Review by AndroydXero
"Amazing. Pure and simple."
Well, Oblivion's finally been released, and it's one serious RPG. Amazing graphics, scenery to die for, brilliant AI, nearly limitless exploration values, and a compelling story to tie it all together.
When I first started Oblivion up, I spent a good 45 minutes in the character creation page alone, just testing it out; the amount of customization for your character's looks is astounding. All NPCs are created with this engine too, so no two will ever look the identical. After a brief tutorial dungeon, and the opening plot to the story, you then get to choose your class, or make a custom one. I then proceeded to create my Ninja class (:D) and continued on until I finally got out of the tutorial area (which is a sewer), and out into the wilderness.
I guess being in a dark, damp dungeon/sewer doesn't really show off just how good this game looks. Right off the bat, there's flowers, bushes, grass, trees, butterflies, a river, and one amazingly detailed sky, and it all looks so fantastic. The sound is equally astounding, with a great mix of quiet ambient noises and distant voices of rogues or any human characters, for that matter. And this is all in the first 30 seconds of leaving the sewers.
The gameplay is great, and is worthy of the Elder Scrolls title. Pretty much anything you want to do in-game, you can. Want to be a bandit, break into people's houses, and loot them for everything they've got? Go ahead. Always wished to just travel the world with an iron fist, crushing anything and everything in your path? Nobody's stopping you. There's nearly limitless ways you can go about travelling the world, too. As soon as the tutorial ends, so does any linear gameplay. The story's compelling enough to drive you to want to get all the way through it, and is quite immersive. The AI is wonderfully diverse, with people acting and speaking in a very personalized fashion; no two people will ever have the same moods or actions. Even mobs act diverse and different from each other; some will charge in and fight, while others will wait for you to attack first. The sheer diversity of the NPCs and mobs keep the game feeling fresh; something alot of other games should have as well. Multiplayer (no, not MMORPG-style; something where players use their existing character to play over the net/LAN with a couple more friends) would've definitely been really fun, but it doesn't detract from the experience one bit.
So, what DOES detract from the experience? First thing, that is probably the biggest problem to me, is the horses. You'll get your first horse after about 1-3 hours if you focus only on the story mode, and if you talk to a certain NPC who owns the horse in a nearby stable. The horses are more of a pain then anything, since you can't attack while riding them (not even with a bow), it's difficult to turn around, or turn at all for that matter, and they can get stuck on little things such as rocks that are hidden by the grass. Several times I've simply left my horse back at a town to travel on foot again, because it's much less of a headache. I'm sure it'll come in handy when I need to travel too far to get there on foot in a reasonable time, but for now it's not all that bad, since I get to explore the beautiful scenery, and gain some much needed experience and loot. Also, raiding houses during the day seems impossible, as you're always bound to get caught during the middle of the looting on the first house, but in a sense that's realistic, I guess.
Still, after everything, the game's still amazing, and definitely worth the money. The amount of time it'll take to get through the story, let alone all the side missions is intense; an estimated 300+ hours for an average gamer.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/24/06
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