The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Morrowind was one of the few games that actually managed to keep its promise of huge worlds and open gameplay, eventhough it was filled with bugs. With Oblivion, the makers go further and created a game that forms the ideal combination between big and small, between huge and detailed. Hundreds of houses and impressive farsights, but farsights filled to the last chamber and the smallest cave.
The first we noticed when we saw images from Oblivion were the outside locations. In the game these remain of course equally impressive eventhough they have more problems with framedrops than you would like. This is therefore already one of the biggest downpoints of the game and immediately a reason to get the PC Version if you’ve got a good rig. It does remain very romantic to see the sun going down or have sunbeams peeping through the leaves. “Beautiful” is the word that nicely suits with this.
Once you close a door of a dungeon behind you or enter the cold space of a cave, the engine comes to its right even more. The light effects, the sharp textures and detailed objects are unseen in the RPG genre. Add to that the first person view and you have a game that truly sucks you into its world and takes you along.
Also the rest of the world helps to achieve that goal. The physics engine is really great, the sound is also impressive seeing the size of everything, although the makers didn’t seem to have had enough budget to provide unique voices for everyone, and the enemies are equally varied as interesting. The only thing that will drop you (more than once) out of that dream world are the bugs that sometimes lead to a full lock up, not being able to finish a mission, or just freaking enemies. Saving your game a lot is the thing to do, something that is less fun than you would like seeing the quite long loading times.
Without a doubt you’ll be astonished by the game visually and auditively but that of course doesn’t mean the gameplay is good. Important here are the missions and storyline. Both are a lot better than in the predecessor, amongst others due to the handy logs and accompanying clues. There’s not only an impressive amount of quests, most being beautifully finished, but also the necessary variation. There are more than enough memorable adventures to do to compensate for the obligatory missions to enhance your character. The story is nicely integrated in this all so take the necessary time to read and discover everything and look further than your nose is long. The most fun is that you can choose how, when and if you do it all. Freedom!
The interface is designed to not bother and support you as stealth as possible. All necessary information is shown nice and simple although you’ll still have to navigate through quite a lot of menus as we’re still talking about a very deep RPG. Also here the game doesn’t disappoint and fetishists of this type of games will have more than enough choices than they could ever imagine. Also the controls are quite good, I do prefer a mouse still, and especially the fighting feels a lot more intuitive and realistic. You can now for instance also block and will know better when you hit someone and when you don’t.
To discuss the complete game in detail, there isn’t enough room in this review. Or actually there is, but I don’t have two days free time for that! What I do want to tell you is that this game is so big and extensive, that you have so many options and possibilities that you can play it easily for 200 hours. On top of that you can get new adventures and replay things in a different way by switching classes. In the end you can occupy yourself for half a year easily so don’t buy this title if you’re planning on gaming only half an hour now and then. For this solid piece of gaming fun you need to make time, not only because it’s so big and long, but also because the game deserves you taking your time to look at all the details and digest every piece bit by bit.
On top it’s just a top game, a milestone in the still young history of the Xbox360 and without a doubt an equally big accomplishment for PC gamers. With Oblivion we’re again a step closer to the ultimate RPG, but we’re not quite there yet!