Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Planes of Oblivion in The Elder Scrolls IV

Today we're going to look at an in-game location that is as close to Hell as you're going to get without playing Doom 3.  I'm talking about the Planes of Oblivion in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  In this game the main threat is an invasion of horrifying monsters from the realms of the lava-filled Oblivion.  The monsters are able to teleport to the land of Tamriel through the use of huge "Oblivion Gates" which appear in numerous locations throughout the land.  Of course these gates work both ways, allowing you to enter the Planes of Oblivion, and face the horrors within.

An Oblivion Gate.  Sauron would be proud.

The Planes of Oblivion are a sight to behold; it is truly a hellish atmosphere.  The sky is blood red, and filled with gray and black clouds which are fitting for a world that seems to be constantly burning.  You'll encounter pools of lava, as well as seemingly endless oceans of lava (so much for taking a nice cool swim).

The equivalent of a five-star hotel in Oblivion.

As you can probably guess, with an atmosphere like this you aren't going to see vast expanses of green foliage.  In fact, during your visits to these locations you'll see bare rocky cliffs and plains.  The only plants that seem to grow here are some skeletal-looking shrubs, along with some sickly vines that almost look to be dead.  Some of these plants appear to be sentient, and just as evil as their surroundings; they will snap at you if you get within striking distance.

Probably should keep your distance from these.

The few varieties of Daedra and Dremora enemies that have escaped through the Oblivion gates into Tamriel are obviously abundant in their home-realm of Oblivion.  As if dealing with sentient plants and armor-melting lava weren't enough, you'll need to battle plenty of large monstrosities during your visits, such as the dreaded half-human, half-spider Daedra.

And you thought Zelda's Skulltulas were a problem.

There's just no escaping them, unless you've cooked up some really good invisibility potions.  You'll need to ascend the interiors of gigantic towers filled with these horrors if you hope to escape back to the land of Tamriel.  At the top of a certain tower in each area of Oblivion, there is a Sigil Stone that you must steal, which will close the portal and teleport you back to your home-world.

As an added bonus, on your way up these towers you'll be able to grab some loot from large sacks of flesh hanging from the roof, as well as large heart-shaped (closer to a human heart than a Valentine's Day heart) containers called The Punished.  I don't think we even want to know the details of the "punishment."

Go ahead, just reach right in and grab the gold.

Sounds like a pleasant place to take a vacation doesn't it?  That wraps up our quick look at the Elder Scrolls version of Hell.  It's scorching, it's dangerous, and it is most definitely disgusting.  Did you guys play The Elder Scrolls IV?  If so, what did you think of these journeys into Oblivion?


  1. I absolutely loved these planes - and their effects on the world when the rifts would open. The dragons of Skyrim were impressive, but these portals really sunk home for me on a much cooler, creepier level. Among my favorite moments in gaming this generation was the first time I random stumbled onto one of these rifts out in the woods on my 360. :)

    1. Hey Chalgyr, it was definitely a cool event to see one of these portals spring up! The one occasion I'll always remember is when I found a random house in the middle of nowhere: I went inside and looted it, and as soon as I left the house a portal appeared right in its place, leaving the former structure in ruins.

      I agree that these portals made a stronger statement about the danger the world was in, compared to a few super-powered enemies flying in the sky.

      Thanks for the comment!