The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion ReviewDaniel Eaton
I got into the Elder Scrolls games somewhat early. Starting with their second game, Daggerfall, I found it somewhat boring, but I realized that Bethesda was onto something. Then Morrowind came out, and I was blown away. Now Oblivion has arrived, just in time to say goodbye to my social life.
Graphics: I'll start with the graphics, since that's what a good number of gamers today care the most about. I remember someone on the forums saying that this game looked like a dream, and he was absolutely right. Everything, even the rocks, are so pretty (and shiny!). Character models look great (except for orcs, they need to be bigger!), and most of the animation is well done, save for jumping, which still looks silly.
Sound: The background music is well orchestrated, but that is not what most people will notice first. They will probably notice the voice acting. All the 1000+ NPCs all have voices, and all are done extremely well. The sound effects are great too, though it would be nice to hear sounds of stuff hitting the ground when you throw it.
Controls: Bethesda took an already great control scheme and somehow made it better. For starters, the eliminated the need to ready a spell, which is a rather nice touch. They also added a button to block, which was much needed.
Gameplay: Here is the beauty of the Elder Scrolls games: you get to do whatever you want. That's right, nobody holds your hand in this game, or tells you how to play. With a 40+ hour main story, tons of other quests, and 16 square miles of area that can be explored, It's quite easy for anyone to find something to do. The fighting is much improved over Morrowind's clunky system, but it still is kinda shallow.
Why I gave it a 9: Most of the problems I encountered were technical. I'm quite used to Bethesda games lagging a bit here and there, but newcomers might be turned off. Also, the load times can be somewhat long (longer if you don't have a hard drive). One other problem with the game is also one of its pluses. Oblivion is extremely big, and while that's a great thing, it might overwhelm new players.
Rent or Buy? Renting this game for 5-7 days just won't do it justice. I highly recommend buying this if you're an rpg fan of any sort. Other people should buy it too, unless you hate rpgs, then give it a rent.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.