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Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Is Ten Years Old

A reader in the comments yesterday pointed out that it was Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion‘s birthday. Bethesda’s RPG is now ten years old. It’s the less celebrated of the series’ modern iterations – less weird than Morrowind, more awkward than Skyrim – but its my favourite in the series.

Happy birthday, potato men!

That’s probably partly because Morrowind passed me by at the time, meaning that Oblivion was the first Elder Scrolls game I played. But I don’t think that’s the whole story. As much as the game is maligned for being generic compared to the alien landscapes and creatures of its predecessors, I found the combination of its at-the-time high graphical fidelity and the grassy fields and leafy trees of its forests to be sublime. I was hooked the moment I first stepped out of its introductory sewer.

I think it also has some of the series’ best quest design. There’s rarely an objective that’s straightforward; if a mission begins as a seemingly simple fetch quest, it’ll quickly twist to reveal some narrative complexity. It’s easy to mock the potato faces and the conversation wheel, but I remember the game instead for the brilliant Dark Brotherhood quest line and the Thieves guild.

And, of course, for the mods. TESNexus has 877 pages of them.

What do you remember of Oblivion? It’s the best one, yeah?

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Graham Smith

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