Thursday, June 29, 2017

Mother Gamer Plays Elder Scrolls Oblivion

Yes, it's true. Skyrim was my first Elder Scrolls game which as many of you know I really enjoyed and had fun with. A couple of friends suggested I check out Elder Scrolls Oblivion and Morrowind and that while they were older games and dated, they were good games because they had great stories. I went with Oblivion first for the Xbox 360 while I waited for Morrowind to go on sale on Steam.

I started the character creation and decided to go with a female Dunmer (Dark Elf) for my first time playing. I liked that there were a variety of choices for creating my character and I could adjust the hair color and facial features easily. Once that was done I was ready to choose the job class and went with a stealth character because that's what I like to do.

Creating my Dunmer character. 

The initial introduction is interesting and I was delighted to hear Patrick Stewart's voice as Emperor Uriel Septim. That scene gives tutorials on how the controls for the game work and how to switch the camera from first to third person. This was easy to follow and it jumped into the story right away once the tutorial was done.

The world in Oblivion is pretty big and with the game of the year edition there's so much to see and do. Besides the main quest there are a ton of side quests as well as quests for the different guilds. This led to a mistake on my part during my game play and a bit of a pain in the ass also. I had joined the Mages Guild early, but I was also doing Thieves Guild quests. I realized too late that one of the Thieves Guild quests required stealing from a mage and sadly I had to kill the mage. That got the Mage's Guild angry at me naturally. I also had forgotten about the fact that one of the quests had me fight some vampires and I forgot to use a cure disease potion and the fast travel made time move ahead faster and turned me into a vampire. 

Atoning for killing a fellow mage and curing the vampirism was ridiculously tedious. This is where your fame and infamy screw you over. If your infamy is higher than your fame, you can not cure yourself of any ailments at any of the churches. Trying to find all the ingredients for curing the vampirism is aggravating because there are so many alchemy ingredients to find. The atonement for the Mages Guild isn't so bad, just boring.  So I scrapped that game save and started over which wasn't a big deal because I wasn't that far into the game. 

I remembered from that experience and got it right the second time and I didn't join the Mages Guild until I was finished with the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood quests. I also remembered to stock pile the cure disease potions. No becoming a vampire for me! I enjoyed just running around exploring and the game itself while dated is actually very pretty. Each town has its own unique look and the scenery out in the wilds looks great too. 

Exploring the Imperial City which looked impressive.

The voice acting for the game is excellent. Besides Patrick Stewart, I was delighted when I recognized the voices of Lynda Carter and Sean Bean. I also recognized voice actors that had been in games such as Fallout and Skyrim. The music for the game is great and fits a lot of the scenes really well.  Battle is pretty good and I liked that I could switch the camera easily when I was using a bow and arrows. Being able to adjust the difficulty level is great too because I tend to go on the easy setting first so I can just appreciate the story.

For the big cities and towns there is a fast travel option which is a nice thing to have. The map is easy to get to, but I wish I didn't have to scroll around to find what I'm looking for. I would have preferred it to open into one big map that shows everything, but it's not a deal breaker. 

Taking a look at the Oblivion map. 

Not everything is perfect in Oblivion. There were some aspects of the game I didn't like such as the lock picking and the persuasion mini game. I know this game came before Skyrim, but I found myself longing for the lock picking mechanics in Skyrim. There is no margin for error with the lock picking and I broke a lot of picks before I got the hang of having a light touch. It doesn't mean I didn't swear a lot whenever a lock pick broke. I did get it right eventually and once my skills increased that happened a lot less.

Early on lock picking is difficult at first. 

Nothing annoyed me as much as the persuasion game. Basically there is a roulette wheel with different actions and you have to watch the NPC's reactions to see which one is the best. You want the reaction where they're smiling a lot FYI and you want to max out the positive reaction as much as possible so they like you and will tell you things like juicy rumors about certain people or places where you can find treasure. You can bribe them with gold to increase your chances a bit. You want the largest section of color to go into the highest response. It can take some trial and error to get that right. Honestly, I'm glad they got rid of it by the time Skyrim came around because it is just annoying to do it.

