The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion review
Praise be Akatosh...
Bear in mind with me that I am "not" familiar with 2002's Morrowind, nor the Elder Scrolls Series at all.
Bethesda has always been out to promise the perfect visual of an Rpg where either the player wants to kill time and explore the massive land of Cyrodii and discover new sights, or quickly finish the whole game itself. Bethesda simply gives the player "freedom" to do as he or she wishes, how they want, and when they want. The team has ensured the same for the new segment of the Elder Scrolls, Oblivion.
At the start of the game, you are immediately requested to design your character's race, sex, and visuals to the closest content. A total of 10 Races are available, each with their own unique stats, from the heavy sword fighting "Imperial" to even the Animal charming, Wood Elf. The option to make the character look pale, dark, young, or even elderly aged is also optional, hair/eye rendering and color are also included.
From there, you will need to pick a unique "job" of the character, will you be a good Magic casting sorcerer? Rely on heavy arms, swift with a Bow, or plainly a sneaking thief, its all up to the player. They may even wish to design their own Job and name it themselves, picking their ideal skills best suited for them.
The last step of character creation is the "Birthsign"
There are as many types that both has it's advantages and dissadvantages, The "Thief" increases speed and agility by 10 automatically.
At the end of the trainning session, you are given a second chance to see if they want to make changes, if not, the player can progress.
The Skills of each job is differed in two classes, Major and Minor. The Player's Major skills are set to be most likely and necessary attributes that are required to master in order to "level up" , while Minor dosen't benefit leveling, and raising at a slower rate, it still helps maintain the skills that will come to use. A total of 20 skills are available to try out, each with their own ranks, from Novice to Master. For example, A Novice Defender will have their fatigue drainned from almost any attack, and as Master, your shield is able to paralyze and stun the enemy. The more you defend, the higher this skill raises.
Upon raising Major skills, there is a red bar below them that states the required limit to level up and raises as each Major skill is enhanced. When the bar is full, you are informed that a level up is enabled, however, this isnt the typical "automatic" status upgrade, the player is required to "sleep" at either an Inn, camp, or their own home (in which the are able to buy throughout Cyrodii) Then, they are asked to raise which 3 of the 8 Perimeters (Not skills) of the character. Strength enables more fatigue, a bigger load of items, and their melee powers, Speechcraft involves being able to get out information of people without having to bribe as much.
The gameplay is one of the biggest improvements of all, featuring both third person view, and a new First person, to help time defend and attack methods.
The lower left corner are 3 colored bars, The most important vital aspects that the player must pay attention to. The Red bar is the "Health Points", The character will fall victim to alot of combat in the early beginning, so its always mandatory to learn how to time defending (Left Trigger) and attacking (Right Trigger) at the same time. The Blue Bar is the Magicka energy stored into the player. Starting with minor healing and flare spells, it can still be quite a hassle if not used properly, but can regenerate by standing isle. The Green bar is the Fatigue Gauge, the "Combat" Energy. By Defending, using a bow, Meleeing, and even Jumping drains the gauge, and is the gauge is low, the character will sustain more damage, attacks will damage less, and running speed will be decreased. Fortunately, like Magicka, the energy can also regenerate by standing Isle. Health is the only exception and must be recovered with potions or magic, if the Gauge is empty, the game is over, Although the game does auto-save frequently, it is still mandatory to save often.
In the trainning sessions, you fight a little too big of "Rats" with a shield and sword picked up from a fallen "Blade" Knight and timing is necessary, you dont want to always stand guarding, or button smashing either. One important note is that running away from a battle is never a good idea, UNLESS townguards are nearby, if not, Enemies will always pursue, even from one room to another.
The game's enviroments are always set to be in dark engulfed dungeons, fortunately, a "Torch" is available to grab and use to see the game clearly, however, if the player wants to use stealth, the Torch must be put away.
Combat Magic is set in numerous categories, from Destruction magic (Elemental powers) to Alteration, a unique form that features underwater breathing, and even making the enemy's equipment too heavy for them to handle.
The Player is given the option of "Stealth" to avoid detection by forces, with additonal choices to either "pickpocket" or surprise them with a critical attack. Sunlight, the weight of boots, and slow walking increases chance of stealth methods.
