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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Member Review for the Xbox360

Icepick By:
Icepick
06/17/08
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE RPG 
PLAYERS
PUBLISHER Bethesda 
DEVELOPER Bethesda 
RELEASE DATE Out Now
M Contains Blood and Gore, Language, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

How can one go about describing vastness? What words can you use to explain the epic scope of Oblivion? Saying it's big some how fails to sum it up. Not being a master of language, or someone who's being paid to do this, I'm just going to state Oblivion is big, Rosie O'Donnell big.

The Elder Scrolls have always been a fascinating series, not withstanding a spin off that failed miserably, the game sets a plot, which genuinley is more intriguing than most games. Dumps you into the middle of.. well a town on the edge of nowhere, and says heres your toys, go play. It's not so much the gameplay, or the details, as it is the sheer scope of doing whatever you please whenever you please that attracts gamers to this gem.

That being said, does Oblivion live up to the expectations from Morrowind? Well in a short answer no. As earlier stated, the games appeal lies within it's impressive girth. Oblivion managed to dumb down Morrowind, and it's a shame, it's as if they feel console gamers just aren't up to snuff with PC gamers, and while I'd probably argue the exact same point, if that's the case why tailor the game to them? While I appreciate the ease of access the new menu system provides, the good comes in with the bad. There is a lot of dropped content, and when I say a lot, I mean Rosie just became Paris Hilton.

 

Heres a fine example of what's been dropped:

-Spears

-Medium Armor

-Enchanting (while it's present, it's nowhere near as complex)

-Short sword skills

-Crossbows

-Throwing weapons

-Levitation

Now that's not nearly all, but it still goes to show that it's more or less Morrowind light, and for those who enjoyed the massive expanse of skills and items in Morrowind, may be more than a little upset. And when you get into the core mechanics of the game, the issues only worsen and show just how dumbed down the game has become. Fast traveling for the impatient for an example. You're on a damn quest, not a sprint. And if only Mercedes knew there was GPS back in the middle ages, they wouldn't have to spend a couple million fo reseach and development on a location device for their cars.

It may seem harsh so far, but you can ignore many of these flaws as soon as you look at the horizon. It's all there for you to touch, pick, climb, and stab. While walking through a grassy field, in the twilight of dusk I could see a pack of deer a nice 4 minute walk from me, and I could actually hit them with an arrow from that distance.

Speaking of shooting, the new physics engine is definatley a big pro in my book, every object reacts to the laws of gravity, including arrows, it makes archery feel a lot more immersive than just constantly mashing the trigger. Blocking is now an active skill, and at your disposal are unlocked attacks as you level up. Combat feels more action orientated than a simple click click click affair from previous games.

While that's excellent, it appears those in charge of in game items got slightly lazy. A lot fo armors and weapons are missing, and you boil down to a simple group classing of each. While it's not as disabling for armors, weapons take a big blow seeing as most weapons have identicle attack motions, which pulls you away from being immersed in the game

As do the NPC interactions, at one moment you're talking to an imperial who sounds a bit.. "ginger" and the next sentance he sounds as if he's got 400 pound shoulders and kills a bear with his own hands for breakfast. It's issues like these that kill the gameplay for me, it just doesn't feel real, couple the fact most caverns feel the same, and after a while the country side blends into one big mass, it really does feel like your doing a chore walking somewhere rather than enjoying the journey

Which leads me to the absolute worse attrocity to hit the Elder Scrolls since the Colovian Fur Helm. Auto scaling. You only fight creatures around your level, regardless of what it is. Want to go do an epic quest, slay the hardest enemies in the game, and find the rarest of treasures? Than pop in Morrowind because you can fight your way through a sunken cavern, fighting vampires until you reach the treasure room, to find the coveted, long forgotten, mythical, rusty iron dagger.

In no means am I saying this is a bad game, it's epic and those who have yet to play it are missing out, but it fails to live up to what Morrowind set, and is a step backwards rather than forwards.


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