Skyrim vs Oblivion: The Winner May Surprise You

I still remember the night I was hanging out with my guildmates in Discord, and we dove into the age-old debate: “Oblivion vs. Skyrim.” It felt like being caught in an endless dungeon, with each twist and turn throwing up new arguments. Some folks swore by Oblivion’s high fantasy allure; others were spellbound by the dragons of Skyrim. And amidst this, there I was, the tank without a shield, undecided and overwhelmed. I thought, surely, there are countless gamers out there, just like you, questing for clarity on this very topic. A guide, like a trusty map in an RPG, could be just what we all need.

Here’s a quick loot drop of what we covered:

  • Why pick Skyrim over Oblivion?
  • Reasons Oblivion might be your go-to Elder Scrolls title.
  • Deep dives into the mechanics, lore, and features of both games.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re stuck on a decision-making quest, waiting for that NPC with the right dialogue option to pop up, this guide’s for you. So, equip your reading glasses and sharpen your sense of curiosity; let’s embark on this co-op adventure through Tamriel’s finest tales. Ready up, gamer, and keep on reading!

Skyrim vs Oblivion: A Comparision

“The Elder Scrolls” series by Bethesda has garnered a significant following over the years, and two of its most iconic entries are “Oblivion” (released in 2006) and “Skyrim” (released in 2011). Here’s a comprehensive comparison of the two:

1. Setting & Lore:

  • Oblivion: Set in the heartland of Tamriel, Cyrodiil. The main plot revolves around the daedric prince Mehrunes Dagon trying to merge his Oblivion plane with the mortal realm.
  • Skyrim: Takes place in the northern province of Tamriel, Skyrim. The central story deals with the return of the dragon Alduin, set against the backdrop of a civil war.

2. Graphics and Art Design:

  • Oblivion: For its time, Oblivion was groundbreaking in terms of graphics. However, the characters’ facial designs were often criticized for looking too plastic or unnatural.
  • Skyrim: Introduced a more refined graphical engine, providing a more realistic representation of environments and characters. Snow-capped peaks, Nordic architecture, and detailed dragon designs were standout features.

3. Gameplay Mechanics:

  • Oblivion: Featured a leveling system where enemies scaled with the player, sometimes making the game feel consistently challenging (or frustrating for some). Also introduced a unique persuasion mini-game.
  • Skyrim: Streamlined many mechanics, with a perk-based skill system and the inclusion of dragon shouts. Enemy scaling was more balanced, making character progression feel more rewarding.

4. Quest Design:

  • Oblivion: Offered some of the series’ most memorable quests, especially in the Dark Brotherhood and the Thieves Guild questlines. However, the main questline was often criticized for being repetitive.
  • Skyrim: While the main quest was more engaging, some players felt the side quests lacked the depth seen in Oblivion. However, faction quests, especially the civil war storyline, were well-received.

5. Modding Community:

  • Oblivion: Benefitted from a robust modding community that added new quests, improved graphics, and more. The Construction Set provided by Bethesda made it relatively easy for players to create mods.
  • Skyrim: Took modding to the next level with the Creation Kit and later, the introduction of the Steam Workshop (though not without controversy). The modding scene for Skyrim is among the most active, with mods ranging from graphical overhauls to entirely new questlines.

6. Music and Sound:

  • Oblivion: Composed by Jeremy Soule, Oblivion’s soundtrack is enchanting, capturing the high-fantasy feel of the game.
  • Skyrim: Also composed by Soule, the Skyrim score is more Nordic and robust, perfectly encapsulating the harsh landscapes and dragon-infested skies. The “Dragonborn” theme is particularly iconic.

7. Reception & Legacy:

  • Oblivion: It was praised for its open-world exploration and high-fantasy setting, though it had its fair share of criticisms, especially concerning the leveling system and some aspects of its graphics.
  • Skyrim: Widely regarded as one of the best RPGs ever made, it won numerous awards and introduced countless players to the Elder Scrolls series. Its phrase “Fus Ro Dah” and arrow to the knee meme became cultural phenomena.

Both games, in their essence, offer quintessential Elder Scrolls experiences. Oblivion provides a high-fantasy adventure filled with vibrant cities, while Skyrim offers a more rugged, Nordic journey with improved mechanics and an immersive atmosphere.

