Five ways The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim can top Oblivion
- Posted January 12th, 2011 at 18:53 EDT by Mike Harradence
- 20 Comments
For all your fantasy RPG do’s and don’ts, developers needn’t look any further than The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. On one hand, Bethesda’s 2006 opus is a technical master class, a smorgasbord of eye-watering aesthetics backed up by a sumptuous open-ended landscape ripe for the picking. Its core narrative—which sees players tracking down Tamriel’s lost heir and driving the dastardly Daedric forces back their fiery pits—serves as a mere toe-dipper in the fantasy romp’s rich, sprawling ocean of ample side quests, level-building and exploration.
Ostensibly, The Elder Scrolls IV is your story; stitched and woven together by a series of irrevocable, life-changing decisions that ultimately concocts the compelling tapestry that is your life. The bifurcation of good and evil lies at your very feet for you to tread as you see fit. Do you adhere to the righteous rituals of a noble Knight or the unscrupulous antics of a slippery Thief? Is fame or infamy the name of your game? Does slitting someone’s throat in the dead of night come as natural to you as helping out some poor sod dispose of a gaggle of pesky Goblins? After dunking yourself in to Cyrodiil’s sprawling sandbox for a few days, you’re sure to find the answer to these questions and more.
Conversely, however, those of you who have racked up considerable time in Tamriel will concede that Oblivion’s far from the polished paradigm of fantasy escapism it could have been. Suffice to say, there’s a few flies in the ointment. From nasty niggles attributed to the game’s engine to repetitive quests, voice-overs and ugly design decisions, Bethesda’s magnum opus could have done with a slight trimming around the edges to say the least. As such, with the announcement of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim fresh on the old grey matter, here’s our pick of five ways Bethesda can ensure the follow-up delivers an even more competent adventure than its predecessor.
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1) Polish the engine
Oblivion’s game engine proved a fertile breeding ground for a myriad of technical hiccups. Not surprising, considering the sprawling RPG marked Bethesda’s inaugural next-gen offering and the team had roughly six months to acquaint themselves with the intricacies of new hardware. Nonetheless, the atrocities committed were less than bearable at the best of times. Games would inexplicably freeze up, slow down would make even the most rudimentary of maneuvering a task in itself, and pop-up and clipping reared its head in abundance. Needless to say, anyone busy pottering away in their little greenhouse of immersion would find their world well and truly shattered. If Skyrim is to enjoy a successful launch, then we can’t have a repeat performance of its predecessor’s tumultuous entry to market. Fortunately, Bethesda has already confirmed it’s been chiseling away on a fresh engine for The Elder Scrolls V, which means a meaty overhaul in all departments—providing they can weed out any potential bugs, we should have a glitch-free ticket to Skyrim come November 11. Sure, there’s bound to be a few nuts and bolts that need tightening under the hood, but as long as the Skyrim sports car isn’t coughing and spluttering along like an old banger, we’ll call it a definitive improvement.
2) Spice up the combat
In our humble opinion, Bethesda did a pucker job with Oblivion’s combat. Intuitive and rewardingly tactical at times, the game offered a fine balance between mindless mashing and meticulously timed mauling. If you liked slicing foes up with pointy-ended objects and serenading them with spells, Oblivion had you covered. However, one area the game was conspicuously lacking in was ranged attacks, specifically of the non-zapping variety. Sure, you had the bow and arrow, but it played a distinct second fiddle to the game’s deafening orchestra of proximity-based attacks, and was only really effective when enchanted. As such, we’d like to see Bethesda incorporate a meaty selection ... (continued on next page)
- 2:02pm EST - January 12th, 2011
Cant wait for this one bro!!!
- 2:12pm EST - January 12th, 2011
1. They've either gutted the Gamebryo engine and severally redesigned it, or they developed an entirely new engine. In the Magazine scans you can see all objects cast shadows now (yes, even buildings and other structures) along with self shadowing on character models. The draw distance and texture work has also been improved.
2. Combat has already been confirmed to be spruced up, and rumor has it the guys who made Dark Messiah of Might and Magic are helping with it, as Zenimax does own the company. Not a whole lot is known about the combat though, just that we can equip any weapon/spell/whatever to any hand. We can also bash with our shields.
