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Thinking Out Loud

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Oblivion... A nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there

(finally looks up from playing the new Oblivion CRPG from Bethesda to log onto his blog)

Hmm? Huh? If I didn't need to eat or go to the bathroom, I probably would be playing Oblivion 24/7... It's pretty addictive.

As is my usual CRPG modus operandi, though, I've created at least 4 different race/class combos, run them through the tutorial and a bit of exploration, then deleted them. I'm overwhelmed by the number of options and types of possible gameplay -- I can't decide what sort of character I'd enjoy playing the most. It's certainly going to be a different sort than my tabletop RPG tastes, given the limitations of the interface, etc.

The graphics are gorgeous, but I had to turn textures and detail down considerably (just up from the lowest end possible). I've got a 2.5 GHz PIV processor, 1 GB of RAM and a Radeon 9700 256 MB video card and the game is still sluggish -- especially when facing multiple opponents, or for some of the high end special effects (when these certain bad guys die, they explode out in this rippling warp effect, which drops me to literally 5 fps or so).

Also, the controls are horrible... I'm so used to World of Warcraft and other first person shooters that I was hoping I could configure the controls to mimic what I was comfortable with -- but no such luck. Even though you can remap some of the controls, not all of them are mappable, and there are horrible few available. For example, there is no "rotate view" option. You can sidestep left or right, but not pivot/rotate -- that can only be done via Mouselook. Grrrr.

And instead of having 6 trays of 12 mappable buttons/hotkeys like in World of Warcraft for commonly accessed spells or items, you get 8 -- that's it. By the time you're done with the tutorial, you'll already have 12 or more items you'll want quick access to (torch/shield to swap out, several potions, a few spells) which you just can't do. Very frustrating.

But despite these quirks, I'm still enamored, and see myself being sucked in for quite some time. These things keep it from initially blowing me away like World of Warcraft did, or even Sacred or Neverwinter Nights, but the promise of what lies beyond these issues is far too tempting to let that stand in my way.

2 Comments:

  • Your computer is 'almost' good enough to run the game well in medium settings. I have a 3ghz Athlon XP and a Radeon 9800 pro, and see no slowdown at all. I'd guess that a $130 video card upgrade to a X1600 would make the slowdown go away, and probably let you run the game on high.

    By Blogger hibikir, at 7:47 AM  

  • Not being able to turn left, turn right instead of sliding left, sliding right made me put the game aside for later. It's way too annoying to have to play using both hands all the time, and it messes up my reflexes in playing WoW. I'll get back to it sometime, however, since what part of the game I did play was gripping.

    By Blogger ZipZero, at 12:26 AM  

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