There's Something About Bethesda

Posted by dankempster (2261 posts) -

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!


Oblivion is a gorgeous game
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.

Fallout 3 hooked me from the off with its open-world gameplay and post-apocalyptic setting
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.

Bethesda really care about what they create
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...


DanK

---

Currently playing - The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (X360)
#1 Posted by dankempster (2261 posts) -

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!


Oblivion is a gorgeous game
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.

Fallout 3 hooked me from the off with its open-world gameplay and post-apocalyptic setting
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.

Bethesda really care about what they create
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...


DanK

---

Currently playing - The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (X360)
#2 Posted by crunchUK (5963 posts) -

oblivion sucked. Once you saw through the veils it was so very shoddy

#3 Posted by destro (248 posts) -
crunchUK said:
"oblivion sucked. Once you saw through the veils it was so very shoddy"
I think your one of the only people that think that. You probably just sucked at it
#4 Posted by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -
crunchUK said:
"oblivion sucked. Once you saw through the veils it was so very shoddy"
Your right! He now hates this game! 
#5 Posted by AndrewGaspar (2419 posts) -

Does that screenshot from Oblivion have some sort of visual mod involved? The grass looks different and the colors are a little more vibrant, it seems.

#6 Posted by dankempster (2261 posts) -
crunchUK said:
"oblivion sucked. Once you saw through the veils it was so very shoddy"
Oh, crunchUK, you have shown me the error of my ways! I shall cast aside Oblivion and PLAY MOAR HALOZ!!!!!11!!!1!!!!!1one

AndrewGaspar said:
"Does that screenshot from Oblivion have some sort of visual mod involved? The grass looks different and the colors are a little more vibrant, it seems."
Honestly couldn't tell you. I just plucked it out of the game's Screenshots gallery here on GB.
#7 Posted by PowerSerj (987 posts) -

Oh man, you're making me want to get into Oblivion again. Good blog post, and I hope you enjoy Morrowind as much as you do Oblivion, because it is a fantastic game.

#8 Posted by Captain_Fookup (1519 posts) -
Interesting blog, but sadly Bethesda has done nothing Innovative or groundbreaking. At best they create generic role playing games without any substance, which is sad because they had a chance to really bring the Fallout franchise to the masses instead they released a sloppy first person shooter with horrible "bullet time". The one saving grace of Bethesda's games is simply the modding community which corrects exactly what was wrong with the game in the first place.
#9 Posted by Arkthemaniac (6535 posts) -

I couldn't get into Oblivion. I liked Fallout 3 quite a bit though. I think Bethesda is a pretty talented bunch, but lost sight of the prize with Oblivion.

#10 Posted by Origina1Penguin (3504 posts) -

Bethesda does have a special some somethin' going on.  Thinking back, it was an X-play (or whatever it was known as at the time) review of Morrowind that convinced me to buy my first Bethesda game.  I've been hooked ever since.

#11 Posted by atejas (3057 posts) -

They have a good core vision, but they need better writers, more playtesters, and a better lead animator(THIS, ESPECIALLY).
Overall, they make great games with a lack of polish.

#12 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

Fallout 3 was a great game with a horrid ending. I played Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion on my PC and put in over 300 hours. I consider it one of my favorites of all time. I thought about picking it up for my Xbox 360 to get a different perspective on how the game plays, but I don't know if I want to go back again.

#13 Posted by BiggerBomb (6944 posts) -

I agree entirely, danK. Anyone who as ever heard my ramblings knows that I'm one of Bethesda's biggest fans, and I'm glad to see that others appreciate their work as well. I have to start gaming again, and I'm wondering what to get into. Maybe it's that time to jump into Morrowind, Oblivion, or Fallout 3.

Damn good read, danK. If you keep that up, and allow yourself to be inspired by the passions of others, you may very well end up where it is you want to be in life. Have fun, duder!

#14 Posted by BiggerBomb (6944 posts) -

Update: Dan, I'm going to start up Oblivion GOTY right now! :D

#15 Posted by RichardLOlson (1852 posts) -
The guys over at bethesda really do care about there games.  Oblivion was an awsome game and I got hooked on Fallout 3, so congrats to bethesda for making such great games.  These guys need to keep pumping out awsome games.  And for those who feel that Oblivion sucks, just need to go screw themselves.  Also bethesda really needs to bring out another installment of Morrowind.
#16 Posted by jakob187 (21763 posts) -

For a flat, there are a lot of corners and edges.  =  P


Either way, Fallout 3 is sweet.  Unfortunately, Bethesda suffered the fate of nuclear fallout.  Seriously...their offices are in the game.  It's a sad thing...kinda.
#17 Posted by Bucketdeth (8048 posts) -

I loved Oblivion, not so much Fallout 3, maybe it` s because I bought the PS3 version which they obviously didn`t give two shits about.

