Five Best JRPG’s

-by Dylan DiBona

I know I hadn’t quite advertised it heavily, but I did a celebration this month called “JRPG JULY” where I wrote such posts like:

So You Want to Get Into Persona?

Tales of Symphonia Review

Dragon Quest V and Perfection

So You Want to Get Into Kingdom Hearts?

The month was a moderate success and I was happy to do it. Towards the latter half I felt my inspiration going down, but I figured there was only one real way to end JRPG JULY; by discussing the very best of the genre.

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT LIKE FINAL FANTASY AND I HAVEN’T PLAYED MANY PS1 JRPGs. THIS WON’T BE YOUR TYPICAL LIST. ENJOY!

 

5. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Is “cult classic” even an appropriate title anymore? In a rare as hell moment, two powerhouse video game companies (Nintendo and Square Enix) teamed up for one amazing JRPG. Instead of the typical dramatic story of any game in the genre, Super Mario RPG relied on comedy and witty dialogue.

Image result for Super Mario RPG

For what I believe was the first time ever, players were able to explore the Mushroom Kingdom in a non-platformer fashion. Everything from its isometric graphics and iconic music stand out as top notch presentation. The “rhythm” based mechanics in battle make for more engaging battles as well. This is a game that should be experienced by any Nintendo fan.

Come for the: Gameplay

Stay for the: Humor

 

4. The World Ends With You

Where is my sequel?! Now this is still a cult classic. The World Ends With You takes you through the popping Japanese city of Shibuya as you are Neku Sakuraba, an antisocial teenager. Neku is thrust into a “game” with other teenagers where he must perform certain takes or face “erasure”. What unfolds is the best Nintendo DS game there is.

Image result for the world ends with you

I haven’t replayed it in forever, so maybe it’s just a game that fourteen year old me adores, but The World Ends With You is special. By pushing buttons to control the top party member and tapping the screen to control the bottom, the battles get to be hectic but pulse pounding.

Come for the: Story

Stay for the: Story and gameplay

 

3. Dragon Quest VIII

So I actually have a bit of an ugly history with this game. I picked up the original version for PlayStation 2 a few years ago, but back then I despised random encounters. After hearing that the 3DS version got rid of random encounters I was interested again. Today I don’t mind random encounters, as long as the encounter rate isn’t every two seconds and there’s a way to lower it a la a Repel in Pokemon. But again after trying it for 3DS I didn’t beat it. Why? I didn’t know what Dragon Quest was.

Image result for Dragon Quest VIII

Dragon Quest is all about tradition. Things like the gold helmeted macho men seemed weird to me. But after going back to DQI on my phone, and then IV and V; I realized what this series was about. When I jumped back into DQVII after those 2D games I felt like a kid in 1996 playing Ocarina of Time for the first time ever. Featuring possibly the best designs from Akira Toriyama, the series’ pinnacle of music (competes with III) and a world full of color and excitement, Dragon Quest VII is nothing to ignore.

Come for the: Gameplay

Stay for the:  Gameplay and characters

 

2. Persona 5

Okay now this is painstakingly difficult to put Persona 5 at number two, it could actually very well take the number one spot for gripping me like no other game had in quite some time. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; Persona is playable anime and anime is addictive with its characters and story. There’s nothing like going back to high school (this time it doesn’t suck) and making friends, girlfriends and saving the world!

Image result for persona 5

It may sound cheesy and that’s because it is! But seriously, just like with Persona 4 we get one of the best stories in video games and an amazing world filled with great characters. I just can’t describe eloquently enough how much this game means to me. Here is my review for more details.

Come for the: Story

Stay for the: Finding the best girlfriend, trying to max out all relationships because the characters mean the world to you and collecting all Personas because of how cool and strong they are and-

 

1. Dragon Quest V

As much as I want to put Persona 5 in this spot for tugging at my heart strings, Dragon Quest V pulled off a combination of narrative and gameplay that I don’t think Persona quite did. Persona is amazing, but after a while you get a bit tired of pulling All-Out attacks. There also comes a point where the gameplay feels like almost like  chore when compared to  hanging out with your in-game friends. Dragon Quest V was a perfect see-saw of story and gameplay. Never did a battle take too long, never did a story event drag on. This is classic turn-based JRPG to its finest.

