Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is the first major role-playing game for the XBox 360, and thus, all the new generation of console gaming systems. This game offers a richly detailed and vibrantly imagined world deep in flavor and adventure. This latest part of the popular Elder Scrolls story uses a combination of freeform gameplay and mission quests as gamers unlock the overall main story arc at your own pace. Find more missions, or play through the main story – it's your choice in this robust and rich world of Oblivion.
The list of features as supplied by the manufacturer:
- Live Another Life in Another World. Create and play any character you can imagine, from the noble warrior to the sinister assassin to the wizened sorcerer.
- Next Generation Graphics. Pixel-shader effects and high definition televisions are fully supported to create unprecedented visuals, including lifelike towns, dungeons, and the most realistic forests ever created in a game.
- First Person Melee and Magic. An all-new combat and magic system brings first person role-playing to a new level of intensity where you feel every blow.
After being an adventure/RPG freak for the last 15 years on the PC, the console's day has finally come. Armed with a 56" 1080p HDTV, the resolution and graphics of Oblivion on XBox 360 challenges most top level PCs. Considering the larger screen size and the 5.1 Dolby surround sound (which we get to later), the graphics of Oblivion are a showcase piece for 360. The richly defined atmosphere, the level of detail given to buildings and NPCs, plus the richly defined baddies that you toast, dice, and slice all add up to some of the most impressive graphics to date on any console ever. The game gets top marks for graphics – we loved everything from the dungeons, the castles, and even running around in the wilderness in the rain. There's an amazing level and depth to the graphical detail of every aspect of the game that we've simply not seen before on a console.
Again, we have to stress that one thing you typically get with the console that you don't with the PC is the ability to use your powerful home theater. That said, Oblivion takes full command of Dolby 5.1 surround sound with amazing sound effects. You'll hear goblins tip toe to your left, rats crawl to your right, while a big giant spider tries to eat you from behind. It all sounds GREAT! The voice acting couldn't be better with the talents of Patrick Stewart (in a brief role as the narrator and Emperor), and Sean Bean (central character to the plot). Overall, the sound and sound effects of Oblivion are top notch.
When we started playing the game, we tried to keep in mind that we can't hold it's predecessor, Morrowind, on a pedestal. It's a good thing we kept that in mind, because Oblivion would have knocked it clean off. The game was a surefire hit, with a fantastic storyline, great action, and a great combination of open-ended quests to weave in and out of the main story to make gamers really get involved with the depth. The leveling system and amount of actual "role playing" you do is very impressive.
Specifically, what you do in Oblivion matters. If you just saved a town or someone from impending doom, they greet you as a hero and love you. If you get sick or are about to die, they ask about that too. You can do things for selfish reasons, or be a hero and help the cause of good. In the end, the overall story is your "Fight evil through the power and fortitude of Good" tale that was satisfying for the most part. The questing system in Oblivion is a bit of an upgrade from Morrowind – If you're given a quest in Oblivion, you clearly get your objectives spelled out for you – making the game very clear for first time RPG'ers on a console (or for people who hate reading everything in order to figure out what to do!). All quests you agree to take on are listed in the game system menu, and depending on your personal choice, you set the one that's active. Once active, your objectives are loaded into your mini-map and you quest from there.
Considering all that's in the game, how well it's been seamlessly laid out, and the level of detail and thought that's given to the overall questing story, Oblivion is a game playing hero that is a showcase title for XBox 360. It's fun to play, it shows off the power of the console … when you get down to it, there's just a lot to like about the game. For you cheaters out there, our staff member in charge of hacking all that there is to be hacked, Mr. Brad Ritchie, found some money cheats in the game if you find them useful:
To get an unlimited supply of money just go to the Talos district in the Imperial City and find Dorian’s house. Next there are two ways of doing this cheat; you can pickpocket the money from Dorian or just kill him and loot his body. But either way the money never runs out. Now keep in mind if Dorian catches you trying to pickpocket from him you can't pickpocket from him again until you go to jail or pay your fine.
There is a second way to gut unlimited money but it is a little more time consuming. Once you become a vampire and you are on your quest to find the cure. The Count of Skingrad will promise you a reward for finding the cure. Once you have obtained the cure go back to Skingrad and talk with the Count. The option "Reward" will show up on your dialog display. When selecting the "Reward" dialog the Count will give you 2500 gold, but the "Reward" dialog will not disappear keep selecting and keep spending.
ONLINE / MULTIPLAYER
Oblivion is a big hit with game reviewers for a reason – it's a well thought out, polished, (and most importantly) FUN game to play. There's the incentive to play through more than once or twice with all the character types available, in addition to all the side quests that promise so much in the way of adventure. The longevity factor of the main title is fairly average for an RPG if you *just* play through the main quest, so gamers get to determine how long they will spend with the game.
Oblivion took our expectations for the game and sent them … well … into oblivion. The game surpassed our wildest dreams and became an instant sentimental hit for this new console system, and really can act as a great showpiece to show off 360's graphical and sound capability. The gameplay is extremely streamlined and straightforward, and offers some originality in the sense that's it is truly a groundbreaking title.
Overall, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion comes highly recommended for purchase, is a showcase title for XBox 360, and wins and Editor's Choice award for quality in a video game. Between the amazing graphics, interactive and deep sound, and all the richness of a finely stitched story is a game that brings a lot of fun to gamers.