Review by wolverinefan
"One of the best games on the 360"
I will state this right now but I really didn't like the third Elders Scroll game. It felt half hearted. Tat and I just found some minor aspects of it annoying. That being said I must admit I had some interest in Oblivion after playing it in a store. It was just always rented out. Well someone finally returned it. Is it as classic as everyone says? Is it a must own 360 game? Read on!
Oblivion starts off with you in a prison cell. The king and his men enter to reveal a secret passage. You are asked to come along. You get separated, but make your way back. There the king gives you an item to deliver. Now you set off on a quest to bring the world to peace once again and stop oblivion. It's a pretty good plot and I like it much better than the plot in the third game. Actually, so far it's the best RPG plot on the 360 so far. That really isn't saying much and with Blue Dragon right around the corner it may no longer be true but truth be told the demo for Blue Dragon wasn't impressive so maybe, just maybe Oblivion will keep that title for the rest of this year. Of course we do have other rpgs on the horizon so anything could happen in 2007 for RPG fans.
Graphic wise this game looks rather good. Objects are nicely detailed, the world is huge but the only draw back is that the game can lag a little and the draw distance is a bit iffy at times. Character models look good and I like how you can build your character and you are given a fair amount of options. The world does feel a bit sparse at times though. Wild life and enemies really don't fill the world up and you can go a rather far distance without seeing a single enemy or random person. Realistic? Maybe but it also creates a boring atmosphere. I know it seems like I'm making this over world a bit boring but there is some wild life and still that does pop up but more often then not you really don't run into anything to fight unless you're in a dungeon.
The sound in the game is rather good as well. Crashing of a wolf rushing at you, the sound of stepping into water. It all sounds amazing. It's one of the few 360 games that really just amazed me with the details of the sound. The music is all instrumental and fits the mood of the game very well. You can always tell when an enemy is near because the music slightly changes. I really enjoyed the music for this game. It's a shame that the LE didn't come with a soundtrack or anything. I would actually consider buying the soundtrack for this game if it was available. Voice work in the game is good as well but to be honest it wasn't anything to amazing but it sure wasn't Final Fantasy X quality.
Control in the game is very simple. It even has a tutorial at the start which sets you up very well for the rest of the game. I didn't have any problems here like I did with the last game. You have an attack button, a block button,. You can go into stealth mode with the click of a button as well. No combos or anything is needed. It's gaming controls at the bare minimum and it's one of the easiest games I've played due to the very simple and user friendly controls.
Oblivion is a very meaty game. If you don't have the time to invest in it then maybe it isn't for you. The world is huge and filled with a ton of dungeons and other quests to sink your teeth into. It is maybe one of the deepest games on a console to date because of the amount of things to do and the size of its world. I know a few people who have put in over 200 hours into this bad boy. It can also be too much of a daunting task for some because if you're not willing to invest that much time into it then you may not get your monies worth.
The dungeon layouts are nice, enemies are hostile. It really stays lively even if the over world has sparse enemies at times. The dungeons while slightly linear at first do get a bit more interesting as you go on. Multiple path ways that usually end with a dead end but it really keeps you on your toes if you're having a problem and don't want to end up trapped by an enemy. Towns are full of gussy, who you can kill if you want but that is frowned upon.
The game even allows you to join with the dark side and if you're into achievements then you'll want to do it all. I remember joining the dark side, going outside and seeing this cloaked person who was transparent. So I killed him. This then failed my dark side role as I had killed the leader. The game just didn't inform me that he was a good guy and it can be hard to tell that kind of thing at times.
For me to sit here and talk about what this game offers for game play is difficult. You can buy a house in every town, join clans and arenas. Or you can just follow the plot line. Hell, you can just do those dungeons that are lying around all over. It really is up to the gamer to decide what way they want to advance in the game. The story line is forces so there is no choice in how to go about it until later in the game but you can enter many different areas whenever you feel like it and it can take a large chunk of your time just to hit up all of the dungeons that are lying around. It's also worth investigating what they do have because you could get better weapons or armor. But again every thing this game has to offer depends on what you, the gamer, wants to do. This is almost how the game Fable should have played.
The game features a pretty decent character maker and then it offers a lot of choices for class and skills. Very few people will play the game the same way if ever. Your choices in that opening dungeon really reflect how you will be playing rest of the game. Be it skills sets, your job class or just the design of that character, it's up to you. I did find it hard at first to adjust the colors and shape of the character but after a little tweaking it would all fit into place rather nicely. It also feels a bit too in depth at times when you're making your character and for a few fleeting moments I did feel a bit overwhelmed.
Oblivion is a hack and slash RPG at it's core. You walk around in either first person or third person and for once I prefer first person view. You run up to enemies, attack, guard or whatever. The way you fight is also all up to you as you can just use a bow or magic or whatever you want. The decision is always yours. Just watch because weapons and armor do weaken over time. That was one thing I did find annoying but thankfully it isn't as badly done as it is in the Dark Cloud series. But you also need to be careful of how heavy a weapon or piece of armor is as it can slow your character down a lot. That kind of aspect I like and it helps build your character the way you want. Maybe you want a very strong but slow character but that kind of thing can also backfire on you. I always find myself carrying a lighter weapon sometimes in case speed is needed over brawn but again it's up to the gamer.
The game is huge. Maybe people have put in hundreds of hours. Also there is downloadable content with new story arcs and dungeons. Just announced at E3 2007 was a new collectors set with the Shivering Isles expansion and one of the dungeons and Microsoft has released a few dungeons for free on their marketplace for limited times. That kind of additional content really adds a lot more to the game and with Shivering Isles it adds some added achievements as well.
I really don't think this review does Oblivion justice. It's such a huge immersive game that it's hard to put it all into words. Put your social life on the shelf for the next month or so and buy this game this fall with the new collectors set because if you don't have the Elite 360 then I doubt you'll have enough room for all of the bonus content and everything else you're able to buy with the 360's marketplace. This is by far one of the grandest games on the 360 to date and it can also be played on the PC or PS3 so don't feel left out if you don't own a 360. It really is worth all of the hype.
Story - 8/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 10/10
Control - 9/10
Game Play - 10/10
Replay Value - 10/10
Final Score - 10/10
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 08/08/07
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