Image result for dragon quest v

You get moments where you can capture and fight alongside monsters, but also moments where you get humans as party members which adds a sense of variety and replay-ability. You get to pick a wife (probably one of the things I enjoy too much in video games) and explore a giant world. What more is there to want? I did safe after all that is the second video game I would consider perfect. An absolute gem.

Come for the: Gameplay

Stay for the: Gameplay and story


And there you have my personal definitive list of the best JRPGs! Do you guys like these games as well? Do you have your own list? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply! Thank you for joining me for JRPG JULY and I hope you stick with me in August for my “Month of Less“.

Advertisements

Rewarding JRPGs/Video Games

-by Dylan DiBona

Leveling up, buying new gear and using new spells; it’s been done a million times, why are people like me in love with such an obvious cycle?


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m addicted to the sense of progression. Whether it’s turning each page in a book, writing another line in a blog or personal project or even gaining another level in a JRPG, the constant sensation of moving forward is enough motivation for me to see something to the end.

When I played Dragon Quest I, it was a unique experience for having solo fights and no party members. I distinctly remember a monster called Green Dragon. The Green Dragon destroyed me every time I encountered him. After about three or four levels and some new gear, the Green Dragon was easily wiped away. How can there be a better feeling in video games? It’s like finally sliding down that flagpole at the end of a tough Mario level. 

Sometimes JRPGs like any genre can be obnoxiously difficult and require an unfair amount of grinding. When it’s clear that developers didn’t balance their game, it usually deters me from wanting to finish their game. If they didn’t care enough to balance their game, why should I care enough to play it? 

Perhaps this all boils down to the obvious idea that an artist should care about their art, but have you guys ever played an unrewarding video game? One where even the solutions don’t seem to make much sense? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply. I apologize for the short post today, but JRPG July will end with a bang!

No Video Games For August (Month of Less)

– Dylan DiBona

Playing video games has been a part of most of my existence. Since I first had full control over my motor skills, I wanted to play games and I usually have almost every day since then. Around the age of 14 I took about two weeks off from videos games because for some reason I cared that my image was the “kid who always plays games”. Now I don’t care, I embrace it.

Now I’m not blaming video games or anything, but I have some other things I need to accomplish. I want to see how my life would be if I “switched” passions and pursuits. Instead of gaming maybe an hour or two every day and more on my weekends, switch to reading, writing and exercise. For the month of August 2017 I will go without gaming and try to hit the following goals:

1. Hit 185 pounds and gain a more muscular appearance.

2. Read two books.

3. Finish writing and editing my own book.

If I can accomplish these three things then the future will be a brighter one. I will post  updates to inform and encourage.

Don’t worry, there will still be blogs.

Wish me luck guys!

Dragon Quest II and III Thoughts

-by Dylan DiBona

I’ve been playing games since I could first say “I want that” (“that” being a PlayStation 2). It’s not an easy task to become one of my favorite franchises, but that’s exactly what Yuji Hori’s Dragon Quest did. While the series may not change too much between games, it’s the sense of tradition and reliance that makes the franchise feel so quality tight. Lately I’ve been playing one infamous and one famous game in the series. Because I have some specific plans in August (more on that soon), I probably won’t be beating these games anytime soon, but as a somewhat knowledgeable fan I have some opinions I want to get out.

DRAGON QUEST II


Like most NES sequels, Dragon Quest II is a bit of a black sheep. But can you blame the poor game? The series didn’t have its famous tradition yet!

Unfortunately due to an inexperienced team and time constraints, Dragon Quest II is infamously difficult in the latter half because of a lack of balancing from the developers.

I picked it up on iOS today despite all the claims of difficulty and lack of knowledge on where to go; I told myself I wouldn’t get lost! And wouldn’t you know, I was lost within the first hour. The encounter rates are a little high, but everything else is pure Dragon Quest. Like I said before, it may take me a while but I will beat it someday!

DRAGON QUEST III


Only three games in the series compete for the title of “best”; DQ III, DQ V and DQ VIII.

