Review by Hurgle77
"Size Isn't Everything"
I don't buy too many games yet I am a huge fan of RPGs which is why I brought my Xbox 360 along with the game I was most excited about, Oblivion. The game boasted a big storyline, character customization, a huge world and a vast array of people to meet along the way and why it delivers on all these points, I felt very letdown by other parts of the game.
It is very hard for me to judge the graphics in this game as they are some of the most beautiful I have seen. The towns look almost perfect and walking through forests and countrysides at night is mesmerising. You wonder how this is possible when the world is so large. However, I found the game to be horrendously let down by pop-up, to the point that the only way you could really experience the beauty of the world was to stay perfectly still. Whether this is the same on non Xbox versions I don't know yet it really hampered it for me. In saying this, there was hardly any pop up-up in the towns and inside so I have still decided to give the graphics 8 out of 10.
The story of this game is poor, standard fare and instantly forgettable. You start in a jail cell and when the emperor has to escape, the escape route just happens to be through your cell giving you your chance to escape. When the emperor is killed, the guards then decide you, a criminal, should be the one to send word to another town which all seems a bit ridiculous to me. Throughout the game you often act as messenger rather than protagonist and with your character not actually being able to speak properly (you can only ask about a set list of things, normally just one word) it is difficult to end up caring for your character or any of the other standard good people or evil people for that matter. Add to this an ending which I found a horrible anti-climax by the time the credits have finished rolling at the end you will have forgotten what you have just done.
The exploring of this game is probably my favourite part as the landscapes and towns vary so much this is the only thing I found genuinally rewarding. The fighting is unbelievably poor. Using just one button for sword attacks makes fighting unbelievably repetitive and while I initially got over this by using a lot of magic it is clearly a lot easier to use your best spell over and over again. There are hardly any interesting and different fights either. Another problem is a lot of the game is spent closing Oblivion gates, and to close each gate you essentially have to do the same thing;- climb to the top of a tall tower and take the magic gem. After you have done this for the umpteenth time you may lose the will to play this game as it is so repetitive and you don't even get the reward of a nice cut scene.
Why this does not normally deserve a category to itself, I was shocked by the amount of fatal glitches I found in this game. It is essential to always have more than one save as you may just find a door suddenly decides to never let you pass leaving you trapped in a room. This happened to me on 3 separate occasions, and considering I didn't even complete all the side-quests and I'm yet to encounter a fatal fault on any of my other Xbox games I found this very annoying.
I have only played this game once so I am not the best to judge. However considering the dull main story and a poor ending, it didn't remotely appeal to me to ever pick it up again, so I traded it in. However, I see there is playability to do it at least once more as an evil and a good person if you do enjoy it yet I didn't feel it was worth it as as in most RPGs, 98% of the game will remain the same.
Although I realise I have been very critical throughout the review, I still believe this game is OK, just no better. I found it fun to play through once, as it was only in hindsight I thought the storyline was quite terrible. Also it is set in an absolutely breathtaking world and one which is deserving of a better game. I did enjoy playing this game once through but I found all the exploring and sidequests I did were wasted hours as this is a game with an unmemorable storyline and an uncommunicative protagonist. It could have been so much better.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 09/05/08
Game Release: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (EU, 03/24/06)
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