Over the years an army of modders have been hard at work, trying to make Oblivion into the game they always imagined it should be. There's now a vast array of mods that can take the game in many different directions. Oscuro's and Francesco's overhauls reinvent the game's challenges and leveling. Midas' Magic Spells of Aurum give you godlike power and the ability to nuke your foes. There are thousands, so we've chosen best-made and most polished examples of one of the most prolific and dedicated modding communities out there.
1. The Unofficial Oblivion Patch
This should be your first port of call. It fixes over 1,800 bugs still present in Oblivion even after Bethesda finished patching it. So that's 1,800 floating rocks, see-through walls and twitchy animations you'll never have to deal with. There are a couple of separate patches for the expansion and DLC, too, so be sure to pick these up if you're planning on visiting the Shivering Isles.
2. Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul
In regular Oblivion, the world levels up at the same rate you do, which means every battle presents roughly the same amount of challenge. Oscuro's Overhaul changes all of this, setting different level caps for different areas, turning Cyrodiil into a dangerous and unpredictable wilderness. Oscuro's Overhaul tweaks almost every other aspect of the game as well. Magic is easier to cast, advanced creature AI ensures animals react to you realistically, and boss characters have been scattered throughout the world to provide extra challenge and some desirable loot drops. A series of smaller mods are also incorporated, adding AI tweaks, balance alterations and hundreds of new weapons and items to the game.
3. Midas' Magic Spells of Aurum
Turn your enemies to gold, ride a magic carpet, summon a Balrog and blast your way through 7 new areas. The mod adds hundreds of new magical abilities to Oblivion, along with new mounts, and even transformation powers. The mod claims to retain the balance of Oblivion, and it does to a certain extent, but once you've gained the most powerful spells on offer, nothing will stand in your way. Check out the insane Lightning Storm ability in the video below.
4. Unique Landscapes
Unique Landscapes is a series of mods that aim to turn every location in Cyrodiil into a hand crafted masterpiece. Each mod has a different author, and each author is encouraged to bring their individual style to each area, ensuring that no two locations are entirely alike. 22 areas have already been revamped, with more in the works. This mod works beautifully with Qarl's Texture Pack and Natural Environments - combine all of them to see Cyrodiil at its finest.
5. Francesco's Leveled Creatures and Items Mod
Francesco's mod shares a lot of similarities with Oscuro's Overhaul. Both mods make Oblivion a more variable and interesting experience by altering the leveling system of the creatures around you. Players who are new to Oblivion will find Francesco's mod to be a more forgiving experience, especially at lower levels. Francesco's also gives you the option to turn off many of its features, letting you preserve Oblivion's core experience and pick the changes you like best.
6. Deadly Reflex
Deadly Reflex adds some needed strategic depth to Oblivion's combat, adding a set of new maneuvers and attacks to your arsenal. With Deadly Reflex installed you'll be able to dodge incoming attacks, stun your opponents and even finish them off with a well timed impale move. Your opponents have the same abilities, too, of course, making fights tactical and tense affairs. Combat now looks and feels more visceral, too. Critical hits result in pleasingly ludicrous death animations and the new, Sam Fisher-esque stealth kills will see you snapping necks and slitting throats with brutal exuberance.
7. Qarl's Texture Pack III
Qarl's Texture Pack III is the most popular and thorough Oblivion texture pack out there. It comes in several different forms to suit different PC specs, so don't pick one your machine can handle. Even the lower-res versions are a big improvement, but the largest ones transform Cyrodiil completely, filling the world with intricate detail.
8. DarNified UI
Sick of only being able to see five items at a time in a list? Irritated by the gigantic fonts and clunky interface? Darnified UI completely redesigns Oblivion's user interface, renovating every menu screen to make it work properly on your monitor. It also replaces the world map with a beautiful, high-detail colour version. It's not a major overhaul, but it makes everything slicker and easier to use. It'll work well with the other mods here, too.
9. Natural Environments
Natural Environments contains a series of subtle updates that work together to improve to the way the world looks and feels. With new dynamic weather effects, revamped water effects, foliage tweaks and the addition of birds and insects, Natural Environments does a great job of making Cyrodiil feels much more like a living, breathing world.
10. Martigen's Monster Mod
Adds over 150 new types of creatures and enemies, making the game a much more varied place to explore. Like Oscuro's overhaul, this mod also adds unique boss creatures with their own tailored loot drops, including new weapons and armour. Because of that, you're likely to see a few conflicts when trying to run Mart's mod with Oscuro's and Francesco's overhauls. If you want to install all three at once, and don't mind a painstaking install procedure, check out FCOM. Meanwhile, take a look at the trailer below for a glimpse of just a few of the many new creatures Martigen's Monster Mod adds.
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Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.