My adoration of V was so strong I consider it one of two perfect video game. For my birthday I decided to treat myself to a long sought Game Boy Color and a copy of DQIII since I’ve heard great things about the handheld version.

The music is fantastic, story is interesting and I love the idea of custom party members like in Final Fantasy I. Unfortunately the hardware I’m playing in is halting my adoration; man I want a backlight! A great game, I will certainly beat it soon. 

If you’re wondering which one is better so far, III hands down.

Sorry for the short post today guys! Work has got me busy!

Does the Gaming Market Need More Infinite Games?

-by Dylan DiBona

We’re used to the traditional forms of success in our market; if a product sales meet or surpass expectations, a sequel will arise. It was a way of telling fans “Thanks, here’s some more!” As time went on, consumers berated the entertainment market for endless sequels, spin-offs and reboots; for a decent period of time, that seemed to be all we had. Other than interactivity, gaming has one unique feature that other forms of entertainment do not, the ability to update a product.

There are games out in the market in which their respective developers continuously add more to. For a lack of a better term, let’s call these “Infinite” games. Of course the forefather of infinite games in today’s market is Minecraft by Mojang.

Image result for minecraft

While I’m not a player of present-day Minecraft, I must applaud Mojang for their nonstop dedication to their smash hit. The team had made a literally endless game, and with all the updates and new content, I’m pretty certain that some people would be continuously entertained if Minecraft was the only video game they could play in their lives.

I’d like to know how Minecraft is affecting Mojang today. Obviously they’re financially successful, but are they bored of the same game? Are they scared to move on? Why won’t they make a sequel? We’re going to be focusing on the last question today.

If you took the vanilla version of Minecraft and compared it to today’s version, they could be four or five sequels apart in terms of content. Maybe Mojang has a few masterminds in its offices that planned to have one massive market surrounding a single product. This inspires other games like the critical flop No Man’s Sky and my personal darling, Stardew Valley. Made by only one man, Stardew Valley has grown to have its own big market as well, people were in love with the game so much when it came out, that they bought extra copies for people who couldn’t afford it at the time.

Image result for stardew valley

This makes me think of the Minecraft community, a group of people just building, discovering and imagining. Both of these communities (and even the genuine fans of No Man’s Sky) are positive influences, and I can’t help but feel that it’s a direct cause from these infinite games. It’s nice to not have to worry about buying a new sequel every year, to be able to have a single favorite video game that keeps introducing new things.

While the gaming market may not be stimulated by annual sequels because of these infinite games, it makes consumers happy; which at the end of the day will have a positive influence on both community and sales. Part of me does want to see Mojang move on or just release a Minecraft 2, but I’m fine with how things are now.


So what do you guys think about infinite games? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply! As always, thanks for reading!

Tales of Symphonia Review [GameCube]

-by Dylan DiBona

As a young kid, my father heavily encouraged GameStop’s trading in old games policy. I would play a game for a week or two and if I didn’t like it, I’d trade it away for a new game. It was a stupid thing to do in hindsight, as I’ve been re-buying some old classics slowly in the past few years. I can’t remember for how long, but I’m certain I owned Tales of Symphonia, a game I played on the Wii for probably no more than five hours. I loved the sequel Dawn of the New World (which oddly enough is considered terrible, I have to revisit it!) so much that I beat it.

Needless to say, the original Symphonia didn’t do it for me and I traded it away. Lately I’ve been on a JRPG binge and in an attempt to dust off my GameCube, I decided to pick up Tales of Symphonia once again. Was the elementary school version of me right the first time, or did I unknowingly trade in a classic adventure?

Image result for tales of symphonia

When it’s all boiled down, the Tales of… series is known for two main things: it’s anime-like characters and unique battle system. It’s always been a bit of a third or fourth ranking JRPG series, underneath the behemoths of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, but Tales of Symphonia is the game that put the series on the radar, especially in the West. Like I said in my GameCube Retrospective, whenever a third-party exclusive came to the system, it must’ve felt like magic and Symphonia is no exception. Inside the two miniature discs hold a world full of colors and excitement.

