Review by Solusx2

"Lock the door, turn off the phone. You are in Oblivion now."

Oblivion is the fifth instalment to the Elder Scrolls series, taking place in the capital land of Cyrodiil. The game is set a few years after Morrowind but does not directly continue on with the story.

The story starts off as one of the strongest factors in Oblivion, beginning with the player starting in the prison of the capital city. The player soon encounters Emperor Uriel Septim and is tasked with delivering an amulet to the headmaster of the Blades, the Emperors royal guard and secret agents after falls victim to an assassination plot by members of a cult devoted to the dark god, one of the Daedric princes who seek in open a passage from Oblivion (realm of the Daedric Princes). The story slowly introduces the player to much background history of Cyrodiil and the Elder Scrolls series as well as fantastic quests which keep the player engaged. However, towards the end of the main story, the main story becomes unfortunately rather predictable and underwhelming which is a shame for such a rich world.

The visuals are fantastic, with lush environments and excellent character and monster models, with a lot of eye-candy in the forms of rivers, mountains and forests. The caves and cities are littered with many interesting objects to keep the player interested but eventually it's obvious you are visiting similar areas over and over. Overall colourful, excellent graphics and wonderful character models regardless of the setting are definitely worth the money. Also, small features like arrows appearing in the bodies of NPCs when fired are great additions to the game.

Game play
The game play in comparison to Morrowind is vastly improved, with additional features such as improved stealth, better archery, better magic (including a lot of improved spells and enchant able items) and overall better combat. The items are now more plentiful in better categories, despite the removal of such things like spears, crossbows and smaller ranged weapons. The items and enemies however are a lot worse. When you gain levels, instead of enemies having pre-set equipment and levels, they instead level up and have better equipment along with you. Although this seems like a great new addition, it removes a lot of the fun seen in Morrowind, such as the ability to loot vaults and enemies as low levels as there is no chance to receive better loot. Levelling up also can be tiresome, with the restrictions on trainers who you can pay to level up your skills and attributes. However, there is a lot of new content that makes the combat, stealth and the game entirely more enjoyable. The addition of horses seems like a good idea on paper, but the point of view is irritating and can cause issues with understanding your surroundings. You cannot fight whilst mounted, which is pretty disappointing, as you have to dismount to engage. There are a few bugs related to horses, but there are plenty of horses to buy/steal anyway, so they can always be replaced. The variety of enemies isn't huge, but there are plenty of NPCs you may engage in combat with keeping things fresh and always pitting you against different foes during quests and general exploration.

Brilliant voice acting, (from notable actors such as Patrick Stewart, Sean Bean, Terence Stamp and more) brilliant music and brilliant sound effects. The only con is over the thousands of different NPCs, there is quite a few similar voice actors used, and the NPCS sound can get repetitive, but this is hardly noticeable. Battle music and sound effects are on the mark, and leave no room for disappoint, especially in the heat of a fire fight. The voice acting gives life to the main story in the places where it lacks, thankfully.

Replay Value
One of the best features of Oblivion is the ability to create as many characters as you like. The character customization options are endless, from face, race, gender, hair colour, and of course however you want your skills and attributes to be. Want an acrobatic magician? Create it. Sword and shield Khajit thief? Create it. Wheeling dealing trader? Create it. There are NO restrictions to what you can do, and you can EASILY get over 200 hours from a few characters and only see half the game. There are a heap of quests, guilds, NPCS and just random things around the game to interact with and explore. You may think you've done everything, but there are plenty of secrets, Easter eggs, achievements and general fun to be had by spending time in Oblivion. Suicidal trolls, jumping into paintings, legions of adoring (annoying) fans – you name it, Oblivion's got it.

Story & Quest 9/10
Graphics 9/10
Game play 9/10
Sound 9/10
Replay Value 10/10
Overall 9/10

A MUST by for any RPG fan or anyone with swords and spells.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/02/09

Game Release: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (AU, 03/23/06)

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