Thanks for the impressions. I think the game looks interesting. I'll be curious to see how it turns out. This is one of the games I have my eye on for the PS3. Not saying its enough to get me to drop $600 on the console, but at least its a start to a library of games that I would find interesting (along with White Knight and FFXIII).
I think this is more the case of MS wanting to run a consistent service. If they start giving too many things away for free they begin to set a precedent that would lead their customers to expect more free stuff in the future and would alter what we thought of as value. Always remember that MS is a buisness and is trying to make money. If they could sell you an empty box they would. It's all about how people view value. MS saw value in the Gears maps and knew that their customers would as well. They just don't want to undermine the perception of value that they have developed with XBL.
I don't want to get into that same old discussion about what constitues a RPG, but imo Oblivion is more role-playing than anything on the OP's list. I'd put it in the same category as Fallout or Planescape: Torment. You have the freedom to play a role instead of seeing a story through a characters eyes.
Comparing Oblivion with Fallout and Planescape is like asking to get kicked in the nuts. :lol:
I'm not comparing the games, at least on a competency basis. I'm saying that what you're doing in Oblivion is more role-playing than what you do in Final Fantasy or Valkyrie Profile. I'm not saying they're bad games, as I love them, but imo they are fundamentaly different games that all get lumped into the same genre based on the loose association with Tolkein or D&D or Ultima.