Just RPG - Reviews, PC and PS2 Walkthroughs, Previews, and RPG News!





HOME

Reviews
Previews
Walkthroughs
Strategy Guides
Articles
Interviews
Editorials
Links
About Us
Past Issues

June 14, 2011
March 22, 2011
Feb. 28, 2011
Dec. 14, 2010
Nov. 23, 2010
Nov. 9, 2010
Oct. 26, 2010
Oct. 6, 2010
Sept. 21, 2010
Sept. 14, 2010
Sept. 7, 2010
Aug. 31, 2010
Aug. 24, 2010
Aug. 17, 2010
Aug. 8, 2010
June 15, 2010
January, 2010
Dec. 21, 2009
Past Issues

Age of Conan: Unchained
Dark Souls
Dreamlords: Resurrection
Final Fantasy IV In-Pack Items
Mount and Blade: With Fire and Sword
League of Legends: Co-op V.S. AI
Final Fantasy IV
Duke Nukem Forever
Divine Souls Open Beta
inSANE
Mass Effect 3 Unveiled
League of Legends: Cassiopeia
League of Legends: Trundle
King Arthur: The Druids
Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom
RIFT Closed Beta
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Magicka
Pandora Saga
DC Universe Online Screenshots
Fallout: New Vegas Add-On Content
League of Legends: Lux
Bloodline Champions: The Nomad
Majesty 2: Battles of Ardania
League of Legends: Battle Training
League of Legends: LeBlanc
Iron Cross
Prinny 2
Crusade Kings 2
Lionehart Kings' Crusade
Borderlands Game of the Year Edition
Castlevania Harmony of Despair DLC
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Spiderweb Software's Birthday
League of Legends: Swain
Gormiti: Lords of Nature!
Disgaea 4
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
League of Legends: Magma Chamber
League of Legends: Sona
War of Angels
King of Kings 3: Mage
Legend of Edda
Lionheart:Kings' Crusade
Cladun
Dreamlords
TERA
League of Legends
Silkroad Online Battle Arena
Grand Chase Thunder Hammer
Aika Global
The Shadow Sun
Saw ll: Flesh and Blood
TERA
Neverwinter
League of Legends
Castlevania Harmony of Despair
Smash Your Food
I SPY Spooky Mansion
Hexyz Force
World of Tanks
League of Legends
Mass Effect 2
DOFUS 2.0
DOFUS Screens
FFXIII Box
Puzzle Chron.
Gyromancer
Warhammer OL
Star Trek OL
Lost Saga Scr
Marvel DLC
League Legends
Poxnora
Demon's Souls
League Legends
League Beta
Fort Zombie
Arc Rise Fantasia
Arc Rise Screens
Mimana Iyar
League Screens
Marvel DLC
Free Realms
Adventures To Go
Fusion PR Group
Demon's Souls
AdventureQuest
Witch's Tale
League Legends
Half-Minute Scr
Half-Minute
Freaky Scr.
Valhalla
Dragon Quest
Vandal Hearts
Mytheon
Risen
Gemini Lost
Freaky
Gyromancer
FF Crystal
Dragon Quest
Star Trek OL
Fort Zombie
Disgaea 2
FF Crystal
Champions OL
Wizard of Oz
Star Ocean
League Legends
Valhalla Scr.
Dragon Age
Marvel Ultimate
Risen Website
League Legends
Adventurequest
Final Fantasy
Agarest War
Agarest War Scr.
Demon's Souls
SMT: Persona
Pangya
Dragon Age
Warhammer
Mana Khemia 2
Runes of Magic
Cursed Mtn.
Cursed Mtn. Scr.
Freaky Creature
Phantom Brave
Runes of Magic
Aion Goes Gold
Free Realms
Wizards Exec
Freaky Creature
Arma II
Champions
Aion CG Movie
Marvel Ultimate
FFIV Dev Diary
Steambot Chron.
League Legends
Phantom Brave
Runes of Magic
Champions
Champions Vid.
League Legends
League Trailer
Risen Screens
Freaky Creature
Star Treak DAC
Phantom Brave
Demon's Souls
Geneforge
The Witcher
Free Realms
Runes of Magic
Demon's Souls
Aion Screens
Fallout 3 DLC
Marvel Ultimate
PuchiPuchi Virus
League Legends
Fallout 3 DLC
Mytheon
Wizard of Oz
Oz Screens
Marvel Ultimate
La Tale
Asda Story
Avernum 6
Battle Fantasia
League Legends
Adventurequest
Warpforce
New Nintendo
Aion
FF Crystal Chron.
Mind Twist
Little King's
Stan Lee, Marvel
Elf Island
Ether Saga
Wizard101
Demon's Souls
League Legends
FFXI Trailer
Champions Online
Free Realms
Aion Preorder
BioShock/Elder
Silkroad Online
Warpforce
Warpforce Scr.
Runes Screens
Runes of Magic
League Legends
Marvel Ultimate
FF XIV
Knights
Asda Story
Champions
League Legends
Runes of Magic
FF XIV Online
Time of Shadows
Kingdom Hearts
FF IV
Demon's Souls
Lunar
League Release
League Trailer
Cross Edge
Runes of Magic
Phantom Brave
Crimson Gem
DC Universe
Freaky
SMT Devil
Steal Princess
Steal Screens
Wizard101
SMT Devil
Runes of Magic
Warrior Epic
Fallout 3 DLC
League Legends
League Screens
Bounty Bay
Bounty Bay Scr.
Ragnarok Scr.
Ragnarok Online
Runes of Magic
Time of Shadows
Time Scr.
Steambot Chron.
Adventures
Adventures Scr.
Warrior Epic
Sacred 2 Ships
Disgaea 2
Last Rebellion
Mana Khemia 2
Sakura Wars
Witch's Tale
Runes of Magic
Runes Screens
Class of Heroes
Sacred Trailer
Valhalla Knights
Wizard101 Gift
Freaky Creatures
Playboy Manager
Blizzcon 2009
Champions
Little King
League Legends
Wizard101
Wizard101 Scr.
Neverwinter
Warrior Epic Beta
Elder Scrolls
Warrio Epic Beta
Sacred 2
Utopia Kingdoms
Wizard101
Tweet in Games
Star Trek D-A-C
Champions
Champions Vid.
DragonSky Scr.
DragonSky
Free Realms
Free Realms Scr.
FFXI Vana'diel
DC Universe
Warrior Epic Scr.

