The Japanese Role-Playing Gamer

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Elder Scrolls Oblivion: Living in the Free World

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Over the last three years, I’ve played a Western RPG that is larger than life–Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion. I’ve played quite a few of these types of RPGs, but none of them compare to the giant experience in Elder Scrolls. Oblivion is an immersive world chock-full of memories.

The game is an extraordinary experience. The entire open-world environment of Elder Scrolls 4 will take over 100 or so hours to explore fully. The whole land is full of towns, villagers, monsters, dungeons and side quests. Thankfully, the hero doesn’t have to spend all that time running from one place to another. Each landmark has a fast-travel marker. This allows the main character can instantly travel there by using the map in the main menu.

Unfortunately, there are also plenty of disappointing problems that ruin the atmosphere the game. Almost every villager has the same voice actors. Some of the character types might seem different, but most of the characters sound almost identical to each other. If that wasn’t bad enough, they keep repeating the same boring dialogue all the time. For example, the store owners all kept asking me to tell my friends about their store. It seems silly for me to put in a good word, when all the store owners are so similar to each other.

The opening storyline of the game is also very disappointing. It begins in a jail, where the main character is serving some sort of sentence. The king of some Imperial City is trying to escape from a group of assassins, called the Mythic Dawn. The guards want to kill the protagonist, but the king stops them because he saw the main character in a dream. Sure, whatever.

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So anyhow, the Mythic Dawn killed the king. In his dying words, the king asks the main character to bring some Amulet of Kings to his son. And so, the story begins. The whole death scene looked incredibly bland and disappointing. There’s no drama whatsoever.

After I played through so many hours of the main quest, I appreciated the story a lot more. Much of this journey involves some quest to find a new king and to save the world of Tamriel. The villains of this game are the assassins from the Mythic Dawn. The game does a decent job at showing just how this clan is terrorizing the kingdoms in Tamriel. The game ended a little too quickly after a specific cutscene, but I really enjoyed the final battle. It has everything–hordes of demonic enemies and some giant monster thing.

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It was a grand lifetime of touching moments to save a kingdom from peril. However, it all felt like very shallow entertainment, because the voice actors showed very little emotion in their dialogue. They were saving their most intense lines for hours, until the very end of the game. Even the final conversation at the end was a bit disappointing. I was expecting a little more from a game with such a magnificent landscape to explore.

I truly enjoyed the world in Oblivion, though. Perhaps it just reminded me of a more magnificent time, when I roamed freely in the beautiful environments of Final Fantasy 7. Even after finishing these RPG masterpieces, the warm memories of that age still remain in my heart forever.