It boils down to personal preference. Some gamers have a fond nostalgia for Oblivion’s quirks and unique quests, while others prefer the sweeping landscapes and dragon battles of Skyrim. Whichever one chooses, hours of exploration, questing, and rich lore await.

10 Reasons Why You Should Pick Skyrim Over Oblivion

Here are ten reasons why you might want to choose “Skyrim” over “Oblivion”:

  1. Improved Graphics: Skyrim, being released five years after Oblivion, boasts superior graphics. From detailed character models to more realistic landscapes and weather effects, Skyrim is visually more impressive.
  2. Diverse Landscapes: Skyrim offers a variety of landscapes, from snow-covered mountains to dense forests and tundras. This variety makes exploration more rewarding.
  3. Dragon Battles: One of the most notable features of Skyrim is the inclusion of dragons. Fighting these formidable creatures in the open world or as part of the storyline is an exhilarating experience.
  4. Character Customization: Skyrim introduces a more refined character customization system, allowing players to fine-tune their character’s appearance to a greater degree.
  5. Voice Acting: While both games have memorable characters and dialogue, Skyrim offers more diverse voice acting, reducing the repetition of voice lines compared to Oblivion.
  6. Shouts: In addition to regular spells and abilities, players can use Dragon Shouts in Skyrim. These powerful abilities, unlocked by defeating dragons and exploring the world, add a unique layer to combat and exploration.
  7. Perk System: Skyrim replaces Oblivion’s leveling system with a more intuitive skill tree and perk system. Each time you level up, you can choose a perk that enhances a particular skill, allowing for more specialized character builds.
  8. Enhanced Modding: While both games have a robust modding community, Skyrim benefits from advancements in modding tools and a larger community, resulting in a wider array of mods ranging from graphics enhancements to entirely new stories.
  9. Richer Lore Integration: Skyrim integrates its lore more deeply into the storyline, side quests, and environmental details. The civil war between the Stormcloaks and the Imperials, the return of the dragons, and the legends of the Dragonborn are deeply woven into the game’s fabric.
  10. Active Community and Continued Relevance: Due to its immense popularity, Skyrim has enjoyed a more extended period in the limelight, leading to more community content, discussions, and continued updates and re-releases from Bethesda.

While these reasons might make Skyrim seem like the clear choice for some, it’s essential to recognize that Oblivion has its unique charm and strengths. Your decision should ultimately align with what you’re seeking in an RPG experience.

10 Reasons Why You Should Pick Oblivion Over Skyrim

While “Skyrim” brought many advancements, there are plenty of reasons one might choose “Oblivion” over its successor:

  1. High Fantasy Setting: Oblivion’s Cyrodiil is a vibrant, diverse realm that offers a classic high-fantasy environment with lush forests, majestic cities, and mysterious ruins, providing a contrast to Skyrim’s colder, more rugged landscapes.
  2. Unique Quest Design: Many players argue that while Skyrim’s main quests are more polished, Oblivion offers some of the series’ most memorable side quests, particularly in the Dark Brotherhood and Thieves Guild questlines.
  3. Spellcrafting: Oblivion features a system where players can craft their unique spells, allowing for a level of magical customization not present in Skyrim.
  4. Arena Combat: The Imperial City Arena lets players engage in gladiatorial combat, a feature not replicated in Skyrim. Rising through the ranks and becoming the Grand Champion is a fulfilling challenge.
  5. Character Progression: While some criticize Oblivion’s leveling system, it offers a more traditional RPG experience where players need to plan their skill advancements to maximize leveling benefits.
  6. More Dialog Options: Oblivion generally provides more dialogue choices during interactions, giving players a deeper role-playing experience.
  7. Persuasion Mini-Game: Oblivion introduced an innovative persuasion mini-game that requires players to read NPC emotions and adjust their approach accordingly. It’s a unique mechanic that adds depth to social interactions.
  8. Diverse Guild Questlines: Oblivion’s guilds, from the Mages Guild to the Fighters Guild, have in-depth questlines that offer variety and depth, allowing players to rise in rank and influence.
  9. Ayleid Ruins: The mysterious ruins of the Ayleid civilization scattered throughout Cyrodiil offer both lore and challenging exploration, filled with traps and treasures.
  10. Nostalgia and Atmosphere: For many players, Oblivion was their introduction to the Elder Scrolls series, and the game’s particular charm, atmosphere, and music elicit fond memories. The game has an almost dreamlike quality, from its bloom-heavy graphics to its enchanting soundtrack.

