Right is right and fair is fair, and it’s only honest to hang my head and confess that I’m pretty seriously hooked on Oblivion. (That and David Hackett Fischer’s ‘Albion’s Seed’)

To some extent, I think it’s possible to see Morrowind as a gamble– Morrowind was a move away from the leetness of Daggerfall, and a bid for a more mainstream audience. I think you have to see Oblivion as the payoff.

OB’s stealth system feels nice. A few kinds of besties ragdoll really nicely when you snipe them (skeletons being my personal favorite). Stealth in Morrowind was a joke– immersion-breaking, for one, and also just plain broken. Today I stalked some deer in the Colovian Highlands (which feels a little too real, actually), and also circled around behind and killed a bandit (ditto).

Not to say that it’s flawless, though. For one, it’s weird to have a bow as a stealth weapon– the point has been made before, but crossbows make a lot more sense. And I don’t think stealth attacks really work without localized damage. In the selfsame Colovian Highlands I was clearing out an abandoned mine and I managed to take out not one but two goblins by shooting each in the arm. Hopefully at some point in the TES future, there will be localized damage, crossbows, and stealth-worthy blades (daggers, shortswords, &c.). (This doesn’t seem to be the trend, but one can always hope)

Thus far the vast majority of my impressions of OB have been positive. Around sunset I ran into another bandit on the road who I dispatched without much trouble. I pressed on further West as the day darkened; it seems weird to say, but it felt _lonely_.


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