The Pirate Isles (Oblivion mod) review…

The Pirate Isles (Oblivion mod) review after the break…

The Pirate Isles (Oblivion mod) review…

If ever a sequel to “Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion” is released, one will wonder if the expansions for that game will continue the downhill slide that have been trending for the “Elder Scrolls” franchise. “Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind” received two large expansions (Tribunal & Bloodmoon) along with the huge main game itself. “Oblivion,” on the other hand, has skimped out on it’s players, with only one modest expansion to date and with little prospect of any further (No, I’m not counting the “Horse Armor” type DLCs).

There are several free mods that have attempted to fill the void of a full-fledged expansion where Bethesda, the company that made “Oblivion,” has decided to code elsewhere. For instance, it is tempting to download the gargantuan “Elswyr” mod which could well be a full game in and of itself. Several mods have attempted tackling the arduous task of creating the entire world in which the Elder Scrolls franchise is based, complete with former lands like Morrowind.

I have little doubt that, until a single-player successor to “Oblivion” emerges, we will continue to see mods of all shapes and sizes continue to be created. After all, it wasn’t until “Oblivion” was released that mods for “Morrowind” began to seriously decline in quantity. We may see continued interest in “Oblivion” modding conceivably until the game itself is inconvenient to run on future operating systems.

One very large mod for Oblivion that attempts to be a full-scale expansion is “The Pirate Isles,” resurrection of an earlier mod called “The Pirate Isles BETA.” Apparently, the original creators of the mod decided to abandon their efforts after a considerable amount of progress. Since that abandonment, another author has since decided to expand upon the mod. I played “version 1” of the mod, authored by “Jedininjafuq.”

“The Pirate Isles” allows players to release their inner swashbuckler, in so much as constrained within the Oblivion gameplay mechanisms. The player has several options to start their swashbuckling but the most advertised is to merely be kidnapped while sleeping. Your kidnappers’ vessel, however, falls victim to being shipwrecked, where you must escape the vessel and begin your quest at Blackhorn Town, situated on an island outside of the mainland. From here, you must buy a boat (You may only select one, The Black Moon), hire a First Mate and a crew and begin your plundering in earnest.

With all large mods, “The Pirate Isles” tries to deliver upon a full experience and no fault may be placed upon it for at least trying. Roleplaying is a large part of the mod, where you must constantly replenish your pirate ship of pirates while keeping an eye open for ship upgrades and repairs. Upon rising in notoriety (as a pirate), you will eventually receive a hideout which has opportunity for upgrades as well.

A lot of work was involved with this mod and it shows, with plenty of new objects that makes this pirating world fairly unique. While sailing from location to location, you may be attacked or you may also be lenient to save castaways and exchange messages with passing friendly vessels.

To be certain, however, the mod is not without it’s faults.

Besides the introductory quest, the quests in this mod feel clunky and do not utilize the Oblivion method for quest advancement. Although much has already been written about Oblivion “dumbing down” quests, there is a difference between quests with clearly written intents and quests that linger due to a lack of clarity and direction. Far too often, I felt abandoned in the mod for not knowing how to proceed efficiently. A treasure map quest, for instance, relies upon some very good eyesight and a lot of searching to proceed beyond a certain stage.

The mod also falls victim for trying to be too much for too many people. Did the mod really need space-age flying machines and uncharacteristic-looking futuristic armors (Yes, I know that both are a reference to a popular console game)? There is a “treasure” in the hideout cave which is not “the” treasure and it would have been nice for a message to appear officially reflecting that in the quest, perhaps something to the effect of, “You’ve managed to uncover some treasure but it doesn’t appear to be as magnificent as described. Perhaps the true treasure lies elsewhere”?

One concern that I’ve always had with both “Morrowind” and “Oblivion” is that stock NPCs have felt lifeless. “Oblivion” NPCs feel tight-lipped whereas “Morrowind” NPCs were like politicians – A lot of the same hot air but not much else. In “The Pirate Isles,” I never got to experience a growth or progression with NPCs. There weren’t any, “Hey, you’re becoming a better pirate” or “You wouldn’t believe what I found… Perhaps you’d like to see it, too?” Besides physical appearances and where they tend to congregate, the NPCs just sort of… Didn’t have a personality that resonated.

There were also some technical glitches with “The Pirate Isles” as well. I found three guards fighting amongst each other for no apparent reason. Cape Yakudra, an island, appeared choppy whenever I visited it. There were doors requiring keys that I never found (one area guarded a blunderbuss of some kind… A quest that I never encountered?) and supposedly an entire island that, for one reason or another, has never been available to me (Have I not done enough “pirating” yet?).

There is a lot of potential in “The Pirate Isles”; Anyone who feels that they can take the time and effort to download and play the mod should do so. Yet it simply feels that it lacks that final coat of polish that separates a player-made mod from a full-fledged expansion. It has a barrier of not being intuitive enough at times, so much so that it even offers an introductory “cheat book” (which doesn’t exactly help in the later stages) to those who may be more lost then they care to admit.

My advice for the mod would be to add more dialog to non-essential NPCs and to mark quests more clearly. Confusing players is not an admirable trait that any mod should possess. This mod has a lot to offer players but it must find a way of making that content accessible both sooner and more clearly. I look forward towards playing that version.

3 Responses to “The Pirate Isles (Oblivion mod) review…”

  1. Le'Hott Septim Says:

    I have a problem on a 1st quest…When I go to sleep, Deagon or however he’s calledd drugges me and wakes me up…After the conversation it says ‘I shoud wait and see what will happen to me’ – after 30 mins of waiting NOTHING HAPPENS…and when I do wait, the time goes back to the 11 pm…Why?

    • Lutonaut Says:

      Hi Le’Hott Septim & thank you for reading my blog.

      Unfortunately, it has been a very long time since I have played this mod for Oblivion. As a result, I’m afraid that I can’t be of much help to you in order to solve this problem. My recommendations would be to make sure that your Oblivion game is patched to the latest version, ensure that the mod is also the latest version available & ask this question at TESNexus where the mod is likely located (and where more of these types of mod users would be able to see the question and provide you the help that you would like).

      I hope that your problem is solved and that you go on to enjoy the mod.

      Again, thank you very much for reading my blog.

  2. Le'Hott Septim Says:

    Done all that, not helping, but still thanks for NOT DELETING my post…Because that’s what most of the persons who gimme da link to the DL have done 😦

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