Review by SigmaPS3

Reviewed: 07/31/06

Amazing for a single player, but it would have been even better online.

This is by far the best single player game I have ever played. The variety is incredible. The producers have created a world that you can literally live in, this being the case when reality gets boring. Where to begin?

You first start off in the dungeons as a prisoner, when suddenly the emperor arrives with conflict and you are all of a sudden involved in it. Your past it not really told, like why you were in prison in the first place, but we come to believe it as being destiny. The first time I played it I thought that the dungeons had brilliant detail, but it is only when you get out of it you begin the enjoy the rich graphical detail of the map.

Then there is of course the character selection. Without further knowledge, from guides for instance, your initial choice of character and his/her attributes will probably not satisfy you. You have to play the game the second time through to actually create your vision of a perfect character, as I found out the hard way.
My advice is save just before you exit the sewers/dungeons. This way when you create a second account you don't have to waste an hour or so in the dungeons.

There are numerous quests, I was told about 200. There are the major ones, to which you follow the fascinating story of the death of the emperor, where you have to find a new heir to the throne and restore the amulet, so that the dragon fires can be lit again, as they died out when the emperor was assassinated. Their importance being to separate 2 realms, the world of people and the plane of Oblivion.

After you finish the major quests or as they are being done, you can take up on side quests. These range from killing a vampire to solving mysteries. The rewards can be very helpful depending on the type of quest and its difficulty.

Now if that's not enough, guilds have also been added to the game. These include the Fighters' Guild, Mages' Guild, Thieves' Guild, Dark Brotherhood, etc.
These are the main ones, where getting into the Fighters' Guild and Mages' Guild is quite straight forward where you may have to complete a few quests. To get into the Thieves's Guild, some theft will be required as one would assume and the Dark Brotherhood is a murderer's guild and so an innocent life will have to be taken to enter. Other guilds include the Blades and Arena guild.

This being a RPG (role playing game), leveling is of course the key to success. In this game leveling works in a different way, where it is possible level all skills to level 100, but the character's level is determined by 7 major skill where when the skills in total increase by 10 levels, the character goes up by a level. Generally speaking the maximum level the character can reach is around 50, depending what level each of your major skills start off from, as this is different for each character depending on their strengths and weaknesses. For example I chose a Breton, Male, with Restoration at level 40, while my Blade skill was at level 25. So my character's capability to increase levels in Blade surpasses his capability in Restoration. So for example if all of your skills start off at 40, which is impossible, and if your friend's skills all started at 25, which may be possible (haven't tried that yet), your friend's character can reach a level of 52 without receiving help from NPCs (non playable characters), while your character can only reach a level of 42. This being said you will have an advantage at the start of the game over your friend with leveled up skills, which should make the game easier.

Also it is important to note that leveling up does not necessarily make the game easier to play, as the monsters level up with you. Unless your leveling is carefully co-ordinated you could be experiencing a rough time in oblivion.

You do have the choice of being a Mage, Warrior or a Thief. I would recommend being a Mage. This I am saying from past experience of being a Thief and Warrior. The problem with them is that they do not come with a nice set of combos or variation and there is not much strategy involved when using them. It is either slash and kill, or sneaking behind people's back and stealing money and goods. While a Mage on the other hand has a large reserve of magic to choose from where without strategy you would be slaughtered. So the game becomes more interesting, where you are constantly made to think about effective spells and strategies to use against different creatures.

Overall I will give this game a score of 9 out of 10. My reasons for not giving it a perfect score is mostly personal preference. These include not enough NPCs, where it can get lonely at times, especially when you are riding your horse through a deep forest trying to find ingredients. Then there is the Oblivion plane, which makes me feel depressed when I am in it, maybe it's just me. Finally my PC is not the best for this game and I have no intention of buying a Xbox 360, so I would have preferred this game on PS3, because I know for a fact that it is the best performing hardware you can buy for just over NZ$1000.

My recommendation is to buy this game as long as your PC can support it, or if you are an Xbox 360, get in on that. It will be better on a big screen TV(1080p with HDMI) and using a controller will make the game easier.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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