 





Developer:
Bethesda
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform: PC, Xbox 360
Release Date: March 20, 2006

by Nick May




The Perfect RPG

Itís a fact that RPGs have problems with traps. Iíd always thought that the best system was the one employed by Baldurís Gate (and its sequels). Youíd press a button to begin passively searching for traps, and when you spotted one it would be highlighted in red. Youíd then right click it and your character would run over and disarm the blighter.

That was until, ten minutes into playing Oblivion, I abruptly came to a halt having spotted a string stretched low across the ground. Tentatively, I poked the string with my foot. From the walls of the passage ahead, wicked looking spiked metal balls swung down and clattered impotently against each other.

This in many ways crystallizes the achievement Oblivion has made. The bar has been raised.


Setting

Oblivion is a high fantasy roleplaying game set in the rich world of the Elder Scrolls series, of which Oblivion is the fourth. For Oblivion, events take place in the Imperial heartland of Cyrodil; a green and pleasant land with a medieval flavour.

But all is not well. The Emperor has been assassinated and as such the barrier which prevents the Daedra (demons) from invading has collapsed. Gates are opening across the world, from which the minions of Oblivion (hell) are pouring fourth.


Sound and Graphics

Both the sound and graphics in Oblivion are almost perfect. The detail possible with a high end system makes Oblivion a gorgeous game to play. The screenshots should speak for themselves. But at the same time, they donít do Oblivion justice. The game uses a physics engine which means that when you shoot a goblin on a bridge with an arrow, he falls off, his sword clattering to the ground.

Making your character look Ďrightí is pretty tough and the character models in general, while technically sound, didnít appeal to me. However, Oblivion has such a strong modding community that this is a mere hitch.

The system specifications for all of this are pretty hefty. Oblivion will run on its minimum specifications, but you might have to do some advanced tweaking to make it bearably smooth.


Dungeon Crawling

In many ways, Oblivion is the ultimate dungeon crawl. Combat is fun. A slightly more advanced hack and slash, you have the ability to block attacks in real time and a few specialised attacks open up as you become more skilled. This might put less twitchy players on their guard, but you shouldnít be worried. This isnít Street Fighter 2. You donít need fast reactions. You donít need to furiously mash buttons in complex combinations. Itís just a few touches to make combat more interactive and more real.

Oblivion also has a robust stealth engine, much improved from Morrowind, which allows thiefly characters to really come into their own.

The rich and interactive environments and the Radiant AI (more about this later) make combat very immersive. However, itís occasionally reminiscent of a first person shooter, particularly if you play an archer of some kind. I found myself strafe-dodging fireballs in hell and memories of Doom flashed across my subconscious.


