Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Xbox 360 Review

The readers post their own reviews.
feilong801
Posts: 2173
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Xbox 360 Review

Postby feilong801 » January 30th, 2007, 2:13 am

A+.

 

That's what I'm going to give Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. The first one I've given in these forums. Is the game perfect? No. But no game is. So how does a game get an A+?

Here is how I personally view grades:

 

A "C" grade is something that is adequate. Serviceable, but not great. Not a total ripoff, but in this golden age of videogames, you probably won't finish the game if it requires more than ten hours of your time.

 

A "B" grade is something that is going to have some strong points. A pretty solid effort. But there are better games.

 

(A note: I gave Gears of War a B+, after smoking crack , so I'll go ahead and explain that rationale here: a "B+" is a good, even great game, but there are several other games out there that do a similar 'thing' better, in my opinion, hence it falls short of an "A".) 

 

An "A" grade is an outstanding effort. Few if any games can approach or exceed a game such as this.

 

An "A+," however, would indicate an outstanding effort that clearly shines above every other attempt to do what it does. There is no better.

 

That's what Oblivion is, folks. Pure, unadultered American RPG goodness. And lots of it. The Xbox 360 has precious few RPGs at the moment, but it wouldn't matter if it had 200. Oblivion rules the roost with so many impressive features and attributes, that it would be an impossiblity to list them all here.

 

So..... let's start with the annoying crap about the game, eh?

 

Much has been made of the controversial "scaled leveling" system. For those unfamiliar, it is as easy as this: when you level up, the whole game levels up. At level 1-5, expect to see rats and small animals in the woods. At levels 13-20, its vicious mountain lions and huge trolls.

 

Most RPGs slowly develop you into a super power, near immortal character. By game's end, you'll plow through most areas with ease, save for the final boss. In Oblivion, there is no such thing. You will never have it easy. And this has angered many RPG fans, and left me confused as to what to think. After all, its pretty cool to level up to a crazy powerful super warrior. And I did miss that aspect here.

 

However, the more I played the game, the more I realized that it had to be this way. Bethesda clearly wants you to play this sucker for 100 hours. If you leveled up conventionally, you would soon mow through everything in a nanosecond, making the game far more boring, especially when you get past the main quest. And it isn't like there aren't benefits for leveling, even with the scaled system. The loot gets better, the gold gets easier to find (so you can afford more stuff at the shops) and you'll enjoy outfitting your character with the incredibly beautiful ancient armor that you'll be getting as you become more experienced.

 

Also, while graphically impressive, the game strains under the immense weight of its HUGE world. Though it is much, much better looking than its Xbox predecessor (Morrowind), you'll notice plenty of pop up, fog, and some framerate hiccups here and there. 

 

To be perfectly honest, however, the world is so massive and impressive that it would be a little disturbing if there weren't some glitches. That's a joke. Sort of.

 

Moving on to the things the game does right, I'll frame this in the context of improvements over Morrowind.

 

I loved Morrowind, but it had some serious flaws that kept it from being "A" material. For one: no fast travel. In a huge world like this, it is a massive drag to have to physically walk all over, even though this is certainly helpful in terms of level building. Oblivion has the much needed "fast travel" feature, where you can instantly travel to areas you've already visited.

 

Also, the combat is vastly improved. You can now apply a decent amount of technique to the fighting, and non-RPG fans might actually be won over by the realtime, first person fighting this game offers. You can't just win battles by button mashing, and it is satisfying to take down a difficult foe after mapping out a succesful stratagy.  

 

The audio presentation is top notch as well. From a beautiful, soaring musical score (which ranks as some of the finest American game music to date) to fully voiced NPCs (yes, every single one of them is fully voiced), this is a game that sounds as good as it plays.

 

Another improvement from Morrowind is the main quest (the main plot of the game). Morrowind's main quest was so haphazardly presented, that it almost dissuaded you from trying it at all. I attempted to play through it many times, but just got bored and started doing the various side quests and guild things.

 

Oblivion, thankfully, presents a compelling adventure that is generally fun and rewarding. Patrick Stewert (Star Trek, X-Men) and Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings, Goldeneye) provide strong voice acting, especially Bean. Bean, in fact, turns in one of the finest video game voice performances to date, with a nuanced portrayal of Martin Septim. Though there are a few parts of the main quest that get a tad tedious (mostly the "Allies for Bruma" part, which is optional but does help you later, which is all I can say while keeping this spoiler free), there are also some epic battles, including an encounter in the end that had me tossing "expletives of shock" at the screen.

 

Finally, of course, there is the freedom. There are so many ways to play this game. Even if you choose a class that is a bit deficient in one area, you are only some training sessions away from boosting that area, so you never feel terribly stuck. The side quests are rarely boring, and a few are almost worthy of a game in their own right. And, as an added bonus, there is a significant amount of new material to purchase over Xbox Live, including the "Knights of the Nine," which adds a whole new faction and large scale quest to the game.

 

One more thought: To me, this game is the single player RPG answer to the world of MMO gaming. The promise of the MMO is to create a persistant world that doesn't end. To be a person in that world that develops a true persona. To me, however, it seems to be a bit more about socializing with fellow players, and it is hard to call it roleplaying in the true sense. It might be a great experience (I really haven't done any MMO gaming myself), but I can't imagine feeling too immersed in a different world when I run across people with silly names, or always having the suspicion that the hottie night elf is really a guy trying to exploit other players.