Lloyd Irving is a young man living in the village Iselia with his best friends Collette and Genis. Since birth, Collette has been known to be The Chosen. The Chosen must go on a quest to unlock four seals and bring mana back to the world of Sylvarant every few years. Through a series of messed up events, Lloyd and Genis end up accompanying Collette on her journey to renew the world, only to experience numerous unexpected plot twists along the route.

Usually when people revisit the plot of Symphonia they cite it as clichě, but instead I found the game to be flirting with the idea of being clichěYeah you’re saving the world but it’s more complex than that, and with a huge revelation around the ten hour mark, the whole game changes. It’s kind of like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past where you may think the game is over once you slay Agahnim, but really it’s just starting. In my experience, the characters were quite enjoyable and not susceptible to classic anime tropes. I can easily see why GameCube lovers and even just JRPG lovers remember this cast of characters so well. Almost every character save maybe one is jammed into my brain and will be for quite some time.

Before, I mentioned a unique battle system which would be called the “Linear Motion Battle System”. This style of gameplay keeps the action going 24/7 on the battlefield; allies are controlled by AI but can be given direct commands, and Lloyd is controlled by the player. With the control stick and A/B buttons, the player can unleash physical and magical combinations. It feels almost like a 2D fighting game, mixed with some action-adventure. I completely forgot until the first fight that Symphonia wasn’t turned-based, and it was a huge breath of fresh air. Focusing on Lloyd’s moves and trusting my good AI controlled allies made for a refreshing feeling during battles.

My only critique with the battling system is that AI companions don’t use items, which I understand, but I was almost constantly having to open up menus and spam certain items to keep everybody’s stats up or even alive.

Image result for tales of symphonia

One of my absolute favorite things in JRPGs is the ability to bond with your comrades outside of battle. Sadly not many games do this, but Tales of Symphonia does. The game offers “skits” which are non-voice acted conversations that can be skipped 95% of the time. These skits will often be comedic but may sometimes lead to revelations of character backgrounds and even some deep moments. They don’t give any rewards but the conversations themselves feel like rewards for progressing.

In the Tales of… games, there is a system called “Titles” if a player goes through a certain experience, they gain a title. By equipping this title some of their stats may go up. So for example if Lloyd levels up high enough he may be able to equip the “Master Swordsman” title for a boost of Attack and Defense.

Another aspect I loved were the bite sized dungeons. Dungeons could be completed in about 20-30 minutes. They usually had one main puzzle with enemies swarming the halls.

So we have a unique and fun battle system, a great cast of characters which you can bond with and small dungeons. where’s the negatives?

I have to be honest and say I didn’t care about the story of Symphonia, only the characters. Some events felt unnecessary and dragged out what could have been a 25 hour game into a 35 hour game. Certain dungeon puzzles felt obscure and had no hints given to the player, one in particular I spent almost two hours on and finally gave up by looking for the answer online. And finally the gigantic overworld was pretty empty; no hidden chests or items, just monsters and landscapes.

Tales of Symphonia is a fine game.

It almost feels like a guilty pleasure game to me with it’s anime art style and goofy characters, but I love those aspects. This is one of those few JRPGs I’ve heard nothing but nostalgia for and luckily it’s not misplaced I have a great time playing through this GameCube classic.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Confused about my review scale? Click here.

So there you have it! Does anybody here have a favorite Tales of… game? Do you like Symphonia? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply!

How Persona 5 Ruined Persona 3 for Me

-by Dylan DiBona

Not much compares to the high I got from binging Persona 5 for six or seven hours a day. I had no job, enough money to live and a PlayStation 4 connected to a nice television. I was in love with the game; everything from the aesthetics and gameplay just did it for me. After finishing it came the inevitable emptiness and existential ennui. But wait, everybody online praises Persona 3; some people even prefer the dark tone of 3 when compared to 5! I thought I had another gem on my hands, and maybe I do but it’s rough by today’s standards.

Image result for persona 3

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 is an interesting game solely for the reason of its influence on later Persona games. Things like “Social-Links” became a thing and soon the series felt like playable anime. I give credit to Persona 3 for this and also for still being somewhat unique for its tone.

