Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

a game by 2K Games
Platform: XBox 360
Rating: 9/10

Should you buy Oblivion? That's most likely the question you're asking yourself and the reason you are reading this review. So let's cut to the chase; yes, you should buy Oblivion' probably. The only caveat to this (thus requiring the probably) is not everyone is going to love this game. RPG fans, action fans, adventure fans and gamers open to new challenges will be ecstatic. However, if anything with a pace slower than a 16 player death match on Halo 2 leaves you bored, steer clear. Very little in Oblivion happens at a fast pace so be prepared to read, travel, visit, re-read, travel more and visit more. Thankfully, the well crafted game system makes these tasks very accessible but I still feel it my duty to throw out that warning.

For those not acclimated to the Elder Scrolls games, they are RPG's through and through. Questing, looting, talking, gathering information, reading books and following a storyline tainted with evil are all on the menu. The development team has listened to the feedback from the loyal fan base and has done a great job making an overwhelming world and quest system much more manageable. I personally quit playing Morrowind after many fruitless hours of searching for quest locations. I enjoyed the game but just ran out of patience. Oblivion fixes this issue with a great waypoint system leading you in the correct direction of your next objective. For the hardcore RPG'er, this may be blasphemy but for the rest of us gamers, it is necessity.

It would be impossible to write a comprehensive one page review on this title because the scope of the game is enormous. Between the main story, the side quests and the guild quests you will not be completing this game in a weekend' or even two. There is so much to do and so many things to see throughout the world of Oblivion, you will spend the first 10 hours or so just getting your feet under you. When I heard 360 games would carry a price tag of $60, I was skeptical. After playing Oblivion, I feel the developers and content folks earned every penny of this price. Regardless of whether you like the game or not, nobody can argue the amount of time, efforts, and love that went into crafting this game and the world surrounding it.

The combat is also handled in a very intuitive and easy to master way. You will have no problems picking up a controller and hacking or casting you way through enemies like it's second nature. You can switch between first or third person perspective giving you options to play the game the way you prefer. It did take me a while to get comfortable with the inventory system and the quest management but once I figured it out, I found it to be quite easy to use.

From a technical perspective, this game also fits the bill as 'next gen'?. When I signed up for Xbox 360, this is what I was expecting to see. The graphics are amazing with draw distance that must be seen to be appreciated. The detail on the buildings, armor and other characters is just mind blowing. Again, if there was every any question about the $60 price tag, it will be gone within the first 5 minutes of playing. However, all of this detail comes at a price. There are moments of graphical stuttering and loading can be a bit frequent but not significant enough to detract from the experience.

Oblivion has been high on the hype scale and it definitely lives up to the buzz. There are hours and hours of content' make that weeks and weeks worth of content available. If you are a discerning gamer who purchases only a handful of games per year, this game will keep you busy. If you have a large library of games, you can prepare to have them begin collecting dust. Again, I can't stress enough how the pacing of this game is not going to be for everyone but if you go in with that expectation, you will have a great time. I will gladly keep paying $60 if this is the level of game hitting the market.

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