Review by Shugo841
"The greatest adventure to ever unfold in the video game."
By now, I'm sure almost everyone has played or at least heard of Oblivion. If you haven't... read this. You've been living in the dark for a while now and need to see this.
I really can't think of many ways this can be improved. I mean, I play on the lowest possible setting and it still looks beautiful. The highest setting is almost like looking at someone a few meters away from you. Looking at flaming gates being torn down and a fireball flying towards you is just amazing to just look at... until the fireball hits you and you realize that you only have so much health.
Everything is easy to do, from executing combat techniques to making complex potion recipes. The only problem you're really likely to have is leveling some of your more important skills. You could rather constantly fight with a sword for hours on end and you won't gain more than a few levels. On the other hand, cast "Shield" on yourself for about 20 minutes and you'll have almost mastered Alteration. The leveling is unbalanced because of this, making some skills ridiculously easy to level and some nearly impossible to level at a decent rate.
The scope of the world is amazing. If something's more than a couple centimeters away on the world map, you won't want to touch it for a while in the game because of how long it'll take to get there. There are some quests I know are easy but I have much better things to do than walk for half an hour to get to some obscure cave on the other end of the map. Luckily, you can fast-travel to any location on the map that you've been to already. It makes the game seem much smaller because you only have to wait for a loading screen rather than follow a road to the next town for a while, but who really wants to run along a road being patrolled by guards for such a long period of time?
The combat is rather shallow, admittedly. You can take out a large chunk of the enemies in the game with only a couple of hits, so using some of those special power attacks really aren't usually necessary unless you go into your options and move the difficulty bar further to the right. Then the combat comes to the point where you need a rather specific character build if you want to win any fights. At least with the variable difficulty you can make the game harder if you need a challenge, or easier if you don't seem to be inflicting any damage.
The AI in the game is annoying. There'll be guards who won't care that you just murdered a person right behind them, and then a couple minutes later that same guard comes after you for robbing some person who didn't even detect you when you're nowhere near the guard. Your allies will often jump in front of you during combat, so you'll be charged for murder a few times without meaning to kill a person. Monsters will often look at you and run after you, and then you'll cast an invisibility spell and it will be like you were never there to begin with. On the plus side, the citizens of the towns are very talkative and will talk about various bits of information depending on what's going on at that time. These conversations can be utterly pointless to you or they could tell you where you have to go next.
The soundtrack is beautiful. I've just sat around listening to the background music for a while without doing anything else. It's soothing at one moment, and then an enemy will come and it will speed up and change to a more threatening tone. The voice-overs are also well done. The lips seem to move almost in synch with the voices, and the voices themselves usually match the character who's speaking. The only time the voices are off are when you ask about rumors, when it goes to a more generic voice. At least that voice goes with the gender and race of the speaker.
You are an unknown person, thrown in prison for reasons unknown, even to yourself. Then the Emperor comes to escape through a passageway hidden in your cell, where you supposedly shouldn't even be. So you escape, watch things unfold, and then get thrown into a plot to stop some cult from opening gates to Oblivion, which is basically hell in this game. In a nutshell, some nobody rises up and is tasked with saving the world. It's been done before, only changed enough that it takes some effort to actually see that it's been done before. It works, though, and at times you'll be playing for hours just to see what happens next.
Major lag issues on older computers, and long load times on all but the best computers available. There are some bugs in various places, but most have been fixed by patches. Overall, the only major problem here is the load times. You can sometimes grab a drink and makes some popcorn in the time it takes for the areas to load. And there are lots of load screens. Every time you enter or leave a building, every time you move between the town and the outside world, every time you go through those god-forsaken oblivion gates, you get a load screen that takes forever to load. You'll learn quickly to detest the load screen.
A great game to buy, especially if you've got the money and a great computer. In fact, even if your computer's a few years old you should get this game. Playing through huge battles, sneaking into the Imperial Palace... sometimes you just don't get any better than this.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/13/07
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