The atmosphere of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Blog Preface.

Hi. I've conceived a series of blogs in which I'm going to talk about about atmosphere in games, about elements that work for atmosphere and against it, and how it can be improved.

Quote from wikipedia.

Atmosphere is a concept in non-classical aesthetics denoting:- A subjective or social mood, mediated by the external environment.- an objective property of the environment, which can referred not only to an individual object, but also to the way in which that environment is assembled. This understanding of the atmosphere was advanced by Gernot Böhme, suggesting the reproducibility of of the atmosphere, that is, that it has the same effect on different people.

So, what can work for or against the atmosphere?

1. Visual.

What we see has to match the spirit of what we're playing. An example of a good visual is Zen World from Half-Life. We can imagine that aliens of different species can live in a world that looks the way the developers showed us. An example of of a bad visual is Fallout 3. There was a nuclear apocalypse in the world, not an eruption of a pit of with mud, and all those abandoned high-rises should have been inhabited a long time ago, and not just two or three people, but entire settlements.

The visuals are also affected by the animations. It is possible to mention weapon animations in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2019, but it is worth noting that the animations there were made by hand.

2. Audio accompaniment.

Yes, the wind should blow in the mountains. Yes, metal should jingle, cardboard should rustle, armor should clank, etc., etc. Sounds are one of those of the things that shape our perception of the world. That's what music and ambient. Jesper Küd, Jeremy Saul and Inon Zuhr - hats off, my respects.

3. Gameplay.

It's worth a digression here. This is a very broad and, more importantly, very subjective.

But there is one rule that is similar to the HOW we play has to be consistent with what's happening on screen. on the screen. A good example here would be Metal Gear Rising. We are told that our vibroclinic is capable of cutting metal, and sometimes we can run a mode where we can chop a model Into pieces.

A bad example is Shadow of War and Shadow of Mordor (but games in general are good). Transferring the combat system from Batman to a game where the sword is not a good solution.

4. Scenario and quests.

Here the rules have moved straight from cinematography. Set a conflict, make you look for a solution. But it's not just the main quest is not the only thing that affects the atmosphere. The atmosphere can also be affected by outside activities: both secondary quests and various mini-games.

"Fetch-and-grab" isn't to anyone's liking, but sometimes it can be beneficial. As an example, Kingdome Come: Deliverance. Social elevators in Middle Ages in action. Want to become a respected person? Be good enough to run around for a couple of years as an errand boy, and then you'll become a man. Here's another Another good example: Tyranny. The hand of justice Kairos is not supposed to solve the local problems of the villagers. an edict to pacify the rebels, that's our purview.

All of this can be summed up in one very succinct term: "Refusal of disbelief." There is a great deal of material about this term on the internet. In the context of a blog We can only say that the atmosphere either helps or hinders renunciation.

The first game I want to talk about is The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Chapter 1: Introduction

2007. The author, at the time still a student of approx. fifth grade, was bored with yet another fantasy rpg. Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, HOMM 3, Arcanum, The Witcher and other projects of the time were played to the hilt. ADSL Internet The Internet had no ADSL, so I had to find out about games or from friends who somehow or from rare magazines. Gameromania was still a luxury at the time. was still a luxury.

The only thing the author dreamed of was being able to slash orcs not in isometry, not like in the first Witch Doctor, but like in Enclave. But with a bigger world, A big world, leveling up, and a "click-strike" combat system. Morrowind was unheard of by that time. about Morrowind at the time.

After a while the author got a disc with some Some time later the author got a disc with some strange but interesting-looking game. It was Oblivion. And by the looks of it, the fourth installment in the series. Well, fourth is fourth, the author thought, and began the installation process.

After installing, configuring and starting, the author got to the main menu. The contour maps, which were enough at school, did not impress him at all. В Unlike the music. Epic music beckoned to go on an adventure. As it turned out to be the adventure of a lifetime...

Chapter 2: What to Praise for.

After a couple of hours of playing, the author realized it was literally his dream. Without the caravans, but not bad either.

Create your own hero from the proposed race? - check.

You're not constrained by class, and you can even create a hybrid of warrior and mage? - check.

Dozens of unique artifacts? - check.

You can even create your own? - Check.

Tons of quests? - check.