#18 Posted by Al3xand3r (7574 posts) -

Meh, I wouldn't say they care, their games feel like they were factory produced to me. As if they have an army of content creators slaving away with no connection to one another, just trying to meet their specific requirements. This resolution for the texture, this polycount for the house, etc, etc, which is probably why world building is so unoptimised, like they create every aspect with the maximum resources and then mix and match them at will with little consideration. Oblivion was a bitch to run at the time of release, heck even Morrowind was the same and some of its environments are almost Oblivion quality, though they had even worse character modellers and animators for that (they don't seem to have improved too much either, heh).

Both Oblivion and Fallout 3, considering they're RPGs, lack a good storyline (seriously the main plot in both is wtf horrible), with only a few quest lines redeeming the rest of the package. For example, the dark brotherhood quests in Oblivion or smaller creative (if ultimately still shallow) quests like the missing painter or some Vampire related plot lines (both in Oblivion and Fallout 3 this). The rest feels so cookie cutter and not creative in the least. They also manage to screw up character progression or other core gameplay aspects like they were put together with little thought.

Oblivion in particular had major flaws with the levelling, looting, and pretty much everything related to character progress, as well as the feeling that the world had a handful of different landmarks remixed to infinity. Dungeons, oblivion gates, caves, etc, most with the same level dependant loot making it a BAD thing to do quests early on, and having so few unique items whatsoever.

Fallout 3 fixed some of that by having the random loot useful for the repairs of the gear you use, as well as more unique locations that made it more fun to explore, just to see what the next vault, or whatever, is going to be like. Not hugely different, but some had clever twists. I had the most fun in Fallout 3 away from stupid NPCs just exploring remote desolate areas for their secrets and the odd decent quest (ie violin lady).

It seems both of the games would be far better if they had one decent writer for every 10 modellers and texture artists. That said, the sheer size alone made me play Oblivion quite a bit, in fact I've just gone back to it trying out a few different mods and what not (though I never bought the expansion, and don't intend to). But I still consider it more like  a shallow medieval fantasy GTA than a deep RPG others seem to love it for. It's just fun to level up a little, get some of the good gear, stalk people and try to steal their gear when they go to sleep or other things like this, that army of content creators certainly has its benefits considering almost every NPC has day and night schedules and something of interest in their house, at least until you get tired of doing the same things over and over and looting the same things over and over and then having nothing to buy with all your accumulated wealth.

PS: That screenshot ppl wondered about might be using Natural Environments mod which makes the 4 seasons more distinct and adds more weather types, as well as changes the look of the vegetation. That looks like Summer with its more vibrant colors. The mod also adds things like insects and birds that add atmosphere, and are even season dependant (no bugs in winter etc) themselves, and rainbows after rain. It also changed the water. Anyway, I'm not sure as I just read of it while looking for more meaningful mods that wouldn't cause conflicts (unofficial patches etc), I didn't actually use it.

#19 Edited by BiggerBomb (6944 posts) -

Update2!: Ehhh, not getting into Oblivion. I ran into an....extenuating circumstance. I can't play a game like Oblivion, what with my w0rkz and so on.  Maybe another day...


P.S.

Al3xand3r, go play with kirby or enter a Ray Liotta look-alike contest. Video game commentary/criticism isn't working out for you.

#20 Posted by TheLongshot (26 posts) -

The screenshot in question has nothing to do with a mod, its when the season turns to fall, all the trees and grass change colors just like they do in real life. Bigger bomb you have my sympathy for not being able to play it more but I understand, once this game gets its hooks in yah its hard to put down, and you may begin to neglect other things in your life....  Oblivion should be nominated for best game of all time in my book. I've played it for a total of almost 300+ hours, and evertime I play I find something new be it a side quest or dungeon, and being able to create your own class only adds to the possibilities. Out of all my playthroughs I have no complete map of cyrodil. They are all only partial, to find let alone explore every dungeon in this game I believe would take someone most of their adult lives. Soon i intend on getting the oblivion symbol tatooed on my left leg. Fanatic, maybe, but as i said, apart from The Legend of Zelda OoT, this to me is the best game ever made, and I would like to personally shake the hands of the creators and give them a tip of the hat for all their hard work.

P.S I've heard that a new elder scrolls may be on its way in 2010, and it is to include a random dungeon generator. HOORAY! I cant wait, and if anyone has any further news please let me know asap. thanks, and game on.

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