Oblivion is not only the RPG for the next generation, it's one of the best games of all time!
-Beautiful and breath taking graphics
-Huge massive world to explore
-Endless amount of content and gameplay variety
-Freedom to create any character you want and play how you want
-Combat and gameplay mechanics are very solid
-Insanely deep RPG elements
-Guilds are all excellent and rewarding
-Will keep you busy for a LONG time
-Some repetitive dungeon designs
-Horses could be a little more refined
The Elder Scrolls Oblivion is a huge step forward, not just for RPG's, but for games and the industry as a whole! It's graphics are amazing, it's world is amazing, and more importantly, it's gameplay is amazing! Oblivion is a game that EVERYONE should play, this is the game that defines "Next Gen", this is the game that will go down in history as one of the biggest milestones for gaming.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is the sequel to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and while veteran fans of the Elder Scrolls series will love Oblivion, so will new comers the series and people who were disappointed with the series' past installments. Like other past Elder Scrolls installments, you begin the game in prison. Immediately after the games beautiful intro, you will get the chance to make your character.
All the races from past Elder Scrolls have returned, and each one is better suited toward certain gameplay types, but the best part is that you are not bound by it. You are free to make any kind of character you want, if you want an Orc wizard go ahead. If you want to play as a sneaky sniper go ahead. You can play anyway you want, and best of all, there is no wrong way to play it. You can choose to wander the vast world, exploring the many old forts and caves that reside in the land of Cyrodil.
You can play as a hunter who lives in the forest, hunts animals for their meat and hides and sells them. You can be a powerful wizard who travels the world in search of new spells and artifacts. Or a deadly and sinister assassin who makes poisons out of the many plants he gathers in the world and stalks his target in the night. Or an outlaw who lives life running from the law and causing all kinds of trouble. Or anything else you can imagine! The beauty of Oblivion is you can play however you choose, you can get lost in the endless possibilities that it provides.
After you make you choose your race (don't worry too much as Oblivion gives you a chance to change anything about your character before you head out into the big world),and go through the very deep character customization, you will be "greeted" (more like insulted) by another prisoner across from your cell. He will say different things depending on your race, but the result is the same. He does not like you. Thankfully you won't have to listen to his mocking for very long as the guards come to your cell with the Emperor himself, who is escaping from the city via a secret route that goes directly through your cell.
The Emperor is Uriel Septim (played by none other than the very talented Patrick Stewart) who chooses to let you live and follow him throughout the escape route because he has seen you in a vision before. It is here you will get to choose one of the many different birth signs (again do not worry too much as you will get a chance to change it later if you are unhappy with it), these range from things like giving you extra magic or health, to powers like turning invisible, and any number of different things. After you make your decision you will get your first real taste of combat, and you will be glad to hear that much has improved since Morrowind!
Swinging a sword feels like swinging a sword, it slashes and cuts, no more invisible misses like in the days of Morrowind, every time you pick up a weapon and use it on an enemy, it will hit them if you target them regardless of your skill level. The higher your skill level does determine things such as how much damage you do with that particular weapon or skill, as well as general finesse and other things. Just like past Elder Scrolls games, your skills go up the more you use them. So if you want to get better in shooting a bow, well practice shooting a bow more in combat to increase it. If you want to get better in Heavy Armor, start wearing it more in combat.
This gives the player the power of level and character progression, you get to choose how to level up your character, not anyone else. Each weapon style feels unique, daggers and short swords are much quicker but fatigue your character less, longer or two handed swords cut more and do more damage, but are much slower and can fatigue your character faster. Blunt weapons feel like the bash and bruise, axes feel like they are hack right into the enemy, bows feel powerful when they snap and hit their target, even magic attacks like fireballs feel dangerous as they shoot across the area and burn the enemy! The combat mechanics are very refined and you will look forward to it and experiment trying new ideas, weapons, spells, and tactics.
Once you get the feel of combat you will start to experiment with different types of gameplay, for instance stealth. Clicking in the left thumb stick will send the player into "Stealth" mode and they will crouch down. In this mode you are less likely to be seen and move more slowly, similar to other games. Oblivion has definately improved upon this game mechanic since Morrowind! Magic is another gameplay type you will get to experience with during your escape, each different skill of magic offering different types of gameplay experiences. For example the skill of Destruction governs the use of fire balls, lightning bolts, and other types of classic damaging spells. Where as the magic skill of Conjuration allows you to summon monsters to help you in combat, where as Restoration will heal you and the Illusion skill will allow you to bend the minds of people and turn invisible. There are many more different types of magic skills (and skills in general) that you will get to play with, the point is that the system is so incredibly deep you will love it the more and more you play it! It is a system that rewards players, all the while keeping the control in their hands.