I started to loathe this mini game. 

You do get a mount in Oblivion. I liked the Dark Brotherhood horse the best. The mechanics for horseback riding aren't that great however. The horse kept wanting to veer left for some reason and it was horribly awkward. I just started running everywhere rather than deal with bad horse steering. I'm glad the game had a fast travel option because that helped a lot too.

One of the rare moments my horse didn't try to kill me. 

The big thing I had an issue with was the thing that was the main part of the story. That's right, the Oblivion gates. The idea is intriguing and the story explanation for them is good, but the execution is severely lacking. Part of the main story is you have to go around and close these Oblivion gates so the Daedra (see demon army) don't invade the world of Cyrodiil and end the world.

I did not have fun doing this. In fact, it was a part of the game I detested. The thing is each Oblivion gate when you're on the other side of it everything looks exactly the same. It's essentially a giant maze with all these towers, monsters that try to kill you, and a gigantic pain to navigate. One of the bigger issues was the fact that sometimes there would be doors I couldn't see because they blended into a rock wall. I found myself backtracking a lot just to find the right tower that would lead up to the mechanism that would close the gate. 

Getting ready to enter an Oblivion gate. 

The Oblivion gates are not a fun part of the game. They're too long and tedious to find your way around them. The only good thing that comes from them is all the sigil stones you get after you close a gate because you can use those to craft fantastic powerful armor or weapons. Towards the end it got to the point where I would just race through the Oblivion gate realms and get to the end, close the gate, get a sigil stone, and repeat.

The world inside the Oblivion gate is pretty in its own way. I just didn't enjoy how it felt like one repetitive giant maze and there weren't a lot of variations between them. I was glad when I was done closing them all.

The sky in an Oblivion gate is pretty at least. 

The things that do work far outweigh the things that don't and I did have a lot of fun playing Elder Scrolls Oblivion. I liked running around simply exploring and picking up extra side quests because they were interesting and the characters were interesting. I loved the story as well because the characters were great and the story itself was well told. I liked the extra DLC also because that was fun and gave me more things to do in the game. I'm glad I decided to play Elder Scrolls Oblivion because it was worth it and in spite of it being an older game, it is a good one. 

Morrowind did go on sale on Steam so I bought it and it looks like that may be next along with some other older games I have in my backlog. So there will be a lot of gaming goodness for me to choose from!

*Elder Scrolls Oblivion is available to play on the following platforms: Microsoft Windows, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood Game Changes and Info

I know that I was pretty excited for Stormblood for Final Fantasy XIV especially with the reveal of some new job classes. The one I was most excited for was samurai of course. When I played Final Fantasy XI samurai was my first advanced job class and I loved it. Bard was the next one and I enjoyed that as well.

With new content and job classes, there are changes to things. The changes for bard make me really happy. While I do like my bard in Final Fantasy XIV, I found myself frustrated often with the fact that it had basically been made into a ranger/mage class. I missed my old bard where it was about the songs and being a great support job. I wasn't thrilled with the idea of being a DPS mage type. The changes with bard now involve more songs and it feels more like my bard from XI which I'm thrilled with.

Siliconera has a great article with videos sharing a lot of good information about what has stayed the same and what has changed with the job classes and with the mechanics of the game itself. You can check out all of it here:

Which of the new jobs is everyone excited to try? What changes do you like best and which are you unsure about? If you've already started, how are you liking the new content? Let me know in the comments. Until next time, gamers! 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Farewell, Adam West

I am really bummed to hear about Adam West's passing at the age of 88 from leukemia. He was my first Batman. I would watch his Batman TV series after school when I was a kid. Yes it was campy, but it was fun and I loved it. He was amazing and I loved that he could poke fun at himself in shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy, and The Big Bang Theory.

I think for many of us he was our first Batman and he'll always be our Batman. He may be gone from this world, but we will never forget him. Thank you Adam West for sharing your amazing gift with all of us and thank you for being our Batman and for many of us our first superhero.