Review by xFactor101x

"I'll just play for a little longer..."

In the war between the next-gen consoles, the outcome depends on the system exclusives that demonstrate why each system should be the best. The Xbox 360, as of right now, doesn't have too many of those types of games. As much as I like playing my 360, I can say that there just aren't too many "must have" titles out. There are some good games available, but very few can justify a purchase. However, I'm happy to say the list of must-have title has just grown a little longer with Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Gameplay

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, developed by Bethesda Softworks/2K Games, is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that should be shared by all owners of the Xbox 360. Set in a fantasy world full of mystery and wonder, Elder Scrolls is an epic role-playing game that will have you adventuring into the start of the morning. The fun begins at the start of the game when you are asked to create your character. You choose everything from your skin and eye colors to your race and class. It all depends on what type of hero (or villain) you wish to create. If you want to be a warrior, skilled in melee combat, then you would pick the race that best suits that choice.

After you've created your character and completed a well crafted tutorial, the real game begins. The first thing you will notice is the controls. They just feel right for this game. The left shoulder buttons are reserved for blocking and attacking. You use the left thumbstick to move your character while the right thumbstick is used to control the camera. The d-pad is used as hotkeys, a short cut to items from your inventory or newly learned spells. The X,Y,B, and A buttons are for; holstering your weapon, jumping, toggling your inventory, and actions (like opening a door). The left and right bumpers are for "grab" and "cast" respectively. Put it all together and you have a well mapped out control scheme. Only when I was first learning the controls did I have a problem remembering which button was which. Once I got the hang of it I was casting spells, blocking attacks, and taking down monsters with ease.

The second thing you will notice is how much fun it is to just "live" as your newly created character. After the tutorial and the game begins, you're given a choice of how you will live out your days in Elder Scrolls IV. You can follow the main story ridding the world of evil, do side quests ranging from solving crimes to committing them, or just explore the country side. It doesn't matter which route you take, they all equal a good time. There are difficult segments in Elder Scrolls but they won't bother you because of all the fun you will have. You can even join guilds and take on jobs to further their reputation. This brings up a whole list of entertaining tasks to complete. There is just so much to do in this game that you could easily forgetof the important things that need to be done in your own life.

OVERALL: 9/10

Graphics

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has some of the best graphics I have seen in a video game. There were times when I just stood in one place and watched the clouds go by. I stared in amazement when the sun went down and pink and orange blanketed the landscape. When a storm was approaching, you would see the sky turn dark as lighting danced in the distance. It is safe to say that there were a lot of amazing graphical moments while playing Elder Scrolls.

The game is played in a first person view (there is a third person view however), contributing to the immersion factor since you see everything from your character's perspective. If you can see a castle far off in the distance it will look blurry. When you finally reach the castle you will see each and every stone that was needed in order to build it. If you look closer you will see that the bricks have aged over time and are now chipping away. That's the type of detail you'll find in Elder Scrolls IV; the developers paid close attention to how things look in life and then properly transferred them over into this game. This level of detail also holds true to the NPC's (non-player characters) in Elder Scrolls. Everything from animals to monsters look like they really exist ten feet away from you. Even the tall grass your character walks through from time to time is rendered realistically, moving and swaying according to the strength and direction of the wind. You won't find better grass on your front lawn.

OVERALL: 10/10

Sound

The sound quality in Elder Scrolls IV is simply great. You will hear footsteps when your character walks, the crackle from a nearby fire, and water flowing from a nearby stream; it all sounds real. While nature's great, your ears really get a treat when you start fighting some of the other inhabitants of Elder Scrolls. You will hear your enemies draw their sword before charging at you as well as their last breath when you strike them down. You will hear the "clang" of metal as your character rages in battle. I can't tell you how cool it is to hear your character draws their sword. As if the visuals weren't enough, the excellent audio makes Tamriel even more realistic.

One thing that sets this game apart from other open-ended RPG's is that all of the dialogue in the game is spoken (except when your character talks). All the voice actors did a wonderful job of delivering their lines and really make the characters come alive. If you just stand around you'll over-hear the NPC's talking to each other about their daily happenings - they even discuss things you have done in the game that might have affected their everyday life.

OVERALL: 10/10

Fun

Like I said before, this is an incredibly fun game. If you ever wanted to know what it was like to be an adventurer in all those fantasy stories, then playing Elder Scroll IV: Oblivion is the next best thing to acting in a live action film. You would be doing yourself an injustice not to at least try the game out.

OVERALL: 9/10

Best or Worse

This is a section that I hope is unique to my reviews only. I pick the best or worst thing about the game and go into detail about it.

The best thing about Elder Scrolls IV is its replay ability. After you have completed the main quest, you can still go back and complete all the side quests that you missed. Why not try beating the game as a character of a different race? Since every race has it's own strengths and weaknesses, it's almost impossible to have the same experience twice. It would take you a pretty long time to find every item, complete every quest and solve every mystery with every race available to you in Elder Scrolls.

OVERALL: 10/10

Conclusion

I had a wonderful experience playing Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and plan on experiencing it all over again. If you're looking for a good, finely-detailed open-ended RPG, I encourage you to go ahead and pick up a copy; you won't regret it.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/25/09

Game Release: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (EU, 03/24/06)


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