Review by Gamerazor

"Eye candy, but isn't so sweet."

The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion is the 4th Elder Scrolls game to come out into the big wide gaming world, the first being Arena in 1994. The game is based in the expansive province of Cyrodiil, a civilized country in the land of Tamriel. Around 2 months ago when I first got this game I felt all excited, all the hype, the trailers.... "Live another life in another world," which was the phrase Bethesda had printed on this game. I was traveling home in the car, wishing the time would pass faster, reading the manual, deciding which route my character should take and in general getting my excitement to another level. I got home, ran to my PC and installed the game. I then started playing.

When you first start this game, you wake up in a prison, like in the previous TES games. It works well in this game, with an annoying Dark Elf making fun of you from a cell across the room. Then the guards come with the main man, the Emperor of Tamriel. He stops and mentions something about seeing you in his dreams and then goes out of a secret passage. Anyway through the course of the first small dungeon, which teaches you the basics of gameplay, then eventually the Emperor dies and leaves you with the 'Amulet of Kings'. You eventually leave the dungeon, go through a very small sewer and you are out. Yay. When you get out of the cave the first thing you notice is the expansive world around you. What got to me was the fact that you could travel anywhere in it. I looked up at the mountains and though, "I can go there". Although you receive a quest to take the Amulet of Kings further, you don't have to take it. I didn't. Instead I made my way up into the city, and looked around. Then I moved onto the next, and the next. What got me was the amazing expansiveness of the city, and how everything was so brilliant. But now 2 months later, I know how wrong I was.

The A.I
Now we were originally told about this great new A.I used in Oblivion. Sure it's ok, better than most other games, but it really isn't that good. You get missions to follow people for example, you can bump into them 1000 times before the end, and they won't notice a thing. NPCs run around aimlessly having the same conversations with everybody, most of which never make sense. When you talk to different people, they say basically the same thing as well. If you steal something from someone, and they see you again, they don't care. What would have been great in this game is a sort of friends list. Where you could get involved with your friends and choose whether to be evil or good. Eg. Go and rob a store, or go and murder people. It would have been excellent to also fall out with people, this would have started conflicts and made the game much more interesting. In general the NPCs are a major part of the game and feel bare.

The Graphics
I don't need to say much about the graphics. With a good graphics card you can do some amazing things with this game. The graphics aren't an issue at all when it comes to playing. If you do however have a old PC, which can only just scrape by playing this game then I suggest you either upgrade, or avoid this game.

The Factions
The factions play a major role in this game; they generally provide very fun quests, especially the dark brotherhood. What gets me though is the lack of Factions. During the Fighters Guild quest you run into people called the 'Blackwood Company', they are a nuisance to the Fighters Guild. So? We should be able to join the company and go against the fighter';s guild. The game feels so bare without details like this. When you complete the factions you then don't feel much accomplishment, basically the game ends in that area. The overall factions though do provide fun while they last. They are recommended.

The Main Quest
Well, some people don't think much of the main quest. They say that the plains of Oblivion are repetitive and boring, I don't agree. I find the whole idea rather fun. Sure Oblivion gates get boring, but I think the main quest is one of the best things about the game. End of.

Character Development
Right, here is the thing that really gets to me about this game. It completely drives me mad. At the start when you select your character you think that this will affect your whole game. You first choose what Race your character is. Then what class it is, then its birth sign. You think that this will completely affect the way your game is played, wrong. Unless you are playing on the hardest difficulty what you choose doesn't matter. With enemies leveling with you (see next section) it really doesn't matter. On this game classes needed to be defined more. Much more.

Leveling/Monster Leveling
I hate the way the leveling works on this game. I don't know what Bethesda were smoking when they though of it. Basically monsters level with your character. This in affect means that you could complete the game at level one. You could spend hours raising your stats right up, only to have just as harder fight as you would have had against that person at level 1.
The way that your character levels is also a pain in the neck. You need to raise minor skills before the key majors to allow your character to receive the full benefit of your character. This throws role playing out of the window.

I hate to say it but this game has indeed been overrated in its build up to release. It doesn't have to addictive nature that some other games have, and definitely isn't all that memorable. Some aspects are superb such as the graphics, but some aren't all great. With repetitive dungeons ect, this game can get annoying. Overall I will give this game a fair 6 possibly 7. It is good, but not nearly a brilliant RPG. Now for PC users there is one major aspect about this game which can boost the rating through the roof. Player Modifications, aka Mods.

Unfortunately for Xbox360 users these aren't available which in my opinion make it a silly idea to get this game on that platform. Mods are free add-ons which players have made out of the kindness of their hearts. Bethesda has released a few cheap mods, with small price tags but they don't compare to some of the player mods. ALL aspects which make this game not so good can be fixed with mods. They are easy to install and generally can make this game amazing. Thank you for reading my review.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 07/05/06

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