I loved Daggerfall, hated Morrowind, and loved Oblivion. The Elder Scrolls series is just hit or miss with people, even fans of the series.
My perfect open-world RPG would be Gothic with Oblivion’s combat system. I managed to squeeze 60 or so hours of fun from Oblivion as a sneaky archer-thief (I’m also one of those weirdos that loved the lock-picking stuff) and every now and then I still fire it up to blow off an afternoon robbing people blind.
But the actual gameworld leaves me entirely cold - it’s like Generic FantasyLand with a disturbingly high amount of furries.
Heh, that was pretty much what I was thinking of when I wrote that…
My main complaint about Oblivion is I just can’t get into the world: the setting is generic fantafoo, the NPCs are quest-spitting ciphers, the main plot is disposable (though some of the sidequests are cool). There’s a bazillion different things to do, but 99% of it feels like busywork to me. There’s just this disconnect between me and the game-world that I like to call the “Uncanny Valley of Gameplay:” i.e., the harder the game tries to seem realistic, the more jarring its unrealistic aspects become.
In my case, it’s partly to see what modders have been up to, partly to see how far they can push the engine, and partly to see if they’ve introduced enough tweaks to gameplay to make it more enjoyable. I did have fun playing Oblivion for the first few hours; I keep hoping someone figures out how to make it last longer than that for me.
This was my Daggerfall cycle:
0:00 - Set up character. Dang, lotsa options.
0:15 - Woah. I can run on rooftops!
0:30 - Wow. I can steal anything!
0:45 - I am bored out of my fucking mind.
1:30 - Sweet. Another randomly generated dungeon with no exit.
2:00 - So I can do anything, but there’s nothing to do…
2:45 - “Hi, yeah. I’d like to return this. Store credit? Well, what else is out?”
5:30 - Haha, oh Tanya, I’ll never tire of you shouting ‘shake it baby’ at random.
If you had played a few hours longer you would have been treated to a hard crash (due to Daggerfall filling your memory with assets and never releasing them, fixable only by uninstalling Daggerfall).
I wish I could combine Morrowind and Oblivion. Oblivion’s world was yawn inducing, and Morrowind’s was just totally out of this world in terms of architecture and atmosphere and variety of scenery. But there were just little, thoughtful things that made Oblivion much more pleasant to play. I loved how expansive they both were.
I felt like I could never play enough Oblivion until that one day came when I never wanted to play it ever again.
Yeah, this was such a huge disappointment for me when I finally bought a horse (as opposed to just stealing them, getting caught, reloading my game, repeat…). One of my all time favorite things in video games is riding horses. So much so that, to my embarrassment, I have lingered over games like these every time I go to Staples. But I would have loved mounted combat. LOVED.
Is be time to buy Mount and Blade!
I gotta get on that. We downloaded a trial or somesuch but I didn’t play much of it.
Oblivion was/is hard for me to get into because I try and avoid games that will suck away all of my free time in addition to a bunch of time which shouldn’t be free. This is also why I avoid MMOs after my first: I skipped school a few days to play ATITD.
When I first got my 360 (March 07, so a bit behind the times), I did nothing but play Oblivion with my free time. I didn’t watch Netflix movies, read e-mail, or anything else. After about two weeks of this, during which time I notably did nothing in the main quest past meeting the one friar but spent all my time running, jumping, swimming, exploring, and doing open-ended shit, I put it away during a moment of clarity. Three months ago, I took a two-week vacation from work and the first thing on my mind was “finally play Oblivion!” Thankfully, good judgement won out and I spent the time doing things I needed to do around the house, etc. FFS, I’m not a 24 year old college student anymore.
So for me, Oblivion is “hard to get into” if you define that as “hard to get out of once you are into it, thus you push yourself away from getting into”.