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Late Ass Review: Lord of the Rings and The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion

May 30, 2011

This is about as late as a weekly review can be, but I do have an excuse. What happened was, my grandmother got sick this week and I had to spend a couple of nights with her, just in case she had to be taken to the hospital in the middle of the night. So, I spent Wednesday and Friday night up there, Thursday night I managed to get Part 4 of Battlefield Vietnam captured and let it render overnight, and now I finally have the drive to get this review done. So, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Let me start by saying that this plot synopsis will in no way be an in-depth look, because I’d be here typing for hours. The Dark Lord Sauron creates the enchanted One Ring, imbued with his own life force, in order to rule over Middle Earth. He is separated from the ring in a battle with a Human-Elf alliance, and it is lost in a river after the elf carrying it is ambushed by orcs. It is later (much, much later) picked up by Gollum, who is…uh…Gollum. He claims it for centuries until is it found by the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

And here’s where the synopsis compression kicks in. Bilbo leaves the ring to his nephew Frodo, while wizard Gandalf the Grey travels to Minas Tirith to learn about Bilbo’s magic ring, discovering it is really Sauron’s One Ring. Gandalf is imprisoned by Saruman the White, who wants the One Ring for himself. Sam and Frodo eventually reunite with Gandalf after his escape, and meet up with the human warriors Aragorn and Boromir, elven archer and scout Legolas, dwarven warrior Gimli, and fellow hobbits Merry and Pippin, forming the titular Fellowship.

All in all, I thought the movie was good. The storyline is well thought through, even if I did have to pause a couple of times to catch up, the visuals are absolutely brilliant, and the ensemble cast is amazing in their respective roles. If the movie has a fault, it’s the fact that the theatrical version in two minutes short of three hours. And that is an incredibly long time to sit in front of a screen. And in that time, they pretty much just get the gang together. At the end of the movie, they are setting off for Mordor, so in reality, the story takes nine hours to tell.

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Comparatively, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has a compact story, albeit one that takes longer to tell. Emperor Uriel Septim VII has been assassinated by agents of Mehrunes Dagon, the demonic prince of the netherworld Oblivion. Along the way, you become celebrated for leading the retaking of the city of Kvatch from evil, defending Bravil from the Oblivion Siege Engine, and leading Prince Martin Septim to the final climactic battle with Mehrunes Dagon, which you get to watch and not play any active part in.

In addition to the main story line, there are four guilds to master, arena battles to become champion in, dozens of jobs for demonic favor, and countless ancient ruins, caves, and abandoned mines to plunder.

I found the game very enjoyable. It’s about thirty hours for the main quest, and about five to ten for each of the guilds and the arena, and that’s if you don’t get distracted by the scenery porn that is the world of Tamriel. There’s everything from mountains to swamps and you can spend days of real time walking through the woods, and I know that because I’ve done it. There are areas if the world where the sheer beauty of it can be distracting, and even though it’s kind of an older game, I highly recommend it.

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