The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Review

  • Posted April 14th, 2007 at 04:58 EDT by Eric Blattberg

Review Score

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

PSU Review Score
9.0
Avg. user review score:
9.5

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Summary

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is possibly the most immersive RPG to date.

We like

  • Open-ended design is awesome and combat is AAA.
  • Incredible animations, fantastic physics, and a breathtaking world.
  • 100+ hours gameplay.

We dislike

  • Occasional glitches are a little bothersome.
  • There are minor framerate issues.
  • Lip-syncing is hilariously off.

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

(continued from previous page) ...Emperor is especially excellent. Every NPC with Cyrodiil has full voice acting, complete with their own unique personality (except perhaps the guards; they are generally pretty similar). The only down side to having a massive amount of voice acting lies within the implementation. What that means is that the words being spoken by the characters doesn’t always match their lips. However, this is only a slight dent within the splendid audio of Oblivion.

RPGADD

No, Bethesda hasn’t come up with a new genre (but perhaps a new medical condition). What RPGADD means is role-playing game attention deficit disorder. The point is that Oblivion offers what other RPG’s (Fable, Morrowmind) have only hinted at – complete and total freedom to do whatever you want in a living, breathing world.

Go ahead, find the heir to the throne and seal the gates of Oblivion. The 40 hour main quest provides plenty of exciting gameplay and RPG action. Frankly, Oblivion would still be a decent game if it consisted only of the main quest. However, all the extra content is what makes Oblivion the awe-inspiring experience it is.

The game begins with a lengthy tutorial in which you must escape a dungeon. It leads you step by step through everything you need to know to begin the game. Nonetheless, Oblivion is certainly overwhelming at the start, especially for a newcomer to the Elder Scroll series. 

Don't expect to be clueless for too long as the interface and inventory allow for maximum options and information in a relatively clear and concise manner. Handy reminders will pop up in your journal, and the option to “quick travel” to a place you have previously visited severely cuts down on monotonous walking or horseback riding.

The controls work nearly as well. The parallel between attacking and blocking works perfectly. R1 attacks, whether it be a ranged or melee attack, while L1 blocks. If you are desperate and need to cast a spell, R2 performs whatever spell you currently have equipped. Oblivion remains a true RPG while the control scheme allows for action-packed battles.

The character advancements are actually reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, as peculiar as that sounds. If you want to increase your lock picking skills, simply pick locks. Acrobatic skill? Jump. Defensive skill? Block. Simple advancements like these take the place of traditional experience points, which is both beneficial and bothersome. This means that to level up, you don’t have to go grind enemies for hours upon end. Just perform whatever tasks you’d like and your particular skills will rise respectively. However, you may find yourself performing tedious actions just to raise a certain attribute that is important to your class.

Oblivion should be played mainly in first person mode. A third person view is offered, but character animations look clunky and unpolished. Also lacking is a way to aim precisely with magic or a bow. Oblivion was clearly made with first person view in mind, and since that works so well there is no reason to complain.

However, here’s the bad news. Expect to encounter some problematic glitches when playing through Oblivion. They aren’t the end of the world, but can cause some minor irritations. A few examples – occasionally getting stuck on an object, voices changing mid-conversation (strangely this happens predominantly with beggars), NPCs randomly dying, etc… Luckily none of the glitches are “game-ending;” and they don’t appear all too often over the course of the game.

Bang for your buck

Oblivion came out a year ago for the Xbox 360 and PC. But the PlayStation 3 version is no lousy 360 port. It boasts enhanced texture streaming, shorter load times, and includes side mission Knights of the Nine as standard. Unfortunately, other downloadable content such as expansion pack Shivering Isles is not yet available on the PlayStation Store.

Even without that additional content, Oblivion’s playtime can last well over 100 hours. Maybe joining a guild interests you. Do you dare join the Assassin’s Guild? Or perhaps the Mage’s Guild suits you better. Regardless, you can play Oblivion through a second time and have a completely different experience due to the ... (continued on next page)

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