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 The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

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PostSubject: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion   Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:38 pm

Metachronos overall score = 9.4 / 10

# Huge, lavishly detailed world offers tremendous amount of action and adventure
# Main mechanics like combat, stealth, and magic are fun and well designed
# Impressive artificial intelligence and hundreds of believable characters
# Outstanding symphonic score, as well as excellent voice acting and sound effects
# Tremendous replay value, plus gorgeous graphics to make it easy on the eyes
# More than 200 hours of gameplay

# Some long load times
# Some minor problems

This is a rare and remarkable achievement--a huge, open-ended, complex, detailed role-playing game that's fun to play and a pleasure to behold. Oblivion not only delivers everything that earned the Elder Scrolls series the devoted loyalty of a huge following of fans, but also significantly improves on the weaknesses of its 2002 predecessor, Morrowind. Morrowind earned recognition for being one of the best role-playing games in years, but the immersive and long-lasting experience it provided wasn't for everyone. Oblivion is hands-down better, so much so that even those who'd normally have no interest in a role-playing game should find it hard to resist getting swept up in this big, beautiful, meticulously crafted world.

Considering all that's in this game, it's surprisingly difficult to find much fault with any of it. The inventory system could have been a little more streamlined, and the encumbrance system will quickly disrupt your plans to pick up and carry as much stuff as you'll wish you could, but these things are hardly worth mentioning. However, some reference to the game's technical performance is necessary. On the Xbox 360, you can look forward to a usually fast and smooth frame rate and graphics that look especially dazzling on a high-definition display. On a high-end PC, you can get the game looking even better, though unless you have a fast graphics card and at least a gig of RAM, you might have a hard time getting the game to appear pretty while moving at an acceptable frame rate at a high resolution. The frame rate especially tends to bog down when a lot of characters are simultaneously onscreen, which might explain why there aren't as many people milling about in the cities as you might hope for. Controls are as good on the Xbox 360 as on the PC, though using the PC's number keys is a little easier than using the 360 controller's D pad for quickly switching between items and powers. On the other hand, a lot of the other interface elements seem like they were designed with the console version primarily in mind, which makes switching between character menu panels using the mouse feel a bit clunky on the PC. Both versions contain fairly frequent but fairly short loading times, a slight detriment to the game's sense of immersion, but nothing that you wouldn't expect from a game with this much detail.

Ultimately, which version you choose should depend on whether you have a high-powered PC and whether you have an Xbox 360 hooked up to a home theater. If you don't have the former, the Xbox 360 version is a relatively safer bet, and it gains a perk over its PC counterpart by offering some unlockable achievements, enticing you both to finish the main quest and to earn your keep in all the different guilds in the game. It packs a higher retail price, though. Meanwhile, there's a downloadable toolset available for the PC version, which will surely lead to untold volumes of user-created content that could extend the life of the game. Incidentally, the Xbox 360 version also contains hooks for future content downloads over Xbox Live. What's overwhelming about Oblivion is how good it is and how much there is to it. Literally almost everything that's ever been done well before in past role-playing games is in here--done at least as well, if not better. From the quality of the story and character interaction to the pure thrill of the combat to all the pleasure to be found in the game's little details--the lock-picking minigame, the alchemy system, the way arrows stay stuck in their victims, the ability to eventually create your own spells, the informative full-color manual, all the different books you can stop to read in the game--these things combine to make Oblivion one of the single best, longest-lasting gaming experiences to be had in a long time. It's just too bad there's no multiplayer. This is simply one of the best RPG ever made.


Most of my reviews are taken from www.gamespot.com I shorten them and find the most important parts as their reviews are over 3 pages long which can be a burden to read and the screenshots are taken from the internet Wink
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