Review by Fargus64

"Awesome isn't the right word, but its the first that comes to mind"

Well, let's just say if the gaming world was a beauty contest, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion just might take the cake. An aromatic concoction of gorgeous landscapes and lucid sounds fill the land of Cyrodil as you valiantly trek through the massive landscape, vanquish evil foes, and save the world. Well, it probably won't go as smoothly as it sounds, but you get the idea.

Bethesda Software takes a great leap into next-gen gaming by introducing a pretty revolutionary, and mind-boggling realism, that seems to match no other RPG of its kind. With thousands of non-player characters, and hundreds of locations, you will be immersed into an entirely different world, a world in which you control its outcome, and choose your very own destiny. As cheesy as it may sound, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, proves to be a very interactive and compelling gaming experience that you really don't want to miss.

Graphics:

(Note: I do play this game on a 36” Dynex Plasma screen TV, so I have the capability of pushing the graphics to their full potential, a luxury some of you might not have, so pardon me for a second.)

The graphics in this game are stunning. Clarity throughout, from the beautiful waters, to the night sky, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion shows me some of the best graphics I've ever seen. Each city in the game has their own architectural styles and city layout, giving you a sense of diverseness no matter where you travel in the massive landscape. Even the forests are vivacious, from the rustling of the bushes as you walk by, to the trees swaying in the wind, Every aspect of the game seems to match that of the real world.

Not only is the landscape beautiful, but the characters in the game are also outstanding. Intricate facial designs and clothing styles give each person in the game their own distinct appearance, their own life. The detail of the armor you wear, and even the notches on the bow you use are just amazing little details scattered throughout the game. The only problem I have had with graphics and detail is the NPC's show little emotion, and the hair on most of the characters is greasy and seems to stick in place, other then that it's a beautiful ride. Whenever you play, you should get accustomed to watching a pallet of detail and brilliant colors, to go along with amazing realistic environments, and people.

Score: 10/10

Sound:

The sounds in this game are absolutely amazing. The sounds in the environment from the bustling of the inner city, to the wind slicing through the ferns and bushes, are awesome. Everything you could possibly make your character do in the game, is accompanied by a symphony of brilliant sounds and music. The music always seems to flow with the situation. From intense battles to calm hikes, the music is always fitting and interestingly composed, never annoying, but enjoyable. The sounds of footsteps are also a big plus in this game. I have always had problems in games before where the footsteps always sound clunky and terribly consistent, but this game really showed me that you can make a different sound when stepping on stone, to when stepping on grass, hard to believe huh?

The voiceovers in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion are also very well done. With over 200 hours of voice recording, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion always gives the people something to talk about. Although the faces might not show emotion, the voices of the many NPC's in the game make up for it. Its quite interesting when one minute you are talking to an intimidating Ogre, and the next you are listening to the high pitched squeal of a wood elf. All in all the sounds in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion have been some of the most enjoyable sounds I have ever listened to in a game.

Score: 10/10

Controls:

The controls in the game are very smooth for the most part and quite user friendly. With the thousands upon thousands of items though (even with a hotkey system) it does get somewhat cumbersome to manage them. Another control flaw is that there are portions of the game that are very easy to get glitched into, and very inaccessible. Sometimes I have been able to climb up almost vertical cliffs, while other times I could barely go up a steep flight of stairs. The games controls such as running, walking, and swimming are very easily done and very smooth, but when doing other technical things such as jumping, the game seems to glitch up at times. While jumping, it is possible to float (while in third person) and then glitch up steep mountainsides and nearly vertical paths, which can be helpful, but unrealistic. Although the basic controls are easy, there are a few glitches and other gaming flaws, which sometimes disrupt the flow of the game. For the most part Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has great controls, but I must consider its glitches.

Score: 8/10

Storyline:

The basic storyline of the game is that there is an evil force in the land of Cyrodil, that is trying to kill the Septim line (the ruling family), and rid the world of good. You start out creating a character, choosing from ten different races, and indulging in a very in depth create-a-character design system. You can change nearly every aspect on the face from the size of your brow line, to the color of your cheeks. After a sort of tutorial, which is the beginning of the storyline and game play, you are introduced to Cyrodil, and the beginning of your Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion life. Seeing as it took me about 50 hours to complete the main quest, (although if you do just the main quest it will be less) I feel I've barely scratched the surface of the game. The game is compelling and the storyline is thorough and interesting. I won't say exactly how the story unfolds as it would be unfair to those who haven't played the game so I will just rate it as I view it now, a major portion into the game.

Score: 9/10

Game play:

Now on to the most important part of the game, how fun it is to the player. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is the most open-ended game I have ever played in my entire life. After creating your character and stepping out into the real world, you basically can do whatever it is your little heart desires. You can instantly start out on the main quest, or do what I did, and start out exploring the world, and just living. You can do hundreds upon hundreds of things in the game such as explore the over 200 dungeons, talk to some of the thousands of people, or just train up some of your skills. The game basically gives you a white piece of paper, the size of Russia, and says, “Write your own story, however you like.” You can do almost everything imaginable from stealing items from a local store, helping out a poor woman with rodent problems, to killing a horde of goblins attacking a farmhouse. Whatever it is you could imagine, you could probably do in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, (except fly… you can't fly). Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is a sandbox of opportunities and a barrel of fun.

Score: 10/10

More positives:
- The enemies in the game level up with you, so you'll never have to worry about over/under training.
- The physics in the game is very well done, and fun to play with.
- Very short load times.
- Many skills and many ways to level up in them with interesting mini games.
- NPC's live their own lives, living and dieing along with you (even commit crimes and murders)
- Many different items and interesting ways of using them.
- Replay value is incredibly high.

More Negatives:
- Buying items is quite expensive at times, and almost impractical as well.
- Crimes are sometimes committed by accident, when you click on the wrong door, or accidentally hit someone.
- Glitches are sometimes quite annoying.
- Some characters really get annoying after while, and some you can't kill.
- You can't play it 24/7, you'll need sleep eventually.

Graphics: 10/10
Sound: 10/10
Controls: 8/10
Storyline: 9/10
Game Play: 10/10

Overall: Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion receives a 9/10. I just find it unreasonable to give a game a perfect score when it isn't actually perfect, but its pretty dang close. I would just like to say, wonderful job Bethesda and all who contributed to this games creation. It was an incredible experience. Also thanks for reading my review.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/19/08

Game Release: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (US, 03/20/06)


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