I realized that a huge majority of my current readers weren’t around when I wrote my Oblivion Posts. Sometimes I forget this. I imagine my entire site as this unbroken record, but for most people the thing started about three months ago. So let’s back up a bit.
Hal is right. There was a lot to like in Oblivion. I beat it twice, did all the missions for Mages / Fighters / Dark Brotherhood / Thieves, and collected a few properties. I filled in the map, and even made a (very trivial) mod. That is a lot of hours to sink into a game, and I wouldn’t have done it if I wasn’t having a good time.
But the number of annoyances, quest flukes, bugs, and haywire scripts did grate. That, and I needed a user mod to get the game running on my Geforce 5500, which was well within the “minimum requirements”. A patch to at least meet those requirements would have been The Right Thing to Do, and such a patch wouldn’t be needed for the consoles.
Underneath the dents is a great game. I did have several posts of praise for the game. I didn’t have so much a bad experience as a profound anger that they claimed the game worked on systems where it clearly didn’t, and then never made things right. I strongly suspect that it isn’t the fault of the developers directly. If they are anything like me, they hate releasing buggy software and jump at the chance to correct mistakes. I’m sure the decision was made much higher on the food chain, possibly from the publisher. Honestly if I knew where to lay the blame I would bring my verbal chastening to bear on the guilty party swiftly and with grim efficiency. Sadly, I don’t know who made these decisions, so I have to shake my fist at Bethesda in general. I have little doubt that the decision to launch the game in its larval state was made by someone who probably never played the thing.
I have a better GFX card now and the game runs fine without any user-made mods, but I haven’t forgotten this fiasco. Lots of people picked up the game, played it, and were happy, but for those of us who had to turn to the community for help in getting some sort of playable experience from it, well… that sort of thing tends to leave an impression.
A major expansion is on the way. I will be watching the news very carefully after release, to see what sort of condition the thing is in when it comes out of the box. If it looks good then I just might pick it up. If I see another round of community-made patches arise, then I’m going to conclude the company itself is defective, and give them the same treatment I’ve given Obsidian in the past. They will become a verbal punching bag, my universal example of a game company gone wrong.
Skyrim Thieves Guild
The Thieves Guild quest in Skyrim is a vortex of disjointed plot-holes, contrivances, and nonsense.
Bethesda felt the need to jam a morality system into Fallout 3, and they blew it. Good and evil make no sense and the moral compass points sideways.
In Defense of Crunch
Crunch-mode game development isn't good, but sometimes it happens for good reasons.
The Biggest Game Ever
How did this niche racing game make a gameworld so massive, and why is that a big deal?
What did web browsers look like 20 years ago, and what kind of crazy features did they have?