Elder Scrolls IV: OBLIVION

                Those of you who played TES III: Morrowind will be aware that Bethesda Softworks do the free-roaming RPG very well; in fact it would be fair to say that it is their party trick. Morrowind achieved amazing success with the sheer variety of options available to the player, and the possibilities were VAST. Furthermore, with the construction kit and two expansion packs, Morrowind offered hours and hours of gameplay, with both scripted “Quests” and non-linear roleplaying.

                First off, Bethesda have, for the first time in the TES series, invaded the consoles. Apart from making the game available to a wider audience, bringing Oblivion to next generation consoles such as the XBOX 360 and the PS3, meant that Bethesda had so much more to work with. I am of course talking about the graphics, which are in a word, sublime. From the second the player finishes character creation until the moment they have completed every quest, collected every item, discovered every secret, they are faced with an environment that is as visually appealing as it spectacularly detailed.

                Graphics are all very well, but they mean nothing if they are trying to support poor gameplay.  An example; many of you will remember playing the famed Diablo series, which most will agree was and still is a fantastic game- without being a graphic revolution. The Mona Lisa on the other hand, while I have to agree that it is visually impressive, I certainly wouldn’t want to spend hours of my life playing with it. Cyrodill (the setting for Oblivion) is much smaller than Morrowind. Before you take this as a negative, I want you to be thinking quality over quantity. While it is not as big, the developers have done more with the space provided. You cannot walk a few meters without being confronted with some sort of cave or dungeon, not only that, the dungeons presented in Oblivion are full to the brim of quests, secrets, enemies and treasures to be found.

                There is not nearly enough time to go through all Elder Scrolls IV game features, but to summarise, the developers took everything that was good about Morrowind, and made it better. Some gamers will argue that this detracts from the free roaming aspect of the experience, but in my opinion, Oblivion presents a very satisfying RPG experience, focusing on QUALITY over QUANTITY. A definite must buy. by Benjamin Easteal

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