Malevolent, one of the most popular mods on the Oblivion Nexus site, and one of the most downloaded mods made by Simyaz. Simyaz is also the creator of the popular Tears of the Fiend (one of my personal favorites) and Ruined-Tale’s Tale. A mod that I never got around to playing. For those who have played Simyaz’s mods, they will be familiar with the complex multi-path story-driven playing style associated with his mods (that was quite a mouthful).
Malevolent begins when you read the latest edition of the Black Horse Courier, talking about military buildup to the east of Skingrad. You can choose to go straight to locating the military camp, or to Skingrad to see if you can find more information about the situation. If you decide to go to Skingrad, be warned that the ‘messenger’ whose name I cannot remember, may have problems trying to reach the military camp for some reason. It is easily fixed by reloading a save prior to talking to him. Reaching the military encampment, you offer assistance to destroy the menace, whilst exploring the tower you come across a unique suit of armor. Or were you summoned by the armor? Something about the armor calls you to it, to wear it.
The armor has a mind of its own, dwelling in a hidden part within your mind. Now you have to make a choice: resist the armor and possibly destroy it, take up with the armor’s offer for full symbiosis or take a more neutral path by balancing on a very thin line between the ‘good’ and ‘evil’ paths of the story.
I never fully explored the paths in this story, I only have played through one story path and that was the good path. Good path meant I was actively going against the armor in trying to resist its influence. The mod was relatively short for the good path. This could be because I most likely missed out on some important side-quests related to the good path. However the mod was originally intended to have one path, which was the evil path. Therefore the evil route would have more content and side-quests relating to it. Whichever the case, I am pretty sure I missed out on some side-quests although I have not looked at the walkthrough guide to confirm that suspicion. I might replay the mod to see how the other two-story paths differ if I have the motivation.
I really liked the reference made to Tears of the Fiend by giving the two main characters a cameo appearance. The custom music was a nice touch as well, little too loud at certain parts that made hearing the dialogue impossible at times. Thankfully there were subtitles so you can follow the conversation. The armor’s ‘realm’ was interesting as well, especially when you see it evolve as the story progresses.
Story-wise, it was interesting to see it develop although the direction of where the plot was taking became more obvious. Especially if you see all the hints/clues given to you as you play. I enjoyed the little side-quest where you talk to the ‘creations’ of the armor within his realm, in the bar. I admit to getting a little fond of the npc since I felt her character was well-developed albeit a little rushed at times. Note to self: stop getting so attached to fictional characters.
The only bumps in the mod was that it was unclear you could escape from the city when you were about to be arrested. I was tempted to use the teleport spell from the Ancient Towers mod but decided to do a proper escape attempt. Although I admit, I did end up resorting to using my chameleon spell to make it easier to sneak out of the city. Another bump encountered was probably my fault since I got a little impatient in after the directions given by the note, to find the location of the tomb. The instructions just felt too long-winded for me but I did finally follow the clues in the note. Rather clever of Simyaz to make the location unmarked by the map so you cannot use the console to cheat and discover the place.
The mod ends with a cliff-hanger. A seriously good cliff-hanger that leaves the person wanting more. However, it seems Simyaz seems to have left the modding scene leaving the story of Malevolent uncompleted. Unless he has continued modding and uploading it elsewhere away from the Nexus sites. Something that I would be unaware about. Shame since I would had really liked to see the conclusion to the story about the armor and bring justice to the “aspiring champion of Cyrodiil” wannabe. Yes, I have an extreme dislike for a fictional character, deal with it. He needs to die in hole filled with flames.