I read somewhere that the brighter and much yellower sequel Persona 4 was designed in such a way to act as an opposite for the dark and suicidal themes of Persona 3. If this is true, I don’t know; but the third entry is a dark blue, jazz-pop filled bag of creepiness. I’m all down for something as different as that, but what really hurts this particular game is it’s sequels Persona 4 and 5.

 

Persona 4 is where things got a bit more cheery. Sure you were solving a murder case, but your friends were sillier, had more of an “anime-ness” to them and a good amount of energy. Same with 5 which is all about the colors and explosive pop of powerful characters. Nobody in my two and a half hours of Persona 3 even looked as interesting as somebody from the latter two games. I know, that amount of time is absolutely nothing for these types of games, but I can’t lie and say it didn’t discourage me.

Even worse are the mechanics. I was shocked to find out that in Persona 3 you can’t give commands to your teammates in battle (only yourself), leaving you with 1/4th the amount of gameplay of almost any other JRPG. I don’t understand this design choice, and I especially don’t understand not being able to shut it off.

I would be able to power through any less than exciting characters, but such a gameplay flaw? I can’t, not for 70-100 hours. Persona 5 is one of those examples of a new entry in a series doing everything almost flawlessly, that I just didn’t care enough to play it’s predecessor. It’s a shame honestly.


Have any of you guys had a similar experience? Sometimes sequels completely ruin original works! Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply. Sorry for the short post today. As always, thanks for reading and have a good weekend!

My New Book Themed YouTube Channel!

-by Dylan DiBona

Hey guys! The long time readers may recall a few book or manga reviews I wrote up here on this page. I know that these types of posts don’t really fit with the theme of gaming, so I decided to start up a YouTube channel surrounding the idea of written entertainment.

I will cover novels of any type and any manga or comics that I come across. Here’s the first video:


Let me know what you guys think! If you’re not a reader of books but even have a slight interest in it, I think this is for you as well! As always, thanks for reading.

What Are Your Thoughts on Grinding?

-by Dylan DiBona

A simple roadblock often happens in JRPGs and RPGs alike; you fight your way through the small baddies and finally come across a boss, and when you fight the boss you get absolutely wrecked. So what is a simple fix? Go back and kill more minions until you level up a few times! For some, this is boring and repetitive, but for others this is a way of getting more playtime out of their games. This concept is “grinding”, but is it a bad thing?

Image result for Persona 4

Persona 4, a game I adore was a necessary grindfest at times

My opinion on grinding is kind of like a see-saw; some days I accept and even like the concept while others I despise it like I always have. I’ll never forget having a discussion with a high-school acquaintance about Pokémon when emulators on iPhones became a big deal. It went something like this (The non-bold text is me):

“I bet you’re the type of guy who tries to avoid battles.”

“They’re annoying! They break the flow of the game.”

“Battles are the game!”

It’s such a simple concept but it’s true. I’ve never really heard anybody praise JRPG overworlds; those compliments are usually saved for 3D platformers and Zelda games. The overworld and towns are merely a point of conveyance and comfort to the player. Nobody says “I can’t wait to pick up Final Fantasy VI to explore the world!” Sure, exploring is a beautiful and essential part of the package, but it’s the new party members and abilities that are the meat of the game. Grinding does break the flow of narrative, but is it a sign of an unbalanced game?

JRPGs are usually all about the numbers so let’s keep with that trend. If you’re exploring a dungeon and the enemies are all about level 5 but the boss is level 10, that isn’t too bad. In fact it’s more than likely that the developers intended for you to spend some extra time killing monsters and gaining new abilities. But if said level 5 weaklings are accompanied by a level 16 boss, then something is wrong. There’s too much of a gap between numbers and therefore abilities. A boss should never obliterate your party in seconds; instead they should seem just slightly out of your reach but possible with some training.

Image result for dragon quest 2

Due to budget and time constraints, the original NES version of Dragon Quest II is unbelievably unbalanced towards the end.

The quicker games like Chrono Trigger don’t require  any grinding at all unless you’re strategically avoiding enemies on the field. For some, this is a point of praise because this means that Chrono Trigger is streamlined and almost deliberately designed with every step. This is the same genre that once had extremely hard to find directions, so add on some necessary grinding and you may have yourself an obnoxious experience.


