Monday, February 21, 2011

The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles Completed for the 2nd Time

After a great 22 hour and 30 minute experience, I've completed my second and likely final playthrough of The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles (Xbox 360). After I completed my first playthrough in early 2008 and the "Knights of the Nine" DLC that came with my retail copy that summer, I had spent between 250 to 300 hours in Cyrodiil and was completely worn out of Bethesda's masterpiece.

In the Spring of 2009 I played through The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion's main Quest for the third (and final time), intending to take that character to the Shivering Isles. My original playthrough of the expansion was with a brand new character who was evil-oriented and a custom class, and I wanted to give it a go with a higher leveled good champion. But alas, in November 2009 I accidentally deleted all of my Xbox 360 save games and thus lost this character, and The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles went back into my backlog. Until last weekend.

I am now so close to completing my backlog outright, that it finally came time to knock the expansion from my list. I started up a Male Nord, a Barbarian with the Sign of the Lady and once again went straight to the Isles. Regrettably I was forced to experience the expansion set as a low level character once more and only made it to Level 10 by game's completion, but I made the most of the experience and completed a full 26 Quests.

On this playthrough I allied with Mania and earned the final Achievement for the game at about 8 hours in, and I saved many of the side Quests for after the completion of the Main Quest so I could experience them as the Mad God. I'm also pleased to say I didn't need to adjust the difficulty at all, kept the slider right on the middle, and after a few tries I got through my shadowy double towards the end of the Main Quest (which was the hardest part for me the first time around).

I didn't bother buying any additional Spells and simply used what was given, same with Armour and Weapons, and really focused on bashing my way through fights. Unlike the core game, I found the expansion's main story line very invigorating and creative, filled with twisted humour and Quest variety. The Shivering Isles themselves are a colourful yet dark place, and the Prince of Madness, Sheogorath, has some wicked one-liners.

I did encounter some interesting bugs this playthrough, specifically after the Main Quest was complete. Shortly thereafter, I went into Bliss and the Golden Saint Guards were attacking three specific townsfolk. I have no idea what happened to cause this, but they killed the three "offenders," something I've never seen happen before. My own Golden Saint Escort disappeared at one point, no amount of waiting or sleeping brought her back, but at least I had my Dark Seducer Escort to help in combat.

It took me a few hours to get into once again, but I ultimately greatly enjoyed my return to the Shivering isles. It was time well spent, a world of wonder explored, and provided enough of a variation from my last playthrough to keep things fresh.

Thanks Bethesda for crafting such a wonderful land to loose myself in.

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