Review by Unr3al39
Bethesda's fourth addition into the Elder Scrolls universe puts you in the middle of an immersive fantasy world, where you forge your own path into the adventures that await you. It combines traditional role-playing elements with a first-person perspective, and boasts breathtaking visuals. After first playing this game, I can honestly say that I could not put it down for weeks. It was such an awe-inspiring experience as a video game. The first thing you'll notice about the game is it's superior graphics and realistic effects. From dark and gloomy underground caverns to snow-covered peaks to lush, wooded forests, the atmosphere created by the game rates almost as high as a game can go. Once you've explored the beautiful and richly-detailed world of Tamriel, you won't soon forget it. The character models are also realistic and memorable. The game itself is really quite a feat from a technological standpoint. The reflections coming from different objects in the game, such as light hitting your sword, were especially well-done and realistic.
The gameplay is everything you would expect if you have ever played The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, although it's also been greatly improved upon. Whether you're underground exploring crypts and tombs, or walking through a peaceful village in the afternoon, the game never fails to set the mood for wherever you might be, and it really makes you feel like you're a part of the game in every way. The perspective was done well, (and you can even change it to third-person with the stroke of a key- if you prefer) and the combat system was done well. You basically click with the first mouse button to attack with one of the game's many weapons, and hold the other mouse button to block with a shield. Spells and items also play a large role in the game, and the cool thing is that you can choose whatever kind of character you want to be. You can be a warrior, a thief, an assassin, a mage, a merchant, anything you want. The possibilities are endless in Oblivion, as you'll soon learn.
The game world is epic, you can spend hours and hours exploring the world if you like. There's a lot of extra content to be had besides what the main story offers, (which is over 20 hours alone- and you don't even have do any of it at all!) You can join a guild if you like, which will range from doing noble quests and adventures in the Warrior's Guild all the way to taking contracts from the Dark Brotherhood, a band of trained assassins. There are lots of main cities, which are huge, and also many small towns and villages, and people populate all of them. Interacting with all the characters is as fun as you would expect in a massive game like Oblivion. Most of the enemies in the game are levelled according to your own, and your skills will all rise depending on how much you actually use each different skill or spell, which can range from jumping around to mixing potions, so the difficulty in the game always manages to be just right.
All the sound in the game was top-notch quality, with the music in the game coming from award-winning composer Jeremy Soule (Guild Wars, Star Wars: KOTOR). All of the music was memorable and beautifully composed. The sounds coming from the different areas of the game were realistic and exciting, and were all put in the right place. Little details like your swords slashing and hitting different types of surfaces were there, and a lot of work went into everything, as you can tell if you play the game.
As stated before, the replay value of the game is great. Whether you take the path of good and decide to help your fellow people and become their hero, or align yourself with evil and cause chaos and destruction, you can easily lose yourself in the world of Tamriel for hundreds and hundreds of hours, and still never run out of things to do. You don't even have to touch the main quest if you don't want to, as there are easily more things you can put your time into. From the guilds to all the exploration and character interaction, and fighting hordes of monsters and creatures, you will never get bored with Oblivion. Heck, the fun doesn't even end there. In the PC version of Oblivion, anyone can download the Elder Scrolls Construction Set and start making their very own mods and additions to the game! You can make your own items, quests, dungeons, buildings, characters, and just about anything you want to add into the game world, and you can even share your mods with other players, effectively making the game never-ending.
To conclude my review of this modern masterpiece, I would just like to say that no matter what kind of gamer you are, whether you're a fan of traditional first-person shooters or role-playing games, or just any kind of game in a medieval fantasy setting, that this game will definitely have something for you. The graphics and sound are nice, and the gameplay is intuitive, but as I have stated before, the one quality of the game that truly shines is the tremendous replay value. In a game like Oblivion, this can be a great blessing indeed. So if you haven't played the game yet, and you are into this kind of game, or any of the above mentioned genres, you should really check it out. It might just prove to be one of the best games you've ever played.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/04/08
Game Release: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Collector's Edition) (US, 03/20/06)
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