So let’s throw it back to… around 2010. Back then I was a kid who was really into soccer, so the only game I really played was FIFA. Then that changed in an instant. I got bored of FIFA one summer week and found one of my father’s old video games. The game, as you could have guessed from the title, was The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

I’ve played the next iteration of that series in Skyrim, but that one will always hold a special place in my heart for many reasons: diversifying my scope in gaming, introducing me to open world RPG games, and mostly just allowing me to be introducing me to Bethesda Softworks, a company whose games I enjoy significantly. However, this isn’t about me: it’s about showing you why despite its age, it is a game worth playing.

An Enticing Storyline: Assassination

Let’s start with one of my favorite things about this game: the storyline. I would say that Bethesda has done a particularly great job with the storyline in this game.

The premise is simple: you start as a prisoner in a jail cell in the biggest city in the province of Cyrodiil in the country of Tamriel. One day you witness the Emperor and his bodyguards (Blades) rush towards your cell and open up a secret passage to the sewers within it.

As a causality of your character being in the cell, the Blades take you with them. In the sewer, you realize that the emperor is targeted for assassination by a cult called the Mythic Dawn. The emperor at that point has accepted that he’s going to be assassinated, and entrusts you with a powerful amulet, that you are supposed to take to a man named Jauffre.

You then escape the sewer system to find yourself near the Imperial City itself. From there on you choose your path: you can keep on with the main quest, or do one of the many side storylines that the game provides.

Blades VS Mythic Dawn Agents, Claire Leyton

The Best Part: Gameplay and Combat

I don’t really want to spoil much beyond that. Your entanglement with the Mythic Dawn cult is not over, and that the storyline will take twists and turns. While the story is important, gameplay is as well, hence I showcased a video of it below.

I thought that I liked the simplicity of the combat system. While you can employ a variety of diverse weapons and spells, the combat is fairly bare bones. You can move around, dodge enemies’ attacks, and then attack them yourself.

You can also switch between the first person and the third person view on the camera. I think the video explains most of the system. While the combat is simple and was ahead of its time in 2006, it does not seem as fluid as some later RPG games.

But since the game itself is a throwback I would say that despite the simplicity of the combat it is still worth playing if you are into open-world RPGs. 

Things that are…. not so good

While The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was an amazing game in the early 2000s, it doesn’t come without problems. I’ll start with the graphics. While the environment is built very well and is definitely scenic, that cannot be said for the character models.

The character faces look bloated and honestly look dated. I have included a comparison of the character models from Oblivion and Skyrim below.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Orc model comparison: left is Oblivion and Right is Skyrim, it’s successor. From Reddit

You can see why if you are someone who enjoys graphics this may not be the best for you. The graphics look dated and the face looks like a potato. Another knock against The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is that of course as with any game of that size there is a large number of bugs and glitches to go with the size. However, while it is an issue, you can fix it by downloading the unofficial patches to the game and its DLC, hence getting rid of that problem.

Final Thoughts on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

I would definitely recommend The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion to anyone who is a fan of roleplaying and open-ended, nonlinear games. If you like doing a lot of different types of quests, and toying with the way you approach combat then this is the game for you. You can become any character with any build: assassin, thief, barbarian, you name it.

This game allows you to have control over what you do at any given moment, and what questlines you choose to follow. There are many paths to take in the game. While there is the main storyline, you don’t have to do it right away and can choose to do other things before you face the Mythic Dawn. If you love the freedom of choice and well-written storylines, then this is your game.