 

Oblivion decides to go about the MMO thing from another angle: Make a single player RPG where the world is so vast, and the NPCs so lifelike, that you don't even need other people to populate it. And, miraculously, it largely succeeds.

 

Ignore this game at your own peril. A+. A tremendous achievement in modern gaming.

 

-Rob 

 


JustLikeHeaven1
Posts: 2971
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Xbox 360 Review

Postby JustLikeHeaven1 » January 30th, 2007, 2:44 pm

Hey Rob, nice review.   I have a few questions that I hope you can answer.

 

1).  Do you play the game from the 1st or 3rd person perspective (I know it has both, but which did you use)?  What are the postive and negatives of both.

 

2).  You talked about the leveling a little bit, can you go into a little more depth about what type of character you created...spells and abilities you used..any favorites?

 

I think thats it for now...if I think of any more I will let you know.  Thanks.


feilong801
Posts: 2173
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Xbox 360 Review

Postby feilong801 » January 30th, 2007, 4:56 pm

[QUOTE=JustLikeHeaven]

Hey Rob, nice review.   I have a few questions that I hope you can answer.

 

1).  Do you play the game from the 1st or 3rd person perspective (I know it has both, but which did you use)?  What are the postive and negatives of both.

 

2).  You talked about the leveling a little bit, can you go into a little more depth about what type of character you created...spells and abilities you used..any favorites?

 

I think thats it for now...if I think of any more I will let you know.  Thanks.

[/QUOTE]

Good questions, JLH.

 

1. I mostly used first person, and the game seems designed for that purpose: combat is certainly far easier in FP view. However, the ability to view yourself from the third person is still a good ability to have, as you are going to want to "check yourself out," so to speak, as you get better looking weapons and armor. Eventually, your character is going to look pretty sweet once you get ahold of some of the finer items. In addition, you get to see your technique improve as you develop better combat skills. I like how my character does these little twirling motions with his sword, now that I'm up to 84 in the blade category.

 

That said, there were definitely long periods of time which I played in third person. As long as you don't have *difficult* battles to fight, it looks pretty cool.

 

2. I used a dark elf character with the "Battle Mage" class. I found this gave me a good blend of magical and combat abilities. A little light on stamina, however, so I did get easily knocked down by strong opponents. I've also experimented with the Nords, which are a terrific race if you like melee combat. I haven't done much with the "cat people" and "lizard people" races. Britons are only good if you want to use magic most of the time. They are pretty weak in the ol' HP department.

 

I played the game mostly as a melee fighter, specializing in sword play, with a dash of spell casting. I generally used status altering and healing spells, plus a "shock" spell (which is a "on touch" spell, so you have to get close to use it).

 

As the game wore on, I found great success with enchanted weapons. If you participate in the main quest, you'll be closing down lots of Oblivion gates. Each time you do, you get yourself a sigil stone, which can be used to enchant a weapon, with various effects. Real lifesavers!! You can take a normal, generic longsword and fuse it with a sigil stone to create a death dealing magical blade. And you can even name your new weapon (I usually called my weapons totally idiotic names, such as "booyah").

 

Now that I've completed the main quest (and attained tremendous fame, which is tracked in the game and affects how NPCs treat you), my goals are to get mastery in as many skills as possible, and buy some houses (so I can store more loot). I also look forward to trying the "Knights of the Nine" add on at some point.

 

-Rob

 

 


Leo Ames

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Xbox 360 Review

Postby Leo Ames » February 1st, 2007, 1:04 pm

I just want to add one comment, 3rd person view in Oblivion is awful. It just doesn't even look close to being correct, you look like you're floating.

 

I can't imagine anyone ever doing more than just checking it out once, most will be sticking with 1st person view. You can see what your character looks like right in the equipment screens.


JustLikeHeaven1
Posts: 2971
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Xbox 360 Review

Postby JustLikeHeaven1 » February 1st, 2007, 1:13 pm

[QUOTE=Leo Ames]

I just want to add one comment, 3rd person view in Oblivion is awful. It just doesn't even look close to being correct, you look like you're floating.

 

I can't imagine anyone ever doing more than just checking it out once, most will be sticking with 1st person view. You can see what your character looks like right in the equipment screens.

[/QUOTE]

Yea, I was afraid it would be unplayable from the 3rd person perspective.  The only reason I even asked was because 9 out of 10 1st person games give me motion sickness.  The only games that it really doesn't bother me much is Halo, Resistance: FoM, Unreal Championship 1 & 2 and Doom 3. 

 

I am going to have to try out Oblivion before I decide to buy it.  I would hate to spend $60 on a game only to have it be unplayable because it makes me sick.


feilong801
Posts: 2173
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Xbox 360 Review

Postby feilong801 » February 1st, 2007, 2:53 pm

To refine what I said a bit, yeah, the game was not meant to be played in third person. That feature is added out of convienance. I mainly use it when I'm walking about the wilderness, but you can't really use it at all in combat.

 

-Rob


ActRaiser1
Posts: 2726
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Xbox 360 Review

Postby ActRaiser1 » February 10th, 2007, 7:39 pm

I'm in complete agreement.  If there's any other game out there that can suck your soul I don't know what it is.  I've seriously been afraid to pop it in again and finish a few things up and try the downloadable content just for the simple fact that I can count another month of my life gone.  Fantastic game!



Return to “Reader Reviews”