Moby Poll: What kind of game collector are you?

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Windows)

91
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.7
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Indra is here (19776)
Written on  :  Nov 27, 2006
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars

11 out of 20 people found this review helpful

write a review of this game
read more reviews by Indra is here
read more reviews for this game

Summary

Envious doesn't even describe what I feel about this game...

The Good

2nd Update

I remember the vastness of Ultima VI: The False Prophet, one of the few games that made an impression on my childhood. Now we have Oblivion that is like 1000 times bigger than the world introduced by Origin and their motto was "We create worlds". Boy, technology sure seems to go way fast.

Anyways, before I start there is something I need to say. I played Morrowind and Daggerfall (since they're one of those you love it or hate it kinda games). I wasn't quite too fond of the others, regardless playing those dang games for weeks/months. And most people I know don't want to touch Oblivion because of those bad experiences: Too big a world, but monotonous, linear, etc. When I heard about Oblivion, I wasn't too excited. Another Morrowind? Hah. Booring.

Needless to say, I was wrong. Dead wrong. And probably Oblivion was supposed to be what the developers had in mind in the first place, but were technologically speaking insufficient. So here we go. The good stuff.

Big IS Better
OK. This world is big. Huge, enormous. But being big is also boring for some games. Not in Oblivion. The level of graphical detail is amazing! You DO NOT GET BORED walking around without a purpose. You could stumble across ingredients for your alchemy, monsters (of course), undiscovered dungeons and temples. Or you could just watch the sun and the moon and be amazed at its beauty. Better still, if you watch it by the sea. Now if there's a place I would want to take my girl out, its at sunset in Anvil (a seaside port city in Oblivion). Geeky me!

Non-linear
Well, every game is technically linear. Especially when it comes to RPGs. It's as linear at the primary mission. What makes a game un-linear as so introduced by games like Final Fantasy is the choice to do something else BESIDES the primary mission. This is what makes Oblivion fantastic! There are Guild quests, Side quests, didn't know that was a quest - quests. Boy, this game has a lot of quests. And a lot of those quests take a looong time to complete, but it's not just about defeat this and take that item. A lot have stories. Which is why this game is very good. This game has a lot of dang stories. Weird stories, funny stories, sad stories. All embedded in those multitude of quests.

Options in how you want to finish a quest is also plentiful. You can kill the dude, steal from the dude, ignore the dude. Depends on how you want to finish the job. Though some aren't that optional, but there are other ways. I play Oblivion with 2 other friends, we all have different tastes. And for a game like Oblivion (and other game for that matter) is to have other people you know try stuff you would never even think of trying or is against your "rules of engagement" in playing games.

Graphics
Mentioned it before. Not a particular fan of eye-candy. The game doesn't have eye-candy. The game does have "graphical detail" which to me is different than eye candy. Eye-candy doesn't astound you. Graphical detail does. Graphical detail makes you respect the developers that spent months creating something that made you "feel" the atmosphere of the world of Oblivion. Even more amazing is that I played Oblivion at the graphical minimum settings. I can't imagine what more settings would make the game feel like.

Artificial Intelligence
This game rocks! All the beings in Oblivion have a standard of going places, doing things. Needs work though I tell you, but you know the AI is very beneficial when you're running to the city gates being chased by Ogres and Goblins and the City Guards run to help you fight them off. If you're pissed at the Guards, you can hit one of them and run to the nearest guild (of which you're a member of) and see everyone fight each other. This is anarchy in the making!

Personalized Voice-overs and Dialogs
Though you tend to notice sooner or later that a lot of dialogs are repeatable as well as the voice-overs. The magnitude of those that aren't repeated is incomparable though.

Many dialogs also have very funny stories/comments, which apparently was created out of fun by the developers. Here's one of my favorites:
    Dark Elf Shopkeeper: "Do you know what the fine is for Necrophilia?"

    My answer: "Is this your first time offence?"

    Dark Elf: "Let's say, yes?"

    My answer: "Then its around 500 gold coins."

    Dark Elf: "That's much cheaper than in Morrowind! Thanks!"

The Bad

Unfortunately, the game has a lot of irritating factors too. Among others but in no particular order.

Game Difficulty
About 38 hours later I discovered that you can adjust the game difficulty (doh) - in game. Which is fine, what is not fine is that the enemies don't really adjust to your abilities. The default game difficulty is somewhat too easy. You need to adjust the difficulty a bit more to the right (although adjusting the difficulty to maximum means you couldn't kill that rat no matter what you do).

