Weekend Edition…

The Eagle’s Trail (Oblivion mod) review all after the break…

The Eagle’s Trail (Oblivion Mod) review…

Craptastic. There – I wrote it. That’s the ADHD version of what I’m about to write so, if you have a short attention span, I just gave the review away. Onto the more elaborate explanation.

“The Eagle’s Trail” is a mod for the video game “The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion.” It is made by a “MrMyers” (yes, written just like that) & it is version 0.1. That version number, sadly, is all you need to know. Really.

The plot of the mod is fairly straight forward: Go to new area, kill monsters, get a key, open up a chest, get instructions on where the next area is. Wash, rinse & repeat about five or six times before the game ends.

Oh, you meant the actual plot? Well, it has to do with finding some parallel world where there is a tenth Divine (For those who don’t know, “The Nine Divines” is Oblivion’s answer to religion, meaning nine gods or something like that) & it is under attack by Dremora-like (in other word, Oblivion’s answer to the concept of demons) beings. You must go to this nether world & save the people & yada yada yada yakkity schmackity.

Folks… There’s nothing here. I always hate writing those words because I’m sure it takes a lot of effort just to put crap onto the screen, nevermind crap that isn’t actually… Well, crap. However, this is strictly an amateur-hour mod from start to finish.

Would you like details? Do you really want to know just how truly bad this mod is? OK… Hence forth, the details.

Let’s start at the very beginning. You go outside of Bruma (a city) to a hut. So far, so good. The hut looks nice. Walk inside of the hut & two dogs attack you. Just because. No rhyme, no reason. They just… Attack you. Fine. Kill the dogs, read the message left on the desk & take the key.

Apparently, the people who want them to save you want to test you to see if you’ve got the guts to save them. I don’t get it. If my world is being attacked, wouldn’t you want to advertise that facet of your life a little more broadly?

“Oh, yes… My car is sinking underneath the water. No, don’t bother to save me unless you’re a certified diver or other other profession adept at saving people from drowning. I don’t want your help. Sorry!”

So, you have to go to this Ayleid (don’t ask, just think “Elf”) ruin which is underneath a trap door behind some building in the city of Bruma. Imagine that real estate pitch…

“Now, I know what you’re thinking – Bruma equals cold. However, how many places have their own secret Ayleid ruin behind a trap door? Hmmm? Maybe now you know why the asking price is a little higher then expected. Let your neighbors have a fancy barbeque & a screened-in porch… YOU’VE got your very own underground Ayleid ruin! Let them top that!”

Up until now… Not horrible. The dogs… Well, what can I say about the dogs? However, we get to our first amateur hour moment right… about… now.

OK, so you enter this underground Ayleid ruin & encounter about a gazillion sword-wielding skeletons. These aren’t just any sword-wielding skeletons, though… These are sword-wielding skeletons who can’t climb stairs! At all! Apparently, stair-climbing is fairly tough all around for villains in this mod. Granted, these are large, yard-high steps but still… They’re skeletons that can’t climb up steps.

So, as long as you hop back up the large steps from whence you came from, you can watch these fools “run” at you from the bottom step until the power supply to your computer goes on the fritz. Literally, I worked on my conjuration & destruction spells with these people (a foreshadowing of things to come).

Once you’ve finally dispatched those losers, you have to deal with the skeleton archers. These guys were a little harder because, let’s face it – Arrows are ranged weapon & they don’t need to climb stairs like their knuckle-dragging sword-carrying cousins do. However, all you needed to do was back up so that they’re no longer in your line of sight & *voila*, no more arrows. Cast a fireball at them, back up, move forward, cast another fireball… Wash, rinse & repeat.

At this point, honestly, I should’ve stopped the mod, unloaded it & moved on with my life. The Ayleid ruin isn’t that great to look at. In fact, it had the feeling of a “My First Ayleid Ruin” tutorial.

However, maybe the mod improved over time. Ha ha. Or, maybe not.

So, get a key, open a chest and… Your next section is right outside of the Arcane university. Go there, enter the crypt & be prepared to face wraiths & skeletons.