So what do you guys think about grinding? Let me know down below and I’ll do my best to reply! As always, thanks for reading.

The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion VS Skyrim

-by Dylan DiBona

Welcome back everybody to Versus. In case the premise isn’t obvious from the start: in Versus, I will pit two video games against each other and try to determine which is better. I’m going to try and avoid things like which game I personally enjoyed more during my analysis. One duo of games I’m always comparing are the fourth and fifth entries in the popular open world fantasy series, The Elder Scrolls. The fourth entry, Oblivion, was praised for (at the time) great graphics, seemingly endless world and its blend of RPG and Action-Adventure. The fifth entry, Skyrim, was loved for all the same reasons but also for its new character classes, combat mechanics and setting. Now, before I start comparing, I’d like to tell you the five categories I’ll be grading on (which are up for change depending on genre or series):

Gameplay|World|Side-Quests|Aesthetic|Lasting Appeal

These five aspects are the DNA of The Elder Scrolls; if any single of these listed items was lacking in a new release, you better believe you’d hear about it in all the reviews. Bethesda is trusted by consumers to give them games filled with imagination and dozens of hours of possibilities; but which world hit harder?


|Gameplay|

The Elder Scrolls are a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to gameplay; there are some people (like me), who love the games but realize the shallowness of its mechanics. The reason I have trouble going back to Oblivion is because its antiquated ideas. You can’t run, you can’t level up unless you go to sleep and combat is simply pressing or holding the RT button to swing a weapon. It’s not exciting but it did the job in 2006, and for the more easily pleased people, it does the job now.

Classes are determined by your birth sign in the beginning of the game. Each Class will give you some boosts in certain stats. Depending on the Race you choose you can also get special abilities, the Argonians for example can breath underwater, while the Khajiit are incredibly quiet and sneaky. Again, basic but it does enough. One little tidbit I did enjoy in Oblivion that you cannot do in Skyrim is being able to equip a blade and a weapon in one hand. It’s pretty enjoyable spitting fire out of your right hand and then using it to swing a blade.

Image result for oblivion game steam

Skyrim is one of those childhood games that I was so unbelievably excited for, and when I go back to it today, I say to myself “This is okay”. It’s only when you compare it to its predecessors does Skyrim seem impressive. Unfortunately the spell/weapon combo on one hand is gone, but so are the days of no sprinting and the days of choosing a Class at the beginning of the game.

Skyrim uses a skill-tree, which allows the player to craft their character as their questing goes on. Have you been focusing on quests that primarily require sneaking? Then start putting points into the “Thief” Class. Leveling up luckily happens while you’re out in the world and doesn’t require a silly nights rest in a bed. Combat is still as basic as it gets, but with new spells and weapons, things feel fresher. The new Dragon Shout mechanic allows the player to hold RB as their character screams powerful spell-like abilities The addition of Dragon Shouts is one of the best things about the fifth entry; the only negative being that you have to scope the colossal world for all three words of them, which isn’t very fun.

A lot of Skyrim’s ideas are basic by today’s standards, but luckily they hit consoles at the right time. It didn’t fix everything, but as a sequel it improved lots of fault aspects of its predecessor. Skyrim wins.

Oblivion: 0 | Skyrim: 1


|World|

This is where things get tricky and more in tune with personal preference. Let’s just pretend that both games have the same level of graphical impressiveness. Oblivion features a classic fantasy world with green plains, forests, lakes, torn down fortresses and caves. The world screamed “explore me” because you never knew what this sense of variety could throw at you. Dungeons would be dark and creepy like the picture above, but the outside would toss a bunch of colors at you. Exploring Oblivion is the very best part of the game.

Skyrim on the other hand, is absolutely monotone. Mountains on top of mountains with snow and more snow; dungeons all feature the same look and vibe. It’s not to say that Skyrim doesn’t also have forests, rivers and whatnot, but the gray filter on top of everything took some of the impact away. Villages feel the same, the only variety is in the larger castle towns. It feels like Skyrim stepped it up in every way but the open world itself. If we could’ve had Skyrim mechanics and graphics with Oblivion, the game would’ve been twice as good.

