Review by SilverLord

"The game of all games! The next game of the year!"

After waiting for several months, I was in euphoria on the way to the store. The whole entire time I held the game in my hands I was trembling. As soon as I got home, I dashed to my Xbox 360 and cried with joy as the game started up. The time has come! So, I start my first story quickly selecting a general character to start with because you are allowed to change it after the introduction. My main love of these games are the freedoms you are allowed. I probably won't finish the main quest for some time. Back to my story...You start of in a cell where you here three Blades members talking to some guy. The guy *cue in royal music* is the emperor here to use a secret passage that by chance passes through your cell. How ironic! The emperor encourages you to follow him and thus forth your first quest begins. Instantly an assassin jumps your party. Yep, they definitely want the emperor dead. One Blades member will die and then you are allowed to pick up her items. You are now able to fight. Stay away from the assassin though unless you want to be torn apart. Explore this dungeon a bit. You'll find a lot of potions, weapons, clothes, gold, and ingredients, ect. The first dungeon/introduction can last anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours. After you complete the introduction, there will be a very distinct event to give you the cue, SAVE YOUR GAME! This is where you can fix your character. Everything that can be done to your character can be done here. So unless you like going through a long introduction every time you start over, I advise you save here.

This game hooked me for several hours on the first day. I started a defensive magic/combat build, which has been very successful for me as of now. This game is a very long and entertaining epic that constantly thickens in plot. Be prepared for time to fly past you without noticing. So to tell you the truth, this game has the best graphics of all other games as of now. It wins the best graphics award easily. Character customization and appearance is done beautifully making every character unique in Oblivion. The environment is fantastic. It's filled with realistic forests that were designed with the help of biologists. The world is full of detail everywhere. Everything is as good as it can possibly get for this generation of gamming. Even the cities will amaze you. There are cities so vast you get the feeling of being in a modern day New York City. This is the true fantasy world.

Game play has become extremely complex. From before, the skills and 100 maximum skill points is the same. However, there are now skill perks such as a shield bash technique if you train your block skill to the Journeymen level. Yes, there are categorized levels now. The levels are as follows: Novice, Apprentice, Journeyman, Expert, and Master. Depending of your class level you can cast more advanced spells, see more effects on alchemy ingredients, gain skill perks, and gain levels. The fighting system actually works to where you run up and hit, then dodge, then hit, and then power hit now. It adds a great style and realistic feel to the game. Also new to Elder Scrolls: Poisons. You can now make poisons instead of just potions. Poisons are placed on your weapons to increase damage and inflict even more pain on your enemy.

The storyline is very great. As I said earlier, you start off as a prisoner who was locked in a cell where there is a secret passage out into the wilderness. The emperor advises you to follow him because of a suspicious dream and you witness a series of events. Following this introduction, you are guided to someone who can guide you through the quests of closing the gates to Oblivion and killing Mythic Dawn Assassins. Not to mention...there are three hundred plus hours of side quests all with their own stories. Yep, this game has it all to make the perfect entertainment.

The sound and effects are perfect. Everything is one cue. The Oblivion soundtrack is amazing as well. To start of my explanation, the dialogue is both spoken and written out. There's no need to read the explanation unless you're deaf because the annunciation is perfect. Everything is very clear. The dialogue is sometimes corny, but reflects common human-like personalities. People complain about headaches often, and they are not afraid to tell you what they think of you. There has been several times where I have saved just so I could kill the freak that thought he could offend me. Then I would get slain by the guard that somehow always appears because guards are always higher levels then you are. Talk about unfair. That reminds me; there is one thing that bothers me that is new in Oblivion. In Oblivion no matter where you are, the murder gets reported. In Morrowind that wasn't always the case. I miss that, but then again there are so many better things in Oblivion that it doesn't matter. The soundtrack in the game actually has more than three songs, which is the amount Morrowind seemed to have. There is the classic overture that gets you pumped up to kill all and a very cool battle song that kicks up when enemies appear. All sound effects have accurate timing and sound. The sword clangs of fighting make you feel as if you are the one in there in the battle. I love the creepy sounds of walking through puddles in the dungeons as well. Everything is there. Name a sound that you could make in the game and it's there.

There are a few more changes in Oblivion concerning weapons, armor, and enemies. Everything is based off your level. If you are level 3, you'll only find enemies three and under, regular armor and weapons 5 and under, and enchanted weapons and armor 2 and under. Everything follows that system except for the strongest of enemies who are always your level, or always a level or more above yours. This adds a new challenge in the game. Yes, you won't have to worry about running into a fire atronach at level 1 like Morrowind, but you won't have the weapons advantage like you could in the previous Elder Scrolls games. In some quests, your reward is based off your level. So basically, the higher level you become, you receive better items and gold. Hmmmmmm, no wonder why power leveling is becoming a popular method. Power leveling is using your seven major skills selections so they are able to level quickly. Some examples of wise choices are: and armor, unarmored, acrobats, athletics, destruction, alchemy, sneak, and block. These skills can be easily trained allowing your character to increase in levels very quickly. It is a strategy that will become popular among the treasure hunters that play this game.

Buy or Rent? Well, you won't even get a good chunk of the game if you rent it. This game is so long and complex that it will take playing the game solid for days. This game will take an estimated 350+ hours to complete. I'm pretty sure this game won't be beaten if you rent it, so this is a: MUST BUY!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 04/03/06

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