Hey guys. Before I get too carried away with the usual scope of my blogging, I'd like to throw something out there. On Friday I had to find accommodation for my next year at University. Initially I was going to be living with five friends in a house, but that plan kind of went out the window when my girlfriend and I were betrayed by our group of friends at the last minute and basically told to find a place for ourselves. So we did. It's not amazing; it's very small and quite expensive for what it is. But it's very well looked after, ideal for our needs and the landlord seems like a stand-up guy. Perhaps most importantly, though, it's less than five minutes away from my favourite pub. Want to know something even better? The guys who kicked us out of the group still have yet to find somewhere to live. Yeah, karma's a wonderful thing. Here are some pictures of the place, for those of you who like that sort of thing.
Now, on to the meat of the blog!
So, with the free time I've had since polishing off my last essay, I intended to play some more of Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise. Truth be told, I didn't. In fact, I haven't touched it since I wrote the blog where I explicitly stated that I would soon be blogging in detail about VP:TiP. The reason for this is The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Anybody who's been following my blog for a reasonable length of time will know that I've been trying to get into Oblivion for quite a while, but haven't been able to, probably because of the epic scale and daunting level of depth it has to offer. I'm not sure what possessed me to do so, but shortly after finishing my blog on Canis Canem Edit, part of me decided to give the game yet another chance. After plodding through the rather painful hour-long opening sequence (another one of the reasons I had so much trouble getting into the game, I think), I stepped out of the Imperial Dungeons and out into the province of Cyrodiil. And from there, I was completely hooked. I've been playing for about twenty-five hours now, and most of that time has been spent just wandering across the game world, exploring new areas and looting dungeons. I've hardly touched the main quest, although I've dabbled in working for a couple of the Guilds. If I had to sum up Oblivion in three words, they would be huge, deep and beautiful.
Long-time readers will no doubt be aware of my similar experience with Fallout 3 earlier this year. I wasn't too sure about picking it up at first. Given the negative experience I'd had trying to get into Oblivion, I didn't want to go through something similar with Fallout 3. On the other hand, the post-apocalyptic aesthetic really grabbed my attention compared to the swords-and-sorcery setting of Oblivion that has been done a hundred times before. I picked it up for Christmas and played the hell out of it throughout January up until the death of my first 360 in early February. The open-world stuff was liberating without being too daunting, and I loved the freeform style of gameplay it seemed to encourage. Everything about the Capital Wasteland seemed to have been painstakingly and lovingly crafted, with a level of attention to detail that makes the word 'meticulous' seem inadequate. In summary, I think my time with Fallout 3 eased me nicely into the concept of the open-world RPG and probably made returning to Oblivion seem like a much less daunting prospect.
Ultimately, I like both games for similar reasons - their open-world, freeform-style RPG gameplay, their gorgeous visuals, and their incredible scope, depth and attention to detail. This is, of course, because both of these games were developed by the same company - Bethesda Softworks. In fact, I think the main reason why I and so many other people love Oblivion and Fallout 3 is because Bethesda clearly love them too. Both games are evidently labours of love, products of thousands of hours of development which ensures that each and every detail within the game world is consistent with the greater universe to which it belongs. One only has to look at the books scattered around Cyrodiil to realise just how much thought has gone into creating the fictional world of Nirn within which the events of Oblivion unfold.
Perhaps that's another reason why I can really identify with Bethesda's approach to realising their game worlds and delivering a truly immersive gaming experience. I myself am a writer (in case the thoughts I put across in my blogs don't make it obvious enough), and have aspirations of eventually creating a piece of epic fantasy fiction within a self-contained universe. While I'm not going to go into a lot of detail regarding that (I'd prefer to push this blog out this side of Easter), it's precisely because of this that I can really appreciate the work Bethesda does. In fact, I'm kind of envious of their ability to do what they do. As you may know if you've read one of my older blogs, you'll know that storytelling within video games is something of an interest of mine. By extension of this, so is the creation of a believable fictional universe. I just hope that one day, my own creation will end up seeing the light of day, whether in the form of a book, or a game, or whatever. Yesterday I ordered myself a copy of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the Elder Scrolls universe and getting to grips with another Bethesda game that I'm almost certain I'm going to love just as much as the ones I've already played. Thanks very much for reading, guys. In the meantime, I have some Oblivion Gates to close...
Currently playing - The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (X360)