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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PC) artwork

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PC) review


"Entering into the bright, open world of Tamriel from the dark, gloomy sewers you are introduced to a stunning display of the massive landscape. An exciting experience filled with intense sword fights and mystical creatures awaits you. Become a thief, killer, mage, hero, become whatever you want, there is only one thing that is certain: you are going to enjoy your stay in Tamriel. Oblivion is filled with remarkable discoveries that will keep you intrigued for a long time By just walking throughou..."



Entering into the bright, open world of Tamriel from the dark, gloomy sewers you are introduced to a stunning display of the massive landscape. An exciting experience filled with intense sword fights and mystical creatures awaits you. Become a thief, killer, mage, hero, become whatever you want, there is only one thing that is certain: you are going to enjoy your stay in Tamriel. Oblivion is filled with remarkable discoveries that will keep you intrigued for a long time By just walking throughout the nearby Imperial City you are sure to pick up a couple of interesting side quests. This is just the beginning, delving deeper into the game will just uncover more quests and abilities.

When you load up a new game you are treated to an interesting cutscene that has the king speaking of his impending doom and the approaching destruction of Tamriel if something isn’t done. Early on in the game, you will encounter the king who stops by and gives you your free ticket to the vast land of Tamriel.

Shortly after exiting your jail cell you will be asked to do simple tasks such as shooting a bucket with your bow, while these tasks are helpful, Bethesda doesn’t hold your hand through the whole thing. Those who played Morrowind will feel right at home with Oblivion; those who aren’t used to the Elder Scrolls series will feel comfortable with all the menus and controls with just a little practice. As you continue your journey out of jail you will do a lot of hacking and slashing, but Bethesda keeps it interesting by putting in awesome traps that you can use against your enemy. Traps usually activated by disturbing a rope that stretches across the path, the trap will unleash a dangerous projectile tied to a rope that falls from the top of the shadowy cave. If the trap is activated at the correct time you can watch in satisfaction as the unsuspecting enemy is destroyed. You will be faced with the decision of what class you would like to be, if you want to you can even create your own, which is a great feature. You will also have the power to tweak every aspect of your character’s looks. Although, Bethesda offers one of the most detailed character creation systems ever, while playing in the default first-person-perspective, you’ll rarely have the chance to view your own character. While this adventure through the sewers is an entertaining trip, once you go out the door to the outside world, that’s where the true game begins, that’s when you have complete freedom.

In this ten square mile world you have the freedom to do just about anything, but you never feel lost without anything to do. Thanks to the enormous number of quests there are in Oblivion your current quest menu will quickly fill up and probably never shrink. Although at some points during the main quest the story just felt clichéd and it didn’t keep me hooked, luckily Oblivion has engrossing side missions that will keep you interested. A good amount of the side quests in Oblivion have rather complex plots, which contain little unexpected twists and tough choices. Even the side quests that give you a little task to do usually have unique rewards, so every side quest is worth your time. Side quests aren’t the only way to make a bit of dough, the four guilds in Oblivion offer an exciting way to complete quests, make some cash, and rise to power. These guilds include the Thieves guild, The Dark Brotherhood (assassin’s guild), the Fighters guild, and the Mages guild. Guild quests get harder as you rise higher in the hierarchy. Eventually, after many quests and perhaps frustrations, you can become the leader of your guild or guilds. If you plan on making it to the top, you are going to need the equipment.

Thanks to the almost endless amount of loot that can be obtained during your adventures, no two characters will be the same. Sometimes you will find things that are useful, such as a strong potion of healing that will instantly repair the damage that you took from the tough boss battle. Many times you will find things that aren’t useful at all, such as tongs, shovels, or even love notes, while none of these objects are technically useful, they’re always good for dropping on people’s heads from above. Oblivion may be the best RPG in years, but it also comes with its own share of small flaws.

Under the slick coat of polish, you’ll come upon a couple of rusty nails. Such as the tedious mini-games that end up being more annoying than fun. First off, the communication mini-game (used to make a person have more respect and trust for you) ended up relying a little too much on luck and it is obviously less effective than bribing. With a bit of spare change you can simply bribe another character into liking you better so they can let you in on a couple of secrets they’ve been holding from you. The other mini-game involves lifting up on pins using a lock pick and clicking to keep them in place, if a pin comes down while clicking your flimsy lock pick is snapped. The more difficult locks which contain more pins will make you want to slam a fire-axe into your monitor each time you hear that sad sound of breaking wood and when you run out of lock picks you have to go scrounging around for more. The lock picking felt more like a chore and the persuasion mini-game isn’t very useful for trying to befriend an NPC. Each non-player character follows a simple routine, occasionally having a short chat with another NPC. Although, unlike many other features in Oblivion, the NPC’s could have used a bit more time in the oven to truly take shape. The NPC’s conversations are clunky and the NPC’s seemed to be more like robots meant to take part in some quest than actual people that are there to add to the great atmosphere of Tamriel. Listening to the NPC’s conversations is fortunately never too painful due to the wonderful voice acting.

Many people say that quality is more important than quantity; luckily Oblivion’s voice acting gives you both both. With over 1,000 lines of dialogue recorded from such people as Patrick Stewart who acted as Captain Picard in Star Trek voices the emperor. The voice acting matches the characters perfectly and the tone of the voice usually reflects how much a character likes you. Although, the yells that pour out of a characters mouth each time they get hurt will probably get on your nerves.

Oblivion hits another homerun with its magic spells and potions. With tons of really impressive spells and the ability to create spells in the Arcane University, Bethesda has ensured that even hardcore RPG fans will be left speechless. To be offered the opportunity to create spells at the Arcane University you will have to do a bit of work. You will need to get recommendations from each Mages Guild Hall which are scattered all around Tamriel. To get these recommendations you will need to do exhilarating side quests that will require you to do a various number of unique tasks. There are also a good number of neat potions and right from the beginning you can create your own with the mortar and pestle from the food you have collected. Creating potions is actually quite useful, blending a Daedra Heart, Venison, and a Carn Bolete Cap will make a useful potion that will restore your health in an instant in a fierce battle, but it will not quench your thirst. While potions are almost necessary for success in Oblivion, the magic spells can even be used to just observe the beauty of Oblivion’s graphical power.

Simply put, Oblivion is pretty; merely just looking at this game on highest settings will make your mouth drop to the floor. The medieval buildings look like they came straight out of a Lord of the Rings movie and the wilderness is just as enchanting. The lighting effects are incredible; at noon the sun will shone upon the great architecture of Tamriel, making it look as if the buildings are glowing. You will notice stunning detail in the faces of the NPC’s and in the armor of your aggressive foes. Your sword and shied will glimmer in the sunlight making you involuntarily stare at your monitor. Lighting a torch in a dark cave will light up a short distance around you, letting you see the impressive detail put into the rocky wall. While this is the PC game the graphics are still completely next-gen.

Even on a high-end computer Oblivion does encounter frame rate problems when put to highest settings, which is why you may want to consider putting down the extra 10 gold for the Xbox 360 version. Although, even without Oblivion’s gorgeous graphics, the game still delivers silky smooth gameplay that makes it worth every penny on the PC. I very much recommend this game to anyone who has the time to be sucked into the extensive land of Tamriel.

Rating: 9/10

madskillet's avatar
Community review by madskillet (July 20, 2006)

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