Eventually you will get to choose your class, the game will recommend one to you based off of your play style so far, but you can ignore that if you want and instead choose on of the many pre-made classes. Or if you want, you can even make your own class yourself! Each class has two primary attributes that governs which skill types level up the fastest, for instance having Agility as a main attribute will make your Marksman, Security, and Sneak skills increase faster. Where as having Willpower as a main attribute will cause Destruction, Restoration, and Alteration skills to increase at a faster and easier rate. You also get 7 main skills, these will make up the bulk of your character and will be the only skills that count towards increasing your "main level". Upon which you will rest and choose to increase the attributes of your choice. If all this sounds confusing, don't worry. The game handles this very well and you will have absolutely no problem with it.
After you make your character level you will finish making your escape out of the prison, where as just before you leave you will be given the chance to change anything you want about your character, and you will be thrusted into the world for the first time. And boy is it beautiful! The game shows what next gen is all about, the sun shines bright, the sky is blue and clear, the grass is a beautiful green, the water looks realistic as it flows and ripples, the hills are dotted with dense trees, the mountains in the distance have snow on the top, you can see it all and it looks amazing!
You will definately get the urge to explore the worlds vastness, and you will certainly enjoy it as there is so much to see, do, and discover. You are allowed to do whatever you want to, if you want to do the main quest that was given to you, go ahead. If you want to choose to do explore what the world has to offer, go for it. Or maybe you want to join a guild, maybe a magic one to learn new spells? Whatever it is, it's up to you and you will have a great time doing it. The world is for you to decide what to do in it. All the while listening to the games beautiful sound track, it's so well done it brings out emotion and makes the game come to life even more. It is simply one of the best soundtracks in a video game, period!
And of course it wouldn't be an RPG without dungeons, and Oblivion has plenty! From creepy caves to old forts and more, the game has plenty! These are populated with enemies and often carry the best equipment and loot in general, and while they are well designed, they tend to be a bit repetitive and feel a little copy-and-paste. But this is a minor complaint as the dungeons do offer interesting new things to discover, so you have plenty of reason to explore them. Oblivion also offers a great and easy travel system to get around Cyrdoil with, simply go open up your map and click on the location you want to "fast travel" to, and there you go. You can fast travel to any location you have been to before.
This makes Oblivion even more fun to explore, where as Morrowind had a less convienant travel system which often required the player to back track. There are also horses available in Oblivion as well, however these are not as refined as they could be. You cannot attack while on a horse, requiring you to dismount when engaging in combat, and the horses are a bit clunky in their movements. But they are still fun to quickly cruise around Cyrodil and admire the beautiful scenery with nonetheless.
The main quest revolves around the coming of Mehrunes Dagon, whom is worshipped by a cult known as The Mythic Dawn. They are hell bent on bringing upon the demise of Tamriel and do it by creating Oblivion Gates, giant portals to hell it's self where demons and monsters constantly come pouring out of and into the world. And it is up to you to stop it (if you choose to of course)! The Oblivion gates are huge and epic, you will feel like you just accomplished something intense after completing one. They are dark and red, and quite gruesome. Bethesda definately did great art direction with these, dead bodies lie burnt on the ground, people hang from the tops of scary evil towers, rivers of lava flow and fountains of blood constantly pour. Even the vegetation in these places is dangerous!
The only way to close these gates is to get to the main tower (there are often several towers) and to grab the Sigil Stone at the top. Which will then teleport the player back outside to Cyrodil in safety and close the gate. Closing Oblivion gates are quite long and can get very challenging, but your reward is well worth it, as the sigil stones you receive can be used to upgrade and enchant your weapons or armor, as well as receiving plenty of new loot to sell or keep for yourself! Oblivion Gates however are entirely optional, so if you don't feel like completing one then just pass it by.
Outside of the main quest there is a large variety of guilds you can join and side quests you can peform. You can join the Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, Dark Brotherhood, Thieves Guild, and the Arena. You are allowed to join all of them if you so choose, each guild offers it's own different types of gameplay quests, Fighters Guild and The Arena being more combat oriented, Mages Guild obviously for players more suited towards spells, and The Dark Brotherhood and The Thieves Guild being geared towards stealth.
You don't have to worry about character requirements like Morrowind, you are free to join any guild regardless of your characters skill, stats, race, or level. You can join The Mages Guild even though you don't use magic. You can join The Dark Brotherhood even if you don't like sneaking. It is like this for all the guilds in the game, this is an excellent design choice that makes sure the player never feels left out regardless of the character they choose to play. The side quests are also varied and there are plenty of them, one will have you helping a father's sons defend their farm from Goblins, another will have you getting kidnapped on a boat by pirates and you having to fight them to regain control of the ship, and plenty more. The amount of variety in these side quests is amazing to say the least.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is something special, it is revolutionary for the industry. It has a vast world, it has deep customization, it has endless hours of content, it has great gameplay, it has it all. Oblivion is by far the most immersive game ever made, you can get lost in it. It will provide you an unforgettable experience that is only limited by your own imagination. Oblivion is a masterpiece!
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion get's a 10/10