Hundreds of hours were spent on this game. After all, you had to finish all the guilds, find all the Aileid figurines, collect all the Daedric artifacts, the main quest... Oh, some other time. What quest, Lucien Lachance by the legs!

And magic? 100% reflection/chameleon? Do the Sigil stones give free enchantment? Can you break an enemy's gear to leave him in one piece of clothing? Suck all the stamina so the enemy falls down and can't get up? Is this Tamriel or Hogwarts?

And tons and tons of other stuff. The only thing missing for completeness one thing that was missing was Kraft.

What's the effect on the atmosphere here:

1. Visuals.

Visual isn't entirely (about that on), but definitely works on the atmosphere. Hundreds of pieces of equipment are distinguishable at a glance, as, by the way, are the monsters. The design of both the equipment and the monsters match the overall style of the half-tale. Exactly a half-tale. Unique The architecture of the cities, reflecting the essence of the inhabitants... or is it the other way around?

Oblivion has one of the most picturesque nature pictures. And what about the nights... Every vampire walk in the night was accompanied by Maser and Secunda.

I'd like to mention the races separately: the Kajites and The Argonians as Beastmen are too humanoid, but the Orcs are not bad, just like their patron Malakat, an alderman who came from... well, not the right place, where they're supposed to come from.

2. Audio accompaniment.

I'd like to say a special thank you to Jeremy Saul for the music. Jeremy Saul. In the cities and forests, the music brings a calmness that matches the to the general spirit of the game. This pastoral plain of the Shire is attacked by Sauron's army. Parallels with the works of Professor Tolkien are drawn very easily, which is why the author used the word "Half Tale."

A good contrast emerges in The Gates of Oblivion - there is almost no musical accompaniment, only the hum of the wind and occasional on of martial music. This creates the atmosphere of the wastelands, which the plan of Merunes Dagon is.

The fight music creates an effect of tension and anxiety, which is in stark contrast to the soothing and enchanting music in the peaceful moments.

3. Gameplay.

The weapons have a sense of weight - the heavy swings of the of the hammer is very different from the swift strokes of the dagger. The heavy and clumsy Daedrots behave differently than scamps - they try to crush They try to crush you with their weight, and by the looks of it, they weigh a lot. Scamps try to keep their distance and throw fireballs. Even in close combat, they don't try to pretend kung fu masters, but rather push with the shoulder.

The abundance of magic opens up a wide (Russian) field of experimentation. You've got summoning, elemental damage, and imposing vulnerability, and paralysis, and calming with rage. The same can be said about alchemy. But alchemy here also serves as a tool to make money, which for the atmosphere it's very good - you don't have to use all the stuff you've concocted yourself, because You can, pardon the pun, make a profit on it yourself.

Artifacts, while unique, are not defining pieces of equipment. They can be a serious help in different But they're more of a situational tool, because any sword at the first opportunity will be replaced by a gold stamp or umbra. However, the game doesn't forces you to use one, specific artifact, but provides choice.

4. Scenario and quests.

Let's start with the good stuff - Bethesda has really tried to make an adventure. Not a story about a very special character, but a an adventure. There's no escaping comparisons to Morrowind, which will continue to be found throughout the text. Exactly with. Morrowind - Skyrim is very much out of the style of the third and fourth parts.

In Morrowind you are a chosen one, but you have to prove it. Until you can't prove it, you're nothing

.

Oblivion is a very warm game where you don't feel like an outsider, you don't have the burden of being chosen - because the chosen one in in the story is not you. So you can do whatever you want - the story doesn't push you around. Martin is protected by blades, Merunes isn't in much of a hurry to make a full-blown invasion, and Mancar Camoran is in his own paradise "while on the chill, relaxing." The fact that major events have already happened without your influence plays into this - Quatch destroyed, the emperor killed, the amulet of kings stolen. The situation hints at you, saying, it would be nice to go and deal with it all, but as you can see, the threat isn't a very strong threat. Sometimes the guild quests have a much bigger effect on the situation than the main quest. The mage and fighter guilds tell stories about opposing factions, and the thieves' guild will send you back in time, and it's all much more interesting than a story about a bastard.

The storyline of the additions should be mentioned separately. The first one came out pretty average, but Shivering Islands gave a lot more cool stories. All the quests work for immersion in this crazy world.

