Review by richy340
"Amazing Game with a Few Serious Flaws"
Elder Scrolls IV... since I got my 360, it's been the game I've been wanting to play. Having preordered it along with my 360 in August, I've been waiting a long time. Well, it finally arrived (At the same time as GRAW, so I'm dividing my time accordingly), and from my experiences so far, it is truly an epic, breathtaking game. Some minor flaws blemish an otherwise amazing experience, but these are minor enough that if you own an Xbox 360 and are sick of only playing shooters and sports games for the past 6 months, don't hesitate to pick it up.
Well, the graphics in this game are the best I've ever seen. GRAW was really good, and Battlefield 2 looks pretty sharp on a high end PC, but neither can compare to the sheer detail and beauty of the world. When I first started out (HD 720p), I was immediately amazed by the level of detail on all characters, even generic enemies such as rats. The environments are huge, the amount of detail is astounding. One can easily be confused into thinking they're looking at real life objects as opposed to animated ones. My favorite part is looking off in the distance and what seems like a scenic horizon, only to find out I can actually go there and explore. Watch videos, because my explanation does not do it justice.
Great sound, voice acting is top notch, sound effects are very appropriate and available for everything. Sound effects can sometimes be delayed in battles (due to loading), but this is minor, the sound is really excellent.
The controls are really good and highly responsive. It's very intuitive, and in no time you'll be jumping around, casting magic, blocking arrows, etc. However, there are problems, most notably in the hotkey department. The D-pad is far to sensitive and tends to only select the up, down, left, and right hotkeys, whereas those on a diagonal are seldom selected. So sometimes in the heat of battle, instead of switching to a healing spell to save myself, I often deequpip my weapon and cannot defend myself. To be fair, you can pause at any time and change things in the menu, but this takes you out of the heat of combat, which dulls the otherwise thrilling experience.
The gameplay in ESIV shines. The scope of the game is huge, promising over 100 hrs of gameplay for the main quest alone. Combat is incredibly fun, and so diverse that you'll find many different ways to accomplish a task. Do yourself a favor and don't warp to locations, but travel by foot. You'll find many more quests and have more fun that way. The game is incredibly open ended, so you're free to help someone in need or kill them. It's up to you. From my experience, load times and framerate drops were minimal after the initial ten minutes of the game. The only downfall in the gameplay department is that, because the game is so open ended, it's often difficult to determine what you should do. There is no clear focus, despite the main quest, and this makes the game a tad annoying at times.
Overall, this game has such high production values and is incredibly fun, so if you're thinking of trying it, I highly recommend you do so. It definitely isn't perfect, as seems to be the consensus but it is a unique experience that should be tried.
Oh, and do yourself a favor, get the collectors edition. The content in it is definately worth the extra $10. Plus it looks really sweet.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/24/06
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