Smile and Nod: Oblivion, and the Second Chance

Smile and Nod: Oblivion, and the Second Chance

Sometimes you get a second chance at happiness. Not often, and I wouldn't suggest you go around expecting it unless you're prepared for the laborious process of rebuilding your ego with careful applications of alcohol and one-night stands, like re-inflating a used car dealership's giant gorilla with a bicycle pump. But if you stay on target - for just a few more seconds - every once in a while, what was once wrong will become right. And that will be a joyous day.

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If you're elated about a playable Oblivion you might be even more ecstatic if you had the PC version, where there are innumerable mods offering better graphics, interface, weather patterns, and a way to prevent the game world from leveling up with you. I don't have direct experience since I've barely played the game so far but most people who try the bigger mods swear by them.

Aw... you should do more writing on that end part about "developers should be shamed" et cetera. Those are some great points.

Well, we, the consumers, are either going to bitch about bugs, or bitch about games being pushed back (sometimes both). I guess even great games, or in the case of Oblivion, very good games, aren't ever perfect.

But you have to credit developers who go back and fix the issues. And, as mentioned before, having only played the PC version, I not only have patches for the game, but probably a hundred mods (well, maybe 50) that make the game so much more enjoyable.

It's too bad they couldn't take a few and port them over to the consoles after a little bit of testing.

Complaining about a poorly polished product in an article with 3 typos? Teh irony! ;)

I just got a new PC a couple weeks ago and playing Oblivion is definitely on my to-do list. In order to get it running on my old rig, I kept bringing down the draw distance on the grass until I eventually just had a small halo of foliage around myself wherever I walked, before finally turning everything down to low. Geforce 8800 GT oughta take care of that :D

Btw, no review of the expansion packs? Hopefully you didn't pay good money so your horse can have armor, but I was hoping for some info on whether the ones with actual content were worth getting. OTOH, a game with as much content as Oblivion hardly seems like it needs expansions :)

Lest someone try to call my bluff:

P1 screwed up blockquote - I missed this one the first time around, even though its the most obvious :)
P2 "there would be too many loading screen"
P2 "see if a. my save files still exited"
P3 "events that conspired to cheat my of this experience

I mean one or two I'd let slide, but really now...

I find it a bit of a weak call to slash an article because of a few typos. There is a good point in the article; it's kinda ridiculous you have to wait for a game after it has been released until its playable. However, I don't think the developers are entirely to blame; they have to release a new game every 2-3 years (with a few exception studios) to keep afloat. Games are a difficult piece of software where about everything can go wrong and jam a game. Proper testing alone takes much, much time and resources.

I see what you're getting at - sometimes our first experience of a game, regardless of excuse, can marr our opinion of it for months, or in your case, years.

Personally, I never had any trouble with Oblivion, but that's neither here nor there.

As for criticising developers, I don't think it's fair to squarely pin everything on them. Any release should be expected to go out with a bug or two - we see bloopers and continuity errors in films all the time, no-one can get it perfect straight off the bat.

The most we can reasonably ask for is a strong after-sale patch development, which tackles the problems missed in the original game.

While playing Oblivion on a Geforce 7800GT was relatively trouble-free (if not hyper-slick) for me, I did could not connect with the game. A lot of same-ness and repeating stuff (dialog, for an obvious example), as well as uninspiring quests made me quit playing after closing the first oblivion gate and reaching 10th level or so.

I've sold my copy, and now hope Mass Effect for PC will be more my cup of tea.

I'm fairly certain the main storyline in Mass Effect will be, but its sidequests on far-flung planets are even more samey and colorless than Oblivion.

I'm fairly certain the main storyline in Mass Effect will be, but its sidequests on far-flung planets are even more samey and colorless than Oblivion.

Oblivion's bread and butter, outside of it's wonderful modding community (shout out to Oscuro), was it's side quests and 'dungeon' crawling (especially when it's expanded). The main quest, IMO, was just an ends to a means, in that something has to make you feel like you 'beat the game'. Personally, I've played through a few times, and I've only completed the main quest once. I just think it sort of sucks, and it really repetitive.

I'm delighted Mass Effect is coming to the PC. If only so I can see what all the hubbub is about about. Even if the combat is a bit weak, if the story is as engrossing as people say, then it's well worth a play through, since I think combat in RPGs should be teritary to the story and player development.

I find it a bit of a weak call to slash an article because of a few typos.

Mostly I was appalled that an article by an associate editor could be so badly proofread. Otherwise I agree with what he said. But come on, you have to admit it's funny that he complains about bugs in a game despite having "bugs" in his article :) Seeing a typo is a jarring experience for me. It halts the flow of reading, akin to his long loading screens, though not as extreme.

I think that the changing hard drives are just a start. Instead of a static generation of consoles, manufacturers are seeing the benefits of a system that is malleable to individual consumer's wallets. What happens when they start to let you choose different speed hard drives? Will non-SSD HD's be cheaper but slow down gameplay in next-gen consoles? Or what about when even the number and/or quality of processors/memory/power supply changes? Seems likely to me that it's going to get more and more similar to regular computers. It's just a matter of time before console games have a detailed list of minimum requirements :D

Instead of a static generation of consoles, manufacturers are seeing the benefits of a system that is malleable to individual consumer's wallets.

Well, it has it's pros and cons. If you can sell more consoles because you can offer a lower price point, then it's win/win.

At the same time, Oblivion obviously wasn't developed to run on a 360 without a hard drive. MS offered a 360 without a hard drive. That sort of disconnect can't happen. Games need to either be developed on the lowest standard system (which hurts the developers and the community) or MS should have simply bundled in, at a small (or no) cost, a small hard drive capable of playing a game or two at a time.

IMO, MS dropped the ball here, not Bethesda. MS never should have released a system without a hard drive, knowing that games in development were absolutely going to utilize it, and that while it may have cost them a bit of dough, it would have made the game experience of the OP much more enjoyable.

Sony did it right, IMO. While the console was pricier than the 360, it was day 1 compatible (and I mean equally playable across all price points) with every game released and/or in development. And it also didn't suffer the same catastrophic hardware failures...

But, I digress, this isn't a debate about Console A vs. Console B.

I like the idea of an external, detachable, consumer-upgradable HDD... but I'm not a big fan of how Microsoft implemented it on the 360.

I'd have gone at it slightly differently, with a "core"/"arcade" unit shipping with a 1GB or so drive tailored for game caching. (Drop storage in favour of speed while keeping cost down.) Then I'd have sold external snap-on drives as accessories tailored for different users; 20GB drive for players interested in some user-generated content and light developer-based DLC, a 60GB drive for "pro" players big on DLC and heavy arcade/classics use, and a 120GB drive for the media buffs.

And for Ghu's sakes, I'd love to have a better DRM system than MS's current "phone home" authentication debacle.

-- Steve

With all due respect to our dear Mr. Pitts, I feel a certain smug satisfaction at reading about a console gamer who had grief with a title because his system specs weren't up to snuff.

Oh, the depth of my apathy towards the pc vs. console debate. It is deeper and darker and deader then the bottom of a sea trench.

Russ's Articles always take some digesting, and this is one that requires either a week's answer or none at all. I'll have to report back here when I've sorted out my thoughts.


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