While these points highlight some of Oblivion’s unique features, it’s worth noting that both games offer rich, immersive experiences. Choosing between them often comes down to personal preference and what kind of fantasy setting and gameplay mechanics you value most.

Skryim Vs Oblivion: My Opinion

Let me drop some gaming lore on you. So, between Skyrim and Oblivion, guess which game I’ve grinded more hours on? Skyrim, hands down. It’s like I’ve been glued to it since 2011, questing first on my relic of an Xbox 360. But like any true gamer, I evolved, morphing into the PC gaming realm, modding Skyrim like it’s a customizable player skin.

But here’s where the plot thickens: as much as I’m all-in on Skyrim, it doesn’t hold a torch to Oblivion for me. Bbooting up Oblivion on the Xbox 360 was like jumping from 2D to 3D gaming. The worlds we explored on the PS2 and the OG Xbox? They were like starting zones compared to the epic, immersive realm of Oblivion. My mind? Blown to smithereens!

Remember that epic intro with Patrick Stewart voicing the king? It felt like the best cutscene ever. And that first time you exit the sewers and the in-game world unfolds? Like unlocking a secret level. Those detailed landscapes, dynamic trees, and dope ruins? Made Skyrim’s ruins look like pixel art.

Now, don’t get me wrong, graphics aside, Oblivion’s gameplay mechanics were next-level. Guild quests, the leveling system, the way even a random NPC would fanboy over you, the spell-crafting system: they were all outragiouse! Together, they were like crafting the ultimate weapon in an MMORPG.

But it feels like Oblivion’s in Skyrim’s shadow, mostly. Maybe because Skyrim dropped with graphics that were ahead of its time, and its engine is like a modder’s dream playground. It’s kinda sad thinking Oblivion might be gathering dust just because it’s graphically retro.

But, hey! Some legends over at Skyblivion are leveling up Oblivion into the Skyrim engine. Slated for 2025, this is gonna be a legendary mod! It’s like giving a new generation a portal to 2006, letting them experience that OG magic. While we wait, I’d say take a leap of faith, dive into Skyblivion, and if you’re feeling boss-level, snag Oblivion on PC. Warning: You might just find Skyrim feeling like the tutorial after that.


So, we’ve ventured through the lands of Cyrodiil and Skyrim together, diving deep into the dungeons of mechanics, exploring the high towers of lore, and taking down dragons—or Daedra—of indecision. Like a well-coordinated party, we’ve dissected what makes each of these Elder Scrolls titles unique, and hopefully, like a high-level spell, this guide has illuminated the foggy path of your choice.

Here’s a quick respawn of the main points:

  • Oblivion offers a classic high-fantasy setting with a variety of landscapes and cities.
  • Skyrim brings a rugged, Nordic environment to life, along with dynamic dragon battles.
  • Oblivion’s quests, especially within guilds, offer in-depth storylines and memorable characters.
  • Skyrim streamlines gameplay with an intuitive skill and perk system, making character customization more rewarding.
  • Both games have a bustling modding community, with Skyrim having the edge in terms of diversity and modern toolsets.
  • Oblivion and Skyrim both have a unique atmosphere and music, enhancing their respective game worlds.

Ready for the next level? Keep scrolling to discover what your next moves should be. ?

What Next?

Hey, a good quest chain always has a follow-up, right? I want you to walk away with actionable tasks that will help you experience the best of both worlds, or decide which world suits you best. ?

  • Play the First Hour: Boot up Oblivion and Skyrim and play the first hour of each. How do you feel about the controls, the setting, and the initial storyline?
  • Try Out a Mod: Pick a popular mod for each game and see how it enhances your gameplay experience.
  • Dive into a Guild: Pick a guild questline in both games and compare how invested you become in their stories.
  • Craft or Shout: Experiment with Oblivion’s spellcrafting or Skyrim’s Dragon Shouts. Which mechanic pulls you in?
  • Ask the Community: Visit Reddit, Discord, or other gaming forums to ask current players why they favor one game over the other.


Nick Sinclair

Nick Sinclair, a gaming aficionado since the Commodore 64 era, studied Creative Computer Games Design in university before founding his own gaming company. Discovering a passion for content creation, Nick now helps gamers squeeze every drop of fun out of their favorite gaming hardware

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