Radiant World

The world of Oblivion is vast. Itís open ended andÖ wellÖ itís all there. A half a dozen or so towns and the Imperial City itself, with large tracts of open space in between dotted with ruins, shrines and dungeons.

Unlike other games of its ilk, the world of Oblivion doesnít stand still. The NPCs are equipped with ďRadiant AIĒ. They sleep at night, they wander around, they talk to one another, they eat, they read, they steal, they fightÖ Itís the closest thing to a dynamic world Iíve ever seen.

Oblivion is fairly astounding when it comes to immersion, that elusive holy grail of all roleplaying games. Unlike many modern RPGs, the designers behind Oblivion understand why itís important for characters to be able to sit (and you can sit in Oblivion). Many things which, in other games, would be arbitrarily represented actually happen in Oblivion. When an NPC invites you to have a seat Ė you actually do so. And NPCs donít hang back waiting for you to speak. If they have something to say, theyíll come over to you and say it.

Customary for the Elder Scrolls series, the world is filled with books, parchments and curious objects; some common, some rare; some incidental, some of immense importance. Because not every piece of information is directly relevant to a quest, the world feels less contrived than in many other games (Morrowind being the notable exception).


Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Oblivion is not entirely without its faults.

Firstly, although the dialogue is fully speeched, thereís a lack of dialogue choices. That has to be taken in the context of your wider freedoms Ė you can kill people, you can steal Ė but itís rare for you to be given real opportunity to change the course of events. Unlike its predecessor, Oblivion is a little short on content. Those familiar with Morrowindís political intrigue and numerous factions will likely be disappointed at whatís on offer in Oblivion.

Secondly, the world sometimes lacks character. This is exacerbated by the level scaling employed. Most games have enemies that scale with you as you level but Oblivion takes this to an extreme. Very early on in the game, you are required to enter hell and close an Oblivion Gate. Having been fascinated by the Daedric ruins in Morrowind, I was excited at the prospect, but the dark spires and twisted passageways of Morrowind have been replaced by a very clichť lava filled hell. Gone were the traditional RPG traps, to be replaced with mines straight out of a Sci-Fi FPS, blood fountains (i.e. health restore points) and other facets that left me a little bemused. The last vestiges of tension evaporated when I discovered that, thanks to the extreme level scaling, the demons of hell were no match for my level one character. Even out in the wilderness, the swathes of beautiful flowers and lush meadows sometimes feel like youíre strolling through a town park. Thereís a palpable deficiency of grit and sometimes I got the feelings that what I was looking at was an incredible Computer RPG engine with some showcase quests.

Thirdly, Oblivion was made as a console game Ė and it shows. You are walked through every quest. While this prevents the frustration of not knowing quite what to do or trying to find that particular NPC, I found myself clicking past the dialogues and playing on automatic. And, again, with the level scaling this was a game where I didnít need to pay any kind of attention. So I didnít. Oblivion also fails to find a happy medium between instant travel and exploration. Morrowind erred on the side of exploration and was sometimes tedious. Oblivion has swung the other way, with immediate travel to any significant location. As a result, you have to force yourself into the world rather than be drawn into it.

Finally, thereís no multiplayer, no party management and no complex relationships. Itís you and, perhaps, a few other NPCs over which you have no control. This isnít a drawback as such Ė the game is enjoyable enough that you donít miss company. But itís a pity because Oblivion seems made for such things.

Fortunately Oblivion is very moddable and is inheriting the amateur modding teams from Morrowind, probably the best modding community around. This is no small post-script. The player mods for Morrowind were of such high quality that they sometimes put the designers to shame Ė and the same is likely to be true of Oblivion.


Overall

Itís difficult to judge Oblivion without reference to Morrowind. On its own merits, Oblivion is an amazing hack and slash game with many strong roleplaying entities and technological achievements. All of the tools are there for a mind blowing RPG. The engine is awe-inspiring and the content is competently designed. Itíll certainly hold your interest, although you may get the feeling that somethingís missing. The hole will hopefully be filled either by mods or forthcoming expansions.


Final Grade: 93%


System Requirements:
-Operating System: Windows XP
-Processor: 2 GHz or greater
-RAM: 512 MB
-Video Card: DirectX 9 compatible, Direct 3D compatible, 128 MB


Comment in the Just RPG Forums




All materials © 2000-2010 Just RPG
RPG Network: Free MMORPG | RPG Music