the overall story is much more intriguing than Skyrim (I can't speak to Morrowind, which is a game I've only dabbled in very briefly), and I love the idea that you've risen as a hero much more than in Skyrim. You're not the Dragonborn, you're the Hero of Kvatch; you weren't born to be a hero, you made yourself one. I think that's much more powerful, and ultimately much cooler.

While we may have been spoiled slightly by Skyrim's gorgeous visuals (at least when it came out in 2011) I don't think Oblivion's 10-year-old art style is anything to complain about and has actually aged incredibly well.

I definitely don't think Oblivion can be described as boring either: the story with the Blades and the suspense as the whole of Cyrodiil and Tamriel is in grave danger really mean that every moment is filled with something to do. Add to that the classic-RPG features that were removed as Bethesda stepped into the land of Skyrim (for example, the ability to create your own spells) and Oblivion offers a wealth of fun things to do for the player.

Finally, the comment that the game is forgettable. Honestly, I think it's anything but. I'll never forget that ending, with one of the coolest visuals is games as Martin Septim turns from man-into avatar of Akatosh, or the beginning as the music swells, the camera swoops round, and Patrick Stewart lends his voice to Uriel Septim and proclaims that "these are the closing days of the third era, and the final hours of my life". Or even the Shivering Isles DLC that could very well be its own game.

Sure, Oblivion has its faults: poor combat, faces that look like dried prunes and quite a few quest lines that are arbitrary and rather dull (blocking a hole so cats can't get into a house, anyone?). But, despite this, I don't like the way that a lot of the people I talk to look down on the game - I don't think it deserves the bad-wrap it so often gets. It might not be as beautiful as Skyrim, but it certainly has some extraordinary moments.


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