Review by Side_Winder
"The Elder Scrolls Live On"
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is a single-player RPG developed by Bethesda released March 2006. Although the previous game in the Elder Scrolls series is Morrowind, they don't directly follow the same story. They are, however, set in the same world, only a different region. Whereas Morrowind was set in Vvardenfell, Oblivion is set in Cyrodiil.
Oblivion hosts an area of land approximately 16 miles squared. It also uses something called Radiant AI, which gives NPCs targets to achieve for the day. They then go about reaching those targets in anyway they see fit. When you talk to an NPC they have a disposition between 1 and 100 depending on how much they like you. This can rise or fall if you bribe or treat them nicely, adding to the immense interaction.
Combat in Oblivion has had an upgrade since Morrowind! You now control when attack and block. Blocking at the right moment is essential if you want to stay alive for more than five seconds in a battle against a Minotaur. Sometimes, however, you might be better off dodging out of the way from an especially powerful attack because blocking would mean you crouching in pain.
The gameplay in Oblivion really is fantastic. You can do anything from tripping a wire to destroy a nasty goblin with a swinging mace to robbing that Imperial Captain which you seriously dislike.
Ah... Beautiful... One minute into the game and you get to hear the amazing sound of Patrick Stewart as he wanders over to you. Everyone actually talks! Even the beggars in the Imperial City. The music in this game is incredible and was created by a bloke some of you may know: Jeremy Soule. He also composed the tracks to Morrowind and Guild Wars.
As previously stated, Oblivion sports an above ground landscape of 16 square miles. This is mostly covered by forests. Beautiful forests. Filled with trees, rocks and.. other stuff which is in forests. The trees and grass react to the weather, i.e. swaying when it's windy. Even on the lowest of low settings this game still looks great, so those of you who barely meet the minimum requirements, there is still hope for you yet. The only downside to the graphics is that even the highest specced computers can't run Oblivion to its full capacity. The developers, Bethesda, made it so PC players can either choose Anti-Aliasing or High Dynamic Range. The technology is simply not good enough for today's home users to run them both.
This game is an RPG. The character you choose could be a lowly thief, stealing from every guy he/she meets, or could be a grand Knight helping even the poorest beggar. There's many, many possibilities to be tried out. Although the main quest lasts maybe 25-30 hours, the side quests and other things to be done could easily take you another 100-200 hours to finish. Even after only one week the modders are at work creating mods for every person out there. If there's something you want added to the game, it's likely that it's possible. You just need someone skilled enough to do it ;)
For the folk out there smart enough, you should be wondering "why, if he's given all the different criteria 10/10 does he give the main score 9/10?".. Well.. Like any other game, this does have flaws. The Radiant AI especially has one large flaw. The characters are pretty stupid. They can have a conversation with another NPC, only to repeat the same things to the same guy ten seconds later. Many people, including me, have had problems with the game crashing to desktop or the whole system restarting. This is - to put it quite simply - annoying. Hopefully there will be a patch to remedy this.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/28/06
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