Taking a large step away from the meticulous, somewhat over-demanding Morrowind, Oblivion cast the entire Elder Scrolls series in a new, brighter light. Gone are the endless hours spent trying to raise your character one measly level, and you can say goodbye to enemies who are simply unbeatable until reaching those higher levels. Oblivion took a step back and reinvigorated the formula with multiple enhancements, such as the level-based enemy system (where enemies will never out-level you and, if they do, will almost always be apart of a mission you cannot access until at a higher level). Everything has been streamlined to make the most of the free-roaming, beautiful landscape Bethesda created, and that is the true highlight of this epic RPG adventure.
But don't let the RPG elements scare you; this is a game fans of slash-n-smash, RPGs, and just simple action/adventure titles can enjoy all the same. For the Xbox 360, this game fits perfectly insofar as smooth controls and picture-perfect graphics are concerned. Even today, a few years after it's initial release, the look of the game is awe-inspiring and in a league of it's own. Lush woodlands give way to towering mountains, capped with snow and full of razor-sharp crag. People walk and talk with conviction, and the various mythical and simple woodland creatures you'll encounter all act as (sometimes dangerous) eye candy.
The core of the game lies in it's seemingly endless amount of freedom; if you can see it, you can travel there. Hundreds of locations await, like ancient Elven ruins, dark and inhospitable cave systems, dank, grave-filled dungeons and towering castles. Several cities highlight the map and act as refuges from the wilderness; here you can trade and purchase new items, weapons, armor and spells, take on quests or even join one of the several guilds. The freedom aspect extends to character creation, as you'll have a myriad of choices to make such as your race, gender, style of living (are you a bruiser or magic user? or maybe even a sly pickpocket?) and, as you progress through the game, you'll either become a famous hero or infamous villian...or end up somewhere in between. The possibilities are just about endless.
With so much to do, and so many ways to do it, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion is the type of game someone might find themselves playing exclusively for weeks and weeks on end. Personally, despite owning the game for a couple years, I still find myself picking it up from time to time and being amazed to stumble upon places and people I had never seen prior. It's that sort of "world-spanning" element, combined with a small learning curve and incredible replayability, that give the game a perfect score from yours truly. If you own an Xbox 360, there is no excuse for not owning (or at least renting) Oblivion. One of the most entertaining video games I've ever experienced.
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Kevin Sellers (KevinSellers)
Just another hack hacking away. You know my name by now, I hope, having made it this far. Other facts? I stand between 6'7" and 6'8", I smoke (but not for much longer), and I am an avid fan of most entertainment … more
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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (often referenced as Oblivion) is a single-player role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks and the Take-Two Interactive subsidiary 2K Games. It is the fourth installment in The Elder Scrolls action fantasy video game series, following The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Oblivion was released March 20, 2006, for Windows PCs and the Xbox 360. A PlayStation 3 release was shipped March 20, 2007, in North America and on April 27 in Europe. After a number of smaller content releases, a major expansion pack—Shivering Isles—was released. The Game of the Year Edition became available for PC on September 10, 2007, and it was released on Steam on June 16, 2009.
Oblivion's main story revolves around the player character's efforts to thwart a fanatical cult that plans to open the gates to a realm called Oblivion. The game continues the open-world tradition of its predecessors by allowing the player to travel anywhere in the game world at any time and to ignore or postpone the main storyline indefinitely. Developers opted for tighter pacing and greater plot focus than in past titles.
Development for Oblivion began in 2002, directly after the release of Morrowind. In order to achieve their goals of designing "cutting-edge graphics" and creating a more believable environment, Bethesda made use of an improved Havok physics engine; high dynamic range lighting; procedural content ...