Oblivion: 1 | Skyrim: 1


|Side-Quests|

My friend would come to my house after school and ask me “Hey are you going to play Oblivion?” He wanted to watch; he was fascinated by my virtual travels and the interesting quests I chose to do. In the fourth entry, you can entertain yourself in a million ways; you can rise to the top in the arena, join different schools of magic, and even jump inside a painting to save a lost artist!

Fun Fact: Not only is the painting side-quest my favorite in the game, but the lost artist is named Rythe. I thought Rythe was such a cool name that I always use it when naming my Hero in Dragon Quest games.

The league of assassins known as the Dark Brotherhood will contact you during your sleep if you’ve decided to kill an innocent person. The quests with this guild are some of the most unique in the game, one requires you to sneak around and drop a wall-mounted deer head on somebody, another requires you to be the murderer in a And Then There Were None situation. To jump to the point, Oblivion has some beautifully creative side-quests.

Image result for skyrim dark brotherhood

The Dark Brotherhood in Skyrim disappointed me when compared to Oblivion.

Skyrim is a bit of old and new with its questing. You do get the shallow and boring fetch quests like “Get 10 Mammoth Horns” which plague today’s games, but you do also get the more interesting lore building journeys as well. Becoming a vampire is much more rewarding and fun than in Oblivion, there’s a quest where you have to overthrow a conspiracy in the kingdom, and one where you wake up after a long night drinking and have to trace your steps! My favorite side-quest isn’t even technically listed as a side-quest; if you explore a certain forest you’ll find a nice old lady sitting outside her cabin, go inside the cabin and you’ll find a letter revealing she’s an evil witch and she will then attempt to kill you.

I can’t help but feel like Skyrim’s monotone colors and themes work against it in the side-quest area. Everything feels a bit darker and more gory, there’s nothing that matched jumping into that colorful world of paint in Oblivion. On top of that, the franchise staple of an arena was taken away in this game. Skyrim doesn’t do a bad job at giving the player interesting side-quests, but I feel Oblivion did it better just by a small margin.

Oblivion: 2|Skyrim:1


|Aesthetic|

How do you determine aesthetic in entertainment? Is it how attractive something is to the eye? Or is it how proud a work of art is to present its style?

Oblivion is not a very attractive game by today’s standards; it’s the colors and peaceful music that entices players that go back to it today. As I said before, the world is wonderful and feels perfectly tuned to fantasy. During the gameplay, Oblivion has a strong presentation. The menus are where Oblivion is lacking, they are clunky and there’s almost too many.

Skyrim is guilty of similarly plentiful and annoying menus, but it’s a little bit better here. There’s a very cold and gray theme to the world, which isn’t to my tastes anymore but by no means makes it bad. Dungeons are dark and grimy, mountains are covered with snow and forests are dirty and green.

Both games wear their themes proudly, and while I personally prefer Oblivions world, Skyrim has things like a chorus chanting every time you level up, a skill tree that looks like the cosmos, and really gets to you with all the snow.

Oblivion: 2 | Skyrim: 2


|Lasting Appeal|

It’s fair and simple to say that when it comes to The Elder Scrolls games, lasting appeal is purely dependent on number of quests and size of world available. But not only would that automatically give the fifth entry a win; I think lasting appeal means something a bit more. Think about it, a game can appeal to us before it even comes out and we see it online in articles, it jams itself into our brains. Lasting appeal is the opposite; when a game stays attractive to us during playtime and after. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with both Oblivion and Skyrim, but when I look back, it’s Oblivion I see first.

Not only can Oblivion last you hundreds of hours, it’s filled with little quirks like the funny facial animations, the troll who commits suicide, the aforementioned painting world and an endless array of silliness. Heck, in the main story you basically go to Hell itself, that’s way more memorable than simply fighting dragons. Bethesda may be against giving Morrowind an HD treatment, but I truly hope Oblivion will see it one day, because it’s a game I’ll never forget.

Oblivion: 3| Skyrim: 2

It may be controversial, but I did indeed say Skyrim is mechanically and aesthetically the better game; Oblivion just has something for its genre that Skyrim does not, an unyielding sense of charm.


So Elder Scrolls fans, how do you feel about my opinions on these categories? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply! As always, thanks for reading.