Review by Death_On_Impact

Reviewed: 03/24/06

An Instant Classic

Oblivion is a mix of ingenuity, advanced computing, and the love a designer places into his titles. Oblivion is without a doubt, a stupendous thrill ride that should not be missed. The exceptional graphics will awe most any gamer with a great enough PC to run it at it’s full potential. The sound design and voices sound top-notch, bringing Hollywood into game designing. The game play will immerse the player for hundreds among hundreds of hours of pure enjoyment, something that cannot be achieved by a simple RPG.

Moving further on in greater detail, Oblivion carries a hefty load of gaming's finest elements, providing a truly memorable experience unlike anything before in my life. The Graphics are, jaw-dropping. When on a system powerful enough to show the game’s true face, Oblivion is miraculously detailed. The textures, lighting, character models are near picture perfect, carrying a true sense of the term, Next-Generation. The load times are short; the game is massive, set in an area of 16 square miles, at the province of Cyrodill. The game area packs a variety of landscapes, from snowy mountains, to populated cities, to lush forests filled with organisms detailed beyond any simple gamer 's comprehension. The lighting and the set HDR makes the experience quite more life-like and fulfilling. The character models are much improved from TES III, Morrowind. The water details, reflections/refractions are wonderful, though just hardly missing the same level of Valve's Half-Life 2's astonishing and realistic water effects.

The sound is also quite exceptional, though it sometimes feels a bit repetitive. The composed orchestral score is mystifying, suiting the game very well. The sound effects also feel dynamic and realistic, tweaked to perfection. The voice-overs truly show what it means to bring Hollywood talent into the mix. Patrick Stewart, Sean Bean, and many other actors are brought into Oblivion, offering full-voice acting throughout the whole experience. There is no more Wikipedia type responses like in Morrowind, the game uses full voiced dialogue, with the also included asset of Subtitles. The game feels this way more dynamic, real, and engaging, truly setting it aside from its predecessors.

The game play is where Oblivion truly shines. This new addition to the Elder Scrolls franchise truly brings out the meaning of "innovation at its best." The game features a very engaging and dynamic campaign reaching across the whole province of Cyrodill, featuring about 40 of play. But, the main story is only the tip of the iceberg. Oblivion offers many side quests, mini-games, exploration, Easter-eggs, people, places, and things to see which enhances the experience and brings the total game play to over 200 hours. This, is of course, not including user-made modifications for the game, which will be out (and maybe already are) and will enhance the game by varying degrees. Also, Bethesda will be providing Official Mods for a small fee, as well as Expansion packs in the near future.

Oblivion houses The Havok Physics engine known from Half-Life 2. Every item in the game is controlled by this system, as well as the enemies and NPC 's, which are dynamically controlled by Rag-Doll physics. Radiant AI is also shown off in Oblivion, and is one of the Trade Mark features Oblivion is showing off. The NPC 's no longer have meaningless existences; they fully engage in non-scripted conversations with other NPC 's, with you, have a special list of "goals and needs" which they fulfill with their own creativity and knowledge. They also have varying personalities which determine how they accomplish their goals, talk to you and other NPC 's, and affect the environment around them.

This review only expresses the deep gratitude I have for Bethesda. For years in the making, and will forever be known as the RPG to change all RPG 's. Oblivion is a masterpiece, fully establishing it's spot in the greatest games of all time list, and truly showing developers and gamers alike what a game truly can be if the developer places enough time, energy, devotion, and creativity, pushing themselves to the limit in the goal of pleasing gamers around the world, and for their obsessing love in video game design. Once you play Oblivion, you can never go back to anything previous to it. This game is what every RPG should be like. Well, the best compliment I could personally give this game is that, years from now, gamers will look back upon this huge, revolutionary and ambitious game and say that it was a classic.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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