Oblivion's "Alchemy" skill features a specialized way of forming absolutely different potions from 4 ingredients. The game wil not always have the closest shop with the necessary healing items, so it is for the best interest to come up with the numerous combinations avalable. However, at Novice, the player will not have much freedom to mix everything in any order, so creating many potions with ingredients found throughout the land, from wildflowers, fruit, and even the dark plants of Oblivion, is a must.
As much as a dozen items at every corner can be picked up and used for the player's own purpose, fruit, silverware, tapestry, and equipment are some of the most common items available. Upon killing enemies, the option to "loot" them is another interesting way of taking their goods and leaving them in their undergarments, as time passes the remains turn into bones, also pickable. For the Archers, arrows can always be picked up from either the enemy' body or the floor when their shot is a miss and are always reuseable, as long as they are able to find the arrow. The down side is that the player can't always pick up everything they see, each item has a weight limit and is added onto the total (which is commonly 200, but can be upgraded with the strength perimeter) carrying too much will make incapability to move, so selling items or simply dropping them is the best steps. Dropping items has been a good asset, knowing what the player just dropped will simply stay on the floor, if dropped a Chainmail, the item will be a chainmail, no simple "brownbag" sprites.
Traveling in the game has it's beautiful sights, with the option to speed time, the enviroment also changes each time, it will be foggy, snowy, and even shimmer the dark with lightning, the weather is always different on the different days. Quest modes differ if the quest must be done in night time or in daylight as well, and as well as if the player must commit a crime or "backstabbing" another, it is up to the player to decide, though it techincally dosent familiarize with Fable, these decisions do raise your fame, imfamy, or bounty if a crime is commited.
The option to explore the game is marvelous, an estimated total of 200 dungeons are available to search, so the player will always have one discovery after another. Upon discovering a sight, simple "quick travel" can be done on the map, as long as the player is withing close miles of that location.
Horseback riding is also available, whether buying or stealing the horse it's all in choice.
The game's visual resembles almost realism from the grass blowing from the wind, smog of the oblivion gates, and the wonderful expressions of almost real-like characters, resembled with top notch voice content. What is absolutely amazing of these NPC's (Non-playable characters) is that they are always out to do something, they can either be hunting deer, walking around and chatting among townsfolk, Townguards defending the town from pirates, Oblivion demons, and even performing their duties as clerk or a inn-keeper. At even funny instances, is that a beggar can swiftly sneak behind another person and pickpocket them without even knowing!
One of the bad aspects of each new game is the "Lag" issue, expecially with the X 360.
At some occurrences, fighting among foes slows down the actual gameplay, making the normal time of defending or simply running away from the battle extremely frustarting.
The actual concept to "level" up is annoying, knowing that at the start of the game, without proper preperations, the player can be ambushed from mercenaries or animals at any time.
The Persuading system of the game is simply frivolous and inexplanatory, leaving bribing the most ideal choice, but can be quite costly, as gold is also necessary for the game's travel.
One of the "Darkest" sides of the game is Crime. Although the option to do almost everything is avalable, stealing, breaking into homes, and committing murder, will draw attention to the guardsmen. Resisting arrest to highly experienced guards will more be more than happy end your life in seconds. Managing to run away will have Cyrodii's cities placing a bounty in the player, decreasing fame and making the villagers cautious of the player's presence. By going to jail, you can avoid the battle and spend time in a small cell, breaking out of jail is optional, but by serving time is the only way of getting rid of bounty. The downside of this is that some skills are leveled down, so committing on a crime spree is not always a good idea. The only benefit of this is the oppurtunity to join the Theives guild, so not every choice is a bad choice, but a good deed never goes unpunished as well...
The Emperor of the Great Capital of Cyrodii walks down the Imperial dungeon...finding the player lurking in the cell, As the Emperor (Patrick Stewart) finds the player saying that He/she is the one that he forsaw that can close the gates of Oblivion...a threat that is set out to kill the heirs of the Imperial throne...
The question is...Why is this plot such a treacherous sinistry, It is up to the player to find the answers...
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