The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Developed by Bethesda Game Studios
Published by Bethesda Softworks and 2K Games
(Author's Note: What follows is the original review I wrote for "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" back in the spring of 2006, not long after the game released. The only changes were some formatting, an added comma, and the subtraction of opening sentences that I felt we could do without. I originally wrote this review for my high school newspaper, The Snow Canyon Nahuatl, when I was the editor for the technology page. I look forward to writing a new review in the next month or so before "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" is upon us. Cheers!)
There are two words to describe this game: freaking unbelievable. I could easily take up the whole page ranting and raving about this game, but I’m going to keep it as straightforward and to-the-point as possible.
Basically "Oblivion" is an epic, mythical, medieval-era RPG (role-playing game) taking place in a living and breathing world with hundreds of unique characters, monsters, and items. You start out by creating your character, and let me inform you this is without a doubt the most extensive character creation system in any video game out there. After choosing one of ten races and giving yourself a noble and fitting name you go to work on your face. You can position your nose in literally hundreds of ways, age your character by simply moving the slider, and even determine how much sparkle is in your bugged out or sunken eyes. After the creation has taken place you find yourself in a dungeon cell, but within minutes you take part in a daring escape through caverns and sewers by following the emperor and his men. It turns out a secret passage was located in your cell. Coincidence? I think not. The player is quickly thrown into the action, battling against goblins and giant rats all while getting familiar with the genius control scheme. You eventually choose what sign you were born under and your class. I created a Wood Elf born under The Thief and appropriately chose the Thief class. I’m the type who lurks in shadows and uses a bow to dispose of my enemies rather that rush in swinging my sword around. After you get through the tutorial which I spent two hours in (yes people, two hours in just the tutorial) you step out of the sewers and into the light with the most piercing image in video game history. Words can’t even begin to describe how gorgeous this game is. That first view you get of the outside world was enough to make me never stop playing this game. You can see the enormous mountains with snow capped peaks miles away in the distance, and the stretching plains to your left; behind you is the Imperial City with the Golden Tower stretching high into the sky.
There is so much to do and see it makes other games bow in shame. You can try to complete the main quest which takes over thirty hours to beat, but even after that there is so much more. You can buy a house, steal a horse, hunt down deer, catch a disease that leads to vampirism, place bets on gladiatorial battles or even become a gladiator yourself, fight trolls, pick flowers, search for gold, invest in stores, make magical potions, the list goes on and on and on. The artificial intelligence in this game is groundbreaking and remarkable all the same. People live their lives, they go out and buy stuff, go to the local taverns and have a drink or two, then go home and sleep. Everyone is different and you can talk to any of them. "Oblivion" has over fifty hours of voice acting; that is simply unheard of.
It has been in development by Bethesda Softworks since 2002 and it finally came out on March 21, 2006. I’ve been waiting for this game for years, but I nearly went insane until it arrived. I have already played for more hours than I’d like to admit, and saying I’m pathetically obsessed would be an understatement. Gamers everywhere need to try this game; it’ll be the best gift you could ever give yourself.
GameDaily.com posted their review on "Oblivion" just days after the game hit the shelves. They gave very high regards and I quote, “Buy this game immediately, and if you don't have an Xbox 360; buy an Xbox 360 just to play this game.” That pretty much sums it up right there folks. They’re saying this game is worth a near $500 dollar investment; I agree.
I have been playing video games since the Super Nintendo days and now have the lovely Xbox 360. I have played countless games during this time, and "Oblivion" is the best I have ever played.