This time, there are no steps to help you. However, anyone who knows the terrain knows that there is a bridge connecting the university with the rest of the Imperial capital. The bridge is there for a reason – There’s a huge chasm between the two areas. Well, these monsters aren’t geniuses… Lead them outside of their crypt, run up onto the bridge & they practically race to enter the chasm… A chasm that they can’t exactly climb back out of. Optionally, you can kill them if you feel like wasting time is your speed.

A lich awaits for you at the end of this crypt but, again… All of these monsters arrive here with a freshly-minted diploma from the Dumba$$ university. The lich kept getting stuck on a corner… A corner that I could still shoot fireballs around. Dead lich.

So, the next area is back behind the Blades’ fortress (Think of the Blades as your typical do-gooder organization). It’s four Priests of Order from the Shivering Isles expansion pretending to be something else followed by a Frost Atronach for a boss. Again, no steps or chasm to help you out but the tried & true “back up & keep hitting them with fireballs” seemed to work miracles. The Atronach was lovingly dispatched by the guards outside the nearby city of  Bruma. Dead Atronach.

At this point, I knew this mod was going nowhere but, like watching “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” you’re almost curious as to how this train wreck is going to end.

So, your next level chock full o’ monsters (after you do the whole “get the key from the dead boss & open the chest” bit), is in the ruin just outside of Bravil. There, you face a boatload of Dremora-like monsters in a parallel world where Bravil is being burnt to the ground & everyone is dead.

The key to absolutely laughing yourself silly while killing these enemies is to understand just how difficult it is to enter this ruin so you can go through the portal to get to the monsters. The collision detection on the diagonal column leading into the ruin is tough & unforgiving. Even people with high jumping abilities will probably not be able to leave the ruin at will.

Therefore, I used one of the portal mods I downloaded previously to help me out. People who played the Oblivion’s predecessor “Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind” would know a portal mod as a fancier version of the Recall spell from that game. Otherwise, a portal is just that: A portal that allows you to teleport from one place to another place.

So, I’d walk into the Burning Bravil place, shot off a frost spell at someone, ran back out, one of the monsters would follow me through & then I’d go through the portal, get outside the ruin, climb the rocks outside the ruin & then fire away with conjuration & destruction spells.

I wasn’t able to do this for everyone except for two or three monsters, the above-mentioned trick worked like a charm. Granted, I didn’t check to see if they could climb up the stairs in Bravil… I’m not reloading this mod if they could or not.

One of the things I hated about the Burning Bravil section of this mod was that you couldn’t walk into any of the buildings! I hate it when designers put doors into places where you can’t go! Stop that! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop!Bad designer! Bad! Bad! Bad! If you place a door in the world, have it connect to something! Don’t ever place a door where you can’t go through it!

So… From Ayleid ruin to crypt to the backyard of the Blades to some alternate dimension Bravil where no one remembered to check the battery in the smoke detector… Where to next? Underneath the Imperial City where you battle these weird-looking skeletons & more Dremora.

Now, if you’ve bothered to actually download & play the game as intended all the way up to this point… Congratulations. You’re as much a sado-masochist as I was. You deserve a shiny little medal for your obsessive-compulsive devotion.

So, here we are in the sewer of the Imperial City… Fighting wacky-looking skeletons, all of whom are just different scales of the same model. Apparently, these skeletons haven’t learned the concept of climbing stairs or I would’ve been a goner from the first minute. Instead, I beefed up my conjuration spell skill. After fighting a few dremora as well, you arrive at this huge wacky-looking skeleton who is the boss character.

You know what? I’m done writing about this mod. I finished it but there’s nothing more to write about. It was far too big for this guy’s modding skills & it shows from start to finish. There’s more, naturally – You go to some alternative world where you find this piss poor excuse of a city (really… It’s not a pretty sight) & then the final battle is at this shore and… Ugh. It ain’t worth it. It ain’t worth writing about this mod any more. I don’t care if this mod goes from v0.1 to v2.0. I’m done. Bye-bye.

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