Most of us at Maximum PC really dug Oblivion—some of us could do little else until we’d “finished” it, including sleep, eat, shower, or hit our deadlines…. When it was finally over, we went through a little withdrawal depression—there just wasn’t another game out or even on the horizon that appealed to us as much.
We dabbled with fan-created add-ons and some of the game’s pay-to-play content, but they barely scratched our exploration itch. Finally, the first official expansion is here, and it was worth the wait. In Shivering Isles you gain entrance to the Realm of Sheogorath—the stomping grounds of the particularly nutty Daedric Prince of Madness—and defend the land from “certain destruction.” OK, so the role of champion isn’t exactly new, but the landscape certainly is. Sheogorath is unlike anything we saw in Cyrodiil, and even at one-quarter its size, there’s a lot to see.
Not only are the flora and fauna of Sheogorath unique, but so too are its denizens. Sheogorath is generously populated with new NPCs, quests, subquests, and baddies looking to split open your skull with their axes, swords, arrows, and other implements of destruction. The main quest took us about 20 hours to beat, and there’s about another 10 hours of “smell the roses” content tossed in for those that like to take the scenic route. You can play the game with a new character or tackle it with your existing hero—either way, the game will adapt to match your skill level.
Well, almost. Aside from one nasty fight, the new content’s a bit too easy. (If you’re looking for a challenge, it’s probably best to create a new character.) The add-on is really more about dialogue and politics than unbridled brawling, which might not be for everyone. And there’s not enough high-level kit to be found, either.
However, the writing for this expansion kept us entertained throughout the adventure. The scads of laugh-out-loud moments in this add-on again made personal hygiene optional until we finished our quest.