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I’m sure you’ve already seen the wondrous previews of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which was previewed to the lucky bastards who have successful video game websites a few weeks ago.  As a huge fan of Oblivion, I eagerly await this juggernaut to claim all free-time come November 11.  It seems, though, that Tamriel’s grasp on my life is much stronger than I knew.  With my salivary glands working overdrive in anticipation of Skyrim, I’ve been sucked in–nay, absorbed–once again by Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  With this occurring, I can’t help but wonder how Skyrim could be even better.  A near-perfect game, Oblivion still had many flaws and annoyances–small in terms of overall satisfaction, but areas to improve upon, for sure.  And a seizure-free game would be great, too!

Graphics

Oblivion is beautiful–stunning, even.  But it was also released on the 360 in March of 2006 (over five years ago for you non-math majors).  In that time developers have been able to better utilize the hardware, which will certainly lead to a prettier game.

The beauty of Cyrodil in "Oblivion"

Oblivion really was able to showcase the 360’s graphical potential, and Skyrim looks to stretch this potential even further.  These screens show just a fraction of the excellence that can be expected.  And maybe its just me, but I see a lot of Tolkien in these screens, specifically Peter Jackson’s interpretation of The Lord of the Rings.

Can't help but think of Sam preparing to take on Shelob when I see this pic...

Skyrim will feature a wholly-rebuilt game engine (The Creation Engine) that will throw realistic visuals and weather effects at you in a moment’s notice on your journey.  Draw distance has also been greatly enhanced due to the revitalized Creation Engine, allowing great detail to locations on the horizon as well as directly in front of you.  One thing is for certain, this game will be beautiful, and it will be visually dynamic.

Dungeon Uniqueness

Speaking of dynamic visuals: Oblivion featured a crazy amount of dungeons and caves laying across Cyrodil’s landscape.  There were so many to explore, but once you got inside, you couldn’t help but feel you had already been there many times before.  That’s because each dungeon and cave looked eerily similar to one another.  Now, I do realize that caves don’t often feature a great deal of uniqueness in reality, but humanity hasn’t yet figured out how to contort the earth to satisfy its own passing fancy.  In a video game, especially one that focuses so much on player exploration, the want for a variety of environments is very real.

Fortunately all indications from Bethesda point to this issue being resolved.  Various previews have noted the intense environment changes from the dungeons they saw.

This is all fine and good in Skyrim...

...but differences like this would go a long way.

Level Perks and Other Skills

As much as I love Oblivion, I think I love Fallout 3 just a smidge more for reasons like the perks a character can acquire when leveling up.  Oblivion and Fallout 3 are both very similar, but both were just different enough in their gameplay mechanics that one could not help but wonder: “What if you combined the two games greatnesses?”  It’s been done; Skyrim will feature character perks, which allows a deeper customization of a player’s character, suited to the style they deem most comfortable and fun.

Bethesda has also shored up their skill set from Oblivion, lessening the list of abilities by three.  Rather than a case of stripping a part of what made Oblivion great, the developers instead made it more efficient, assimilating Intelligence into Magicka, and removing the need for constant jumping by removing Athletics and Acrobatics.

Finally, the dev team has added an all new ability for your character in the way of a Dune-esque, Weirding Module-type Shout command.  These Shouts represent the language of the dragons, capable of altering the environment through various magical properties.

Not sure what this is going to do, but I bet it feels whispy up one's trousers.

Character Appearances

The gene pool in the realm of Cyrodil must be extremely shallow because EVERYONE looks the same.  With so many different characters in the game, you always feel like you know exactly who you’re talking to.

Hey!  Even Barack Obama is present!  A red guard Mage from Cheydinhal, he’ll happily sell you any spells you desire while also selling you on universal health care.

Spellcasting -- Yes You Can!

This is really just being nitpicky, but with a game so near-perfect, a sequel begs to have its smallest details improved upon to create an even more-rich experience than the previous iteration.

Horse Armor

We need to see MORE horse armor in Skyrim.  My advice: double the price!  And don’t give in to the pressure of actually making the horse armor provide any statistical upgrades.  My character DESERVES to have a flashy ride, and a iron-decked steed is just the medicine.

Make it heavier, too!

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2 Comments

  1. avatar Jacob says:

    “[H]e’ll happily sell you any spells you desire while also selling you on universal health care.”

    That is my favorite Oblivion-based quote ever.

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  2. avatar Rohit says:

    Draw distance is also bteetr on Oblivion it seems. Er, you can clearly see that the textures in the distance for oblivion are way low res and blurry, where as everything in skyrim’s distance is still high res and crystal clear. Also, you can see much more terrain in skyrim’s distance.Having played both games, I can tell you that without a doubt skyrim’s draw distance rofl stomps oblivion’s. One of the main reasons for bethesda creating a new engine in the first place was to address the wonky draw distances in oblivion.The good news for oblivion fans though, is that there are community made mods that enhance the draw distance exponentially.VN:F [1.9.15_1155](from 1 vote)

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