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It’s no secret that the guys at Bethesda Game Studios know how to craft top-of-the-line RPGs in massive worlds. They’re famous for The Elder Scrolls series, and on December 11, 2010, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was announced at the VGAs, and is set to release on November 11, 2011. While Oblivion was a fantastic game, I did have many gripes regarding the game, and this list is chock full of things I’d like to see changed.
More unique dungeons
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion had a large world, but the dungeons looked exactly the same. There were three major types of dungeons: caves, mines, and Ayleid ruins. Although the layouts of these dungeons looked different, from an aesthetic standpoint, they all looked the same. Dungeon diving can be tedious enough as it is, but throw in monotonous scenery and you’re bound to get bored of dungeon diving way earlier than you should. Fallout 3 improved upon this by giving each location its own story. While the buildings in Fallout 3 were largely monotonous, each had its own unique atmosphere and back story. It?s that kind of attention to detail that I hope Bethesda employs in The Elder Scrolls V, and I hope the dungeons look somewhat different as well.
More complex combat
Nothing in Oblivion was more annoying that sneaking up on someone, attacking them with a knife, and them surviving and attack you back. I would like to see a more fleshed-out combat system, complete with finishing moves. If I sneak up to someone unnoticed, I would like to be able to use my knife to slit their throat. If I knock someone onto the ground, I would like to be able to to finish them off by driving my sword into their chest or placing my hand up to their face and casting a fireball. To add to that, I would also love to be able to fight on horseback. Perhaps a jousting arena could also be added to the game. In addition, weapons like crossbows are welcome, as well as throwing weapons, including knives, spears, and small axes. It would also be great to see more complex spells. All of the attack spells were either on-touch spells or ranged blasts. There should be some unique spells, like a beam that paints the target for a lightning bolt to come down. Overall, Oblivion had incredibly shallow combat, and I would like Bethesda to improve upon that.
This is something that I think Fable did really well, and I would like to see it implemented in Skyrim. In Fable, you had a list of statistics about yourself that includes things such as number of children, number of times married, number of creatures killed, number of STDs contracted, etc. Oblivion had a similar sheet of statistics as well as a page showing all of the player’s guild rankings. I would like to be able to see comparisons between these stat sheets and those of my friends.
The animations in Oblivion were a little stiff. Okay, that?s an understatement. They were horrible. When talking to people, their bodies were inanimate and only their mouth moved. When you slashed your sword at an NPC, it would simply hit them and make noise, and they wouldn’t move at all. Skyrim needs better animations for their NPCs. When I slash a sword at someone, they shouldn’t simply stand there. When I speak to someone and they’re angry, they should show it in their body language. Fallout 3 allowed for hand movements, but that?s not enough. Skyrim should expand even more. Ideally, they should be a lot like Mass Effect’s conversations.
Region-specific damage and GORE!!!!
I?d like to see region-specific damage in the game. By that, I mean that if I slash someone in the leg, they should limp. If I hit them in the arm, they should drop whatever they?re holding. I think gore would also be a great addition. Obviously Bethesda is no stranger to over-the-top violence (Fallout 3 makes that evident). What?s a fantasy game where you can?t hack someone?s arm or leg off?
Fully interactive conversations
Bethesda needs to take a tip from BioWare on this one. When you talk to an NPC, you should see him express body language in addition to speaking. It would also be great if your character had a voice as well (you?d be able to pick during character customization) and could interrupt conversations with an action like in Mass Effect 2.
More than five voice actors
This was a major gripe I had with Oblivion. Bethesda literally picked only about two actors per gender per race. Perhaps they spent too much money on hiring Sean Bean and Patrick Stewart. Bethesda, if you did, in fact, hire only a few voice actors because you spent too much money on Sean Bean and Patrick Stewart, then here’s a tip for you: don’t hire famous actors again. I can live with not having a famous actor in my game. Really, it’s okay. No, seriously, I mean it. Don’t hire stars until you’ve hired an adequate number of voice actors.
Fallout: New Vegas captivated me with its hardcore mode, and that?s something that I think would translate well to Skyrim. You’d have to eat, drink, and sleep often in order to survive. In addition, I think things like temperature should come into play. If you’re going for a hike in the mountains, you should bundle up, because walking around in your underwear isn’t the healthiest thing to do.
The armor in Oblivion sucked. Almost all of it looked ugly. Hopefully Bethesda can take a hint from the modding community and design some better-looking armor. On top of that, why did the underwear look so bad in Oblivion? My character is presumably a grown adult above the age of 20, so why does their underwear look like a diaper? That need to be fixed as well.
Better-looking character models
Goddamn, did the characters look ugly in Oblivion! Whether it was constantly-pursed lips or bug-like eyes, almost every NPC had some physical deformity to them that made them almost unbearable to look at. Hopefully, with Skyrim running on a new engine (or at least a vastly upgraded version of Gamebryo), the character models will look better.
Various other additions
I’d like to see companions making an appearance in the game. Oblivion didn’t have many companions. It would also be great to see the companion wheel incorporated. M’aiq the Liar needs to make his third appearance in Skyrim. He was one of the most memorable NPCs from both Morrowind and Oblivion. In addition to vampirism, lycanthropy needs to return to the game. Finally, I would like to see Jeremy Soule return to do the soundtrack (which he most likely will).
Now this may seem like a long article full of Oblivion-bashing, but I actually loved the game to death. I’d give it a perfect 10, and while the game itself wasn’t perfect, it was fun enough that I was able to overlook its numerous technical flaws. Hopefully Bethesda will be able to implement at least a few of these features and make Skyrim even better than Oblivion. 11/11/11 can’t come soon enough.