Originally Posted by The Doctor
Apparently Oblivion was "better", I'm told, though I personally won't end up finding out.
In my opinion it wasn't. Of the three Elder Scrolls games I've played (not counting expansion packs, but counting essential mods) Oblivion was probably the one I liked the least.
Morrowind was great because of its storyline and exotic setting, but less so due to the uninspiring quest structure and being a bit too much hands-off in letting you figure out on your own where to go and what to do, encouraging Play-by-Wiki gameplay. Many of the dungeon instances (Ancestral Tombs in particular) were also quite boring to explore since they rarely ever turned out to have any reason for you to enter them. The lack of fast travel (aside from boats, stilt striders and mages guild teleports), while making the world more immersive also became a bit of a chore after a while, when you had to traverse the same pieces of already explored and cleared ground over and over, going back and forth doing quests (or searching for quest objectives), especially combined with the snails pace movement speed before getting a respectable Athletics rank. Later on with high athletics and jump/slowfall potions moving about became much less of an issue though. Jumping halfway across the continent in a single leap was quite handy.
Oblivion had pretty landscapes, but they were a bit too mundane overall to impress me (not counting Shivering Isles). It would probably have been better if they stuck with the lore version of Cyrodiil, making it a vast jungle, rather than the Medieval Europe it was transformed into in Oblivion. The main plot was also very uninspiring to me. In Morrowind and Skyrim your character is Somebody (Nerevarine, Dragonborn). In Oblivion you were cast as the Somebody's errand girl, and remained there for the rest of the storyline while Martin Septim was the one who was essential for moving things along (again not counting Shivering Isles). The loss of the open world (with Cities now being instanced), copypaste dungeons and loss of flight/jump magic also annoyed me a little. The horrible user interface compared to Morrowind also didn't do the game any favors.
Skyrim improved on graphics further and fixed some of the flaws of the previous games. More varied environments, more distinct dungeons, more interesting and unique quests (aside from the Radiant FedEx quests), Shout magic, and you're back to being someone special again. On the down side they managed to make the user interface in Skyrim even worse than the one in Oblivion, and they dumbed down the game system perhaps a bit too much (for good or ill). The main plot was also more interesting, but a bit too short IMO.