Review by lone_banana
"Xbox 360's Savior"
The Elder Scrolls series has been around for a very long time, and this is the fourth installment. Many RPG fans will agree that this could possibly be the greatest game of all time. If you are a fan of action/adventure games you will love Oblivion. It is a giant step up from TES3: Morrowind, and even if you hated Morrowind you will end up going crazy over this game.
-Oblivion's graphics were absolutely stunning. It has some of the best graphics ever seen in a video game. From the snow-capped mountains in the north of Cyrodiil from Cloud Ruler Temple's viewpoint to the swampy Blackmarsh in the southeast, everything is BEAUTIFUL. If you would buy a game for graphics, this would be it. With an HD-TV, you'll be drooling all over yourself. NPC's emotions show up decently. You can tell what emotion an NPC is feeling just by the way that they talk and their facial expression. Bears look like actual bears, wolves look like actual wolves. The only con I could think of was the difficulty of creating a character who was not horrifyingly ugly. But even with a little time, you can take care of that. You can choose between a male or a female, and you have a variety of races you can use. Don't want to look like a human? Feel free to be an Argonian (a swamp-dwelling lizard creature) or a big strong orc, there is much to choose from. In the end, the choice of race does not make that big of a difference because you can get spells and rings that do anything that a certain race starts with, so don't fret too much.
-The sound is not too important to me, thanks to the iPod support, but the sound in Oblivion is done very nicely. It helps you predict certain events, like enemies noticing you (because the music will start getting faster and kind of creepy sounding). You can hear yourself walking and the sound will change on different surfaces. Very nice overall, just a little too repetitive and boring. Maybe in the next game, they can add in more variety of music so you do not find yourself hearing the same boring music in every single town.
-Oblivion's controls are smooth and easy to learn, BUT there just isn't enough buttons for what you need. You will find yourself constantly going into the magicka screen on your journal to set a different spell that you don't have room for on your hotkey menu. One thing they have changed from Morrowind is the ability to cast a spell while having a weapon out, which works extremely well for "Battlemage" characters. You will find this extremely useful and much better than the old switch-heavy system.
-Oblivion's combat system was just...kind of bad. It's easy once you figure out the whole block/slash system but seriously, if you are working on a game like this, you could have at LEAST put more depth into it. Hopefully the next installment in the series will focus more on combat. Everything else works extremely well, like pick pocketing, which has improved DRAMATICALLY since Morrowind. Oblivion uses a leveling system, which puts enemies and things you find around (like in dungeons) the same level as you, so it's never too easy or hard. If your character is unbalanced, it can be pretty hard though, so make sure to pay attention in the beginning of the game when you select your class and major skills. Some people hate the leveling system, but I personally find it good. You can keep playing this game and it will never get too easy. In Morrowind, for example, you could get the best weapon in the game from the beginning and get through very fast, but that is not the case at all with Oblivion. [Example- you will find an iron long sword when you are a low level but as you get higher you will find steel, silver, etc. on enemies.]
-Oblivion's lackluster story will have you going, "Huh?". It is pretty boring and straightforward. Betheseda probably didn't spend too much time writing a more than decent story because they focused so much on everything else. Even so, this story is good enough. This has you starting out as a prisoner thrown in jail for unknown reasons, when suddenly the emperor and his escorts need to use your prison cell for a secret escape route! Pressing in on a tile, a whole wall of your cell breaks over and is left open for you to follow.
Rent or Buy: BUY IT! This game lasts forever, because you can basically do anything you want. I cannot even count how many quests I have done so far. This game is great if you want to get through slow days fast. You can waste hours at a time without getting bored. Sadly, it has a long ramp-up time so you will not start having fun until you are about 15 hours into it, but by then you will love every second of it.
Definitely Xbox 360's best game. This is Game of the Year material.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/10/06
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