3. Adding 20 voices is impractical and would really take away form the character truly being yours.
4. It's already been stated there will be more variety in the landscape, towns, and ruins/dungeons. Skyrim is inherently more varied than Cyrodiil from the start anyways. While Cyrodiil features Green Hill 1# to Green Hill 156#, Skyrim has massive mountains, valleys, cliffs, open prairies, tundra, glaciers, dense wintry forests, to even volcanic planes.
5. According to Todd Howard, the level-scaling is similar to Fallout 3's system, less so Oblivion's. So while it's not static, it's a major improvement. In Oblivion, you could wipe out a town at level 1. In Fallout 3, you could step out into the world and run into a level 12 deathclaw and be smeared across the ground.
- 2:46pm EST - January 12th, 2011
I'm really psyched for this game, and I wholeheartedly support everything you said in the article.
Sryche22 | Sryche
- 5:42pm EST - January 12th, 2011
rainy day in Hawaii today, popped in Elder Scrolls Oblivion...still a real fun game....can\'t wait for the newest iteration...definitely want to see a huge bump in graphics.
1solidsnake | solid1snake67
- 6:04pm EST - January 12th, 2011
online!!! i would like to see that
- 7:15pm EST - January 12th, 2011
- 7:22pm EST - January 12th, 2011
I agree with a lot of these points but strongly disagree with giving the protagonist a voice. Voices are not necessary vital to storytelling (books and other/older video games have done fine) and I don't like the idea of forcing a voice on my customized character. One day I think the technology will be there to implement a nicely customizable voice, but I don't see that happening any time soon and definitely within the current console generation.
- 9:40pm EST - January 12th, 2011
I would like them to bring a couple things back from morrowind like mark and recall, also more spells like slowfall and make it so u can make a spell that will enhance how high u jump. I was really surprised when they didnt put those in oblivion.
- 12:55am EST - January 13th, 2011
Thry shouldn't try to top Oblivion, but TES2: Daggerfall.
- 2:34am EST - January 13th, 2011
Only disagree with number 3. Adding a voice to the main character is a good idea in the very fist game or when that voice so it is expected, or when the voice is easily identifiable with, but like it was stated, this is our story and there's noway that every single person can identify with a single voice. No voice allows room for invention of our own voice and taking that away also takes away from the game's experience.
- 3:27am EST - January 13th, 2011
Bring levitation back!
- 6:04pm EST - January 13th, 2011
Nakatomi Uk | Nakatomi_Uk
- 7:49pm EST - January 13th, 2011
Adding a voice to the player isn't a good idea then it would be turning Oblivion into Mass Effect and just wouldn't feel right, I would like to see during a chit chat with an NPC the whole background not freeze its like your in a bubble and only you and the NPC next to you are uneffected.
Its stupid looking at the background and seeing people frozen just dosnt make the world enjoyable and full of life, combay system defo needs to be improved. Spells taht have different names but aint the same attack would be nice cough cough Fireball then something like Armeggeddon in Oblivion yet it's the just a small fireball that pops out.
It would be nice if they did different actions to summon a spell like hold your hands like Ryu and charged up a ball of fire like that PC game I cant remember the name of??? I'm on the fence I just dont trust that so called engine I really dont.
- 10:05pm EST - January 13th, 2011
I agree about most things but not the uselessness of archery in Oblivion ; I guess it depends on the character you played and how you levelled him up ; I would exclusively play Wood Elf because I liked the background and that "stealthy arrow headshot" you describe in the article is pretty much what I remember doing the most throughout the whole game ; on the contrary, melee weapons were litterally useless in my playthroughs.
- 9:52am EST - January 15th, 2011
I think Oblivion wasn't half as unstable and glitchy as this article made it out to be :O
I bought it at launch for PC and sure there were bugs, but it ran just fine.
I wish for many improvements in Skyrim, but a less bug-free and stable launch isn't on the top! I'd rather Bethesda focused on making the core elemtents (and changes to them) as good as they can be, because bugs and glitches can be patched.
Not saying I want a buggy game, but I thought Oblivion was fine when it launched (And better after patches), no need to focus dev-time and money on beating Oblivion in that aspect if it'd mean they could make the game itself better!
- 4:51pm EST - January 16th, 2011
GOTC(entury) written all over!
- 10:15am EST - January 19th, 2011
this game looks wicked
- 10:35am EST - January 19th, 2011
The elder scrolls iv: Oblivion was excellent but skyrim is just another universe.
- 10:44am EST - January 19th, 2011
please send me messages if you think i should buy this game
- 3:26pm EST - January 22nd, 2011
let it begin!!!!
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