Chapter 3: What to Scold For.

And there was no end to the author's joy... The first couple hundred hours. Because then he got acquainted with a whole bunch of other much more elaborate and interesting games.

1. Visuals.

Besides the already mentioned races, Oblivion has one very big problem. - The roundness of the models. The whole game feels like it's made up of all sorts of "inflated" stuff. This applies to everything - the characters, the equipment, the architecture.

Can you see the cutting edge? I don't see it either, but I do.

Compared to Morrowind. it looks like the other extreme - all of Morrowind was angular and unsightly. However, it's still a spectrum of the same style. From anxiety and uncomfortable to calm and warmth.

Also worth noting is the poor textures of the caves, forts and plan. Oblivion: it is very difficult not just to distinguish them from each other, but in general understand the navigation inside. The situation is slightly better with the Ayled ruins, but only because there are more different objects.

2. Audio accompaniment.

The sound design is very simple, so it's not at all memories. But this is not a minus, rather a lack of a plus.

3. Gameplay.

Only the laziest hasn't kicked the autoleveling and character editor. The author would like to point out another point. On any difficulty at high levels the player becomes just not interesting to participate in battles - all the progression and so happens leaps and bounds, and at high levels you meet a bandit in daedric armor. This Creates situations where even the strongest weapon of the enemy has to be cracked. And that's where the game provides the tools for your own breaking. Example: 100 % Chameleon and 100% physical damage reflection. Such things completely kill all interest in the game. And the fault of the developers is not that they have provided such tools, It's not their fault for providing such tools, it's their fault that the balance they've set up encourages you to avoid battles. Or to use the build without leveling up.

Another problem is the ubiquitous Oblivion Gate. It's boring, boring, boring, monotonous locations, still often confusing and with a questionable reward at the end.

4. Scenario and quests.

Only the main quest deserves censure. You don't empathize with it, you don't Worried about the characters, from that he is not interesting. Because the story is isolated from the player. This is not the player's story, but the story of the third person, at whom you act an errand boy. Everything personal in the story ends the moment you emerge from the sewers. All of your errands could have been completed by Baurus alone. That makes the lineup of the of the Shivering Islands supplement where you become the champion of Sheogorath.

Chapter 4. How to fix the minuses.

Part One, Practical.

Mods.

The most obvious, easiest option. They'll fix the models, make the characters prettier, and solve a few gameplay problems in places. В At one time, the author really liked the teleportation mod to the beginning of the dungeon - in Oblivion they Wasn't looped like in Skyrim, and you had to go back from the beginning to the end. If you want to play now - the game does The game still needs a facelift. Mods for models and textures will save eyes from pain, and balance and autoleveling mods will get rid of bandits in Daedric armor.

Otherwise, the game is pretty good in its vanilla execution.

And if you're a sophisticated Oblivion lore-head, there are plenty of Oblivion builds as well as modding guides. Everyone can build the Oblivion of their dreams.

Part Two, Theoretical.

The main quest needs a very serious reworking. The simplest option is to add a couple of personal quests from Martin in which you had to help him with a few matters unrelated to preparing for the ritual. Going back to Quatch to bury his friend or bring his personal belongings is a good quest that shows Martin not as an item for part of the ritual. And lo and behold, you're already bound to him by some personal history, you're no longer a courier.

A gate-closing quest at every town? That's too bad. Driving guards to show that you have to touch the Sigil stone? Yep. That needs to be cut it out completely. There are enough gates at two points - near Quatch at the beginning, near Bruma at the end. Optionally, leaving the gate near Chadinghall to save the Earl's son - is a good optional quest, but no more.

Conclusion: The elder scrolls IV: Oblivion has atmosphere of an unobtrusive adventure that has a little bit of everything. Atmosphere Oblivion is memorable, But not ingrained in the memory.

A rejection of disbelief occurs, but with a creak.

This is how you can characterize the entire game: "Good, but... "

Immersion was hampered by the balance and the main quest, otherwise the game does not violate its own atmosphere

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As a result, the evaluation (not reflecting the essence): 7 "STOP RIGHT THERE CRIMINAL SCUM" out of 10This is

my first blog, so I'm happy to wait from you feedback, comments and suggestions.

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