Another thing is that most of the game difficulty heavily relies on your armor and theirs. Daedra are difficult only because they wear Daedric Armor. If they were naked, they are a little easy to kill. There appears to be an unbalanced use between armor/weapon and skills.

Horses
Oooh, you can ride a horsey. Yay! Er, but that's about it. You can ride them but can't do anything on them. Can't fight on horses, can't cast spells on horses. The driving mechanism is lame (can't move it like your walking). In fact for me, horses have no use what so ever in Oblivion. Can't even get horse meat if you kill a horse (Alchemy reasons). So personally for me I just walk all over the place. Takes longer, but at least you get have time gathering herbs. This is of course, subjective taste...and I wasn't referring to the horse meat :)

Sound and Music
The sound and music in Oblivion isn't one of its strong suits in the game. If I were to say so far, it doesn't fulfill the magnificence the game represents. Oblivion is an "epic" kind of game. While the music for example is almost always the "prologue" kind of music. Never does it hit the "epic" level you hear in epic movies. The sound is so-so. Standard nothing worth mentioning. When it comes to sound and music, nothing ground-breaking happening here.

3rd Person Perspective
You can change your perspective from 1st person to 3rd person. 3rd person is somewhat fun when you're travelling. But when it comes to combat. You always go to 1st person. Why, because the game mechanics weren't made for 3rd person combat. You can't fight very well in this perspective. You can't target you're spells for example, unless you're right in front of the enemy. Even that, you can still miss since you're assuming the direction the spell is going.

Note: I finally realized that for melee special attacks, its actually easier in 3rd Person Perspective. Doesn't work very well in 1st Person Perspective. Now this is quite confusing since now both perspectives have pro's and con's. Someone obviously forgot to mention a combat tutorial somewhere...

Character leveling up
Hmmm, I recall in Morrowind even Minor skills can help you level up in the game. In Oblivion only Major skills effect your leveling up. Pretty stupid from where I'm standing. I'd like to think every little detail effects you. Oh well. This also means there's a faster level cap for Oblivion than previous games...something I'm personally do not like.

Where's my teleport spell?
Mind you, I haven't installed any mods or patches so the version I got didn't have a freaking teleport spell. A game this big and no teleport spell? Hello, what were you developers thinking?

Useless Skills
There are a lot of useless skills in the game however. Speechcraft, Security, etc. Since these can be replaced by certain magical spells. In fact a lot of skills can be replaced by magical spells. In fact come to think of it, you cannot survive this game WITHOUT magical spells. This game is too heavily dependent on magic. There's no way you can defeat an enemy fast without casting a spell or two. This is self evident when you increase your level and try comparing between melee skills and magical skills. More than often, magical spells tend to kill the bloke faster than whacking the monster with an over-sized tree branch.

Re-spawning Items
Well, most of you may disagree, but I personally like that fact that the house I just robbed should REMAIN empty!!! This only applies to items in chests, drawers or any storage object. Items here apparently re-spawn after several days (around a week, I think).

Fan Mod Dependent
If you check out the fan mods created for this game, you'd be surprised at how creative our fellow gamers are. What saddens me is that a lot of those mods should've been minimal standards for the original game release. You really need to do a LOT OF DOWNLOADING to fully appreciate the experience this game has to offer.

Inventory Chaos
Yep. This inventory in this game is somewhat chaotic. The screen isn't very nice, somewhat needs to be more user-friendly: The fonts, the quick linking, etc.

Alchemy Chaos
Yikes, creating Alchemy Potions here is a complete nightmare! My kingdom for an in-game recipe feature, easier filters for ingredients, etc.

Quick-Button Limitation
Now this is the most stupid feature in Oblivion. For a game that has a lot of weapons/spells/items, you really need to switch between one item to the other fast, right? Right. The thing is, you only have 9 Quick Buttons. What? Only 9? You need 2-3 for weapons, 2-3 for potions, at least 20 for spells (hehe). This limited Quick Button feature really is bad, since there are a lot of buttons on the keyboard waiting to be assigned. They shouldn've learned a thing or two from Neverwinter Nights about Quick Buttons.

The Bottom Line

If RPG is the name of your game, this game is the best PC RPG game since Fable. This game will keep you busy for weeks if not months.

Note: If you require low-level intelligence RPGs (hack and slash RPGs) then this probably isn't the RPG for you...