Uncle Cross Hideout is a player-home mod made by Cross1492 (aka Uncle Cross on the nexusmods.com). However, it does not just add a new player home to the world (correction: the hideaway has its own world-space) of Oblivion, it incorporates several other mods along with it in the form of addons and/or updates. This is probably the largest mod that I have ever installed for Oblivion. Even despite being split into several files for downloading, I took about 3 days total to download everything (including the addons).
Before you can investigate the secret hideaway that you inherited from your Uncle Cross, you must retrieve the key stolen by his former lover (uncle cross, why did you think it was a good idea to have an affair?). His former lover, a powerful mage in her own right did not take rejection well and is aware that you will be coming for the key. Creepily, she even manages to find out how you look like. Meaning she is prepared for your arrival, all hopes of getting the key in a civil manner are dashed immediately upon the moment she catches sight of you.
I was expecting the quest with the dungeon level to be a lot more longer. I just assumed this since I saw I was in an ayleid ruin, and most ayleid ruins tend to be rather extensive. It was relatively short, being only two levels with very small rooms. I would rather it was slightly more larger, so the enemies can be spread out especially on the second level. The second level had a bunch of enemies in close proximity to each other and all the custom armor models caused my game to lag slightly. That or because I didn’t install one of the mods I think was required for this to run without issues. After you successfully retrieve the key, you needed to backtrack back to where you ended up in the dungeon to exit and venture forth to claim your prize. I found the fight a little too easy since both the woman and her lover (or stalker) died after casting two spells. I can’t tell whether it is because they were weak or not. Her lackeys gave me more trouble killing than she did.
On an unrelated note, the custom summons that the conjurers use in this mod was awesome. The spider summons terrified me, and I believe the mod also adds variations to default enemies in Cyrodiil such as diseased clannfears which is pretty awesome. I think seeing the diseased clannfear terrified me more than seeing the spider summons to be honest. I was doing a speedrun of a vanilla quest and I ran into it and I panicked slightly since it didn’t look like an ordinary clannfear. However, I am not a big fan of the custom races added by this mod (used for the enemies and recruit-able companions).
I enjoyed the house design and layout for the most part. The only thing I found odd is how you had to go through the east wing to reach the west wing. I could be wrong, but that is how I remember reaching the west wing. I will need to check that to confirm. I just figured the wings will be on opposite sides of the house/manor and not being connected to each other.
The first thing I actually noticed about the house was how incredibly red it was. I never seen a house that was so red before. Exterior and interior. So red. Very red. Much red. Okay, I’ll stop now. On an unrelated note: I loved the design for the mother nature statue, even if it did startle me in the beginning cause all I saw was this flash of white when I did a quick scan of the room. I also loved the bathtub and hot-tub, the auto disrobing and auto-equip script worked flawlessly.
I played this earlier without the addons since it was optional, also the downloads for the addons was taking an hour or more for each download. However, seeing all the various portals in the house made me curious about the addons for the house. The addons added a lot of amazing armor and weapons (including clothing) from various other mods such as Akaviri Imports, Dread Knight Armor and many more (there are 20+ mods included in this mod in total). I think the custom weapons and armor added were insanely awesome. They had amazing models and some had insane detail. Some of the weapons didn’t really fit into the style of the game since they look more suited in an anime. I think some of them were based on Japanese anime shows. I didn’t have a look at all the custom armor added into the game since I had a problem with the meshes. At least I think it was related to the meshes. Most of the armor seemed to be extremely revealing which does not suit my style or my idea of how armor should look like. It is just personal taste. Not sure what is causing the problem with the models since the same problem applies to all the female npcs added to the hideout. It could been because I did not install either Growlf’s Universal Skeleton or the BBB animation mod.
The staff of Magnus model seems very similar to the one from Skyrim, but I haven’t played Skyrim in ages so I cannot be sure. I really should try getting back into Skyrim. Many of the welkynd staffs use similar models, was hoping there would be more variation in the stones used. Same applies to the daedric staves, would prefer if the staves were more unique and tailored to the Daedric princes since the typical daedric texture doesn’t really suit some of the princes. Slight upset that I had issues with the armor, really wanted to check out some of the armor but most of them are so revealing. Doesn’t necessarily seem very efficient for combat situations. Besides, I am extremely fond of the current armor I am using for my character at the moment.
There is also multiple companions that you can recruit in this mod. Varying from a mud-crab to various custom races (which also had body issues if they were female model). You may need to download the optional addons specifically for the companions, but I never use companions personally. They drive me insane due to their AI package where they constantly charge at an enemy when you are trying to be stealthy or line up a good shot with a spell. Only times I had companions are often quest-related and they usually drive me insane since I have to constantly heal them and rush ahead to kill the enemies.
Edit: Be sure to read everything on the description for the mod, it is very lengthy but it is important so you do not have missing textures and all that. I do not know whether it was just me or not, but Oblivion crashed quite often when I entered areas related to this mod, as well experiencing lagging whenever I loaded my game. Not entirely sure if this issue is related to the mod or not. Will have to find out when I uninstall the mod.
Overall, Uncle Cross Hideout is a great house mod that the player can teleport to at anytime (via spell) and you are able to customize the settings for the mod to your own liking with a lesser power. My favorite aspect of the mod is all the custom weapons you can get from the optional addons. I always considered getting some of the mods that was included in the hideout but never got around to it since I mainly use one weapon (single-handed sword) and cycle through different spells. I loved the various weapon designs and seeing how they brought back weapons like the Daedric Katana gave me nostalgia since that was my weapon of choice in Morrowind. One of the weapons included in this mod had the same model as the dark night blade which is one of my swords that I use that isn’t vanilla Oblivion. Currently used a different sword as my main weapon.
The quest could been a little longer, felt too easy to get the key for me personally. I figured mages would at least had traps or puzzles to slow the player down from reaching them in their own domains. Similar to the puzzles used in the one quest from Knights of the Nine when you had to recover the shield of the crusader (if I remember) correctly since it had a good mixture of combat and puzzle solving. However, that is just my opinion and my character is rather high-leveled.