Seashore Watch (oblivion mod)…

Seashore Watch (oblivion mod) after the break…

Seashore Watch (oblivion mod)…

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a mod for the video game “Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion” (shortened to “oblivion”). I’m going to attempt to make these reviews more regular although the concept of daily reviews appear to be too taxing for me to put into practice at this time.

“Seashore Watch” was one of the many mods I had downloaded before I had taken a break from mod reviewing. Therefore, imagine my surprise when I realized that there was a whole new version of this mod since the time I had downloaded it to the time when I was ready to review it! Therefore, this review will be based upon the 2.0 version of the mod.

“Seashore Watch” is a mod made by “Ratnician.” It is, in essence, a free house mod where you can sleep & have a few free containers to place your stuff in. However, it is a rather inconvenient mod. In this reviewer’s opinion, I think that the mod author suffered from a bit of, “Wow! Wouldn’t it be neat if…!” syndrome that a lot of these types of mods suffer from.

Let’s begin.

First, let me remind all mod authors to include some type of text file with their mod so that the mod player may read about where to look for the wonderful mod in the game world upon loading it. OK? OK. No names. Just… A gentle reminder to certain mod authors.

We begin our voyage in Bravil’s Mages Guild. There, tucked into a room where the alchemist does her alchemy thing, is a portal to… Not the actual “house.” In fact, it’s a sort of odd add-on to the ruins of Barastas, within viewing distance of the Gold Coast. By now, you’ll figure out if you have the Shivering Isles add-on installed or not (Another reason why mod authors ought to have a text file included with their mod, to remind them of all the necessary pre-requisite mods that need to be installed).

This whole tower area thingy is a bit confusing but, at the end of the day, you “teleport” to the next area by pressing the big button at the top of the stairs.

The next area is a modified throne room from the “Paradise” section of the Main Quest from the video game. At this point, I realized that I hadn’t really stepped into a coherent architectural plan for this house but rather a “Hey! Wouldn’t it be cool if the next room had a…?”. This is why 14-year olds aren’t allowed to design actual structures but are mentally patted on the head, smiled at quaintly before the elders walk away & non-chalantly chug a swig or two of Pepto-Bismol while reminding themselves that the kids are just “going through a phase.”

I mean, think about this room for a moment. Look at the room. It has two small bridges adjoined to each other, sandwiched in between two moats. Beyond those moats are four portals that are inaccessible any other way except to get your feet wet by walking across or through it. Maybe you could jump the moat if you were athletic enough. However, bottom line – There are portals that you can not just “walk” to in that conventional sense.

There are six areas in this house, none of them too convincing or convenient for the player.

The “Private Area” is a re-use of the Skingrad Mage’s Guild but fitted with water, a few beds & other knick-knacks.

The library is a re-use of the Bruma Mages Guild. Here is where you’ll need something called “Helborne’s Bookcase mod” because, otherwise, you’ll get a whole lot of Oblivion’s standard “Exclamation mark encircled in yellow” marker. I didn’t have the mod but, at this point, I was more touring then contemplating if I was going to be using this mod for anything other then a review.

The swamp research laboratory is a re-use of Anvil’s Mages Guild, with small but harmless creatures scurrying around. Again, another room that looks cute but doesn’t feel very functional & not a place that I’d be running back to.

At this point, I chalked this mod up to “cute but no cigar” & this is where my review notes begin to wane.

There’s another room where you are telepoted to the sight of a horse head staring at you. Yes, the horse’s head of a statue is the very first thing when teleporting into what I can only presume to be the re-use of yet another room (this one escapes me… From Shivering Isles?). Apparently, in the wacky world of this mod, if you dive under the water of this room, you can come across a cabinet. Yes, a cabinet… Under water. For no apparent reason other then that it is there. Yup.

Another room also holds not only a spiral staircase but guests from other provinces of Cyrodiil (the continent in the Elder Scrolls storyline). How they got there or why they are there or of what use they are is beyond my time limit of figuring out. If you follow the spiral staircase up, you’ll see… An altar & nothing else. That’s right, just an altar. At the top of an elaborate spiral staircase.

I really don’t know what the mod author’s intentions were but if it were for me to view this mod once & then delete it from my hard drive, then… Mission accomplished! Look, everyone has their own tastes about having a house mod. Clearly, the mod author was going for an eccentric look. Unfortunately, practicality was low on the list & the mod bears this out while examining it.

Yes, the mod has ingrediants & excellent alchemy equipment. It has beds & storage. However, all of these elements are presented in such a fashion as to render their usage very impractical.

The mod author clearly likes skrinking & expanding items for no other reason but to emphasize that they can shrink & expand items. Ports vary in sizes. There are tiny creatures that aren’t tiny in the normal game & large items that are normally quite small in the real game.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I can’t really recommend this mod to anyone. It’s not that good of a house mod. As a showcase to the author’s modding talent, it doesn’t really impress on that level either. Some places in this mod are horribly laggy. The “guests” don’t seem to¬† have anything to add. Each room seems to be in it’s own universe (technically, they are but I’m writing from a thematic sense, not technological) without any common narrative.

I hate critically reviewing anyone’s mod; I can’t mod, I know I can’t mod & so I must always judge other mods knowing full well that I observe mods that will always be far outside my technical expertise. However, this does not prevent those from having a valid opinion upon attempting to play with this mod.

My advice to the mod author is this – Start over. Think hard about what you want to make. Keep it simple. Keep it functional. Don’t over-complicate what can be achieved through simplicity.

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