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Oblivion Expansion

Shivering Isles is the one major expansion pack to The Elderscrolls IV: Oblivion by Bethesda Softworks. The Shivering Isles are the realm of the ‘Mad God’ Sheogorath, and are accessible by a passage that appears in the Nibbeny Bay.

Major Improvements and Differences:

1. The voice acting for all characters in SI is excellent, giving each character a distinct personality, unlike vanilla Oblivion where the same lines and voices are used over and over.

2. The clothing style is very different, giving a more unique visual style. It also makes a nice change not seeing everyone in either armour or peasant clothing.

3. As well as improved voice acting the scripts are often much better, often with a great deal of humour. I find myself actually listening to what the NPC’s have to say rather than clicking and reading through everything very quickly.

4. Graphical style of the environment is stunning, and a complete chance from the lush forests of Cyrodiil. Additionally, because of Sheogoraths split personality, the player can chose whether to enter the realm of Mania or Dementia. The actual realms are identical, except than Dementia is darker of colour, with more dour, pessimistic people, and Mania is extremely bright and colourful, with happy but zanier inhabitants. The player may chose either realm whenever they enter shivering isles. And at Sheogoraths palace, both extremes are represented. Needless to say, the inhabitants of the respective realms hate each other, even the guards – the Dark Seducers and the Golden Saints.

5. Exploring and treasure hunting is much more interesting with a range of new meshes and textures, as well as a plethora of new flora and fauna, the former particularly interesting for those who enjoy alchemy.

6. There is a good range of new quests.

Disappointments and Shortcomings:

1. No horses. Not only are there none on the isle, you cannot transport your horse through with you either. Although the island is quite small it can be tedious running everywhere, and riding is a good alternative to fast travel. In repeat games, it is also annoying having to make the long run to Sheogoraths palace for the first time. Oddly, this is not an available fast travel location until you visit it for the first time, unlike the major cities of Cyrodiil.

2. Lack of villages and towns. This is annoying purely because there is a lot of available loot, and weaker characters may have trouble lugging much of it around as there are only 2 main places where goods can be bought and sold.