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Developer:
Bethesda
Publisher: Bethesda
Platform: PC, Xbox 360
Release Date: Novembe 21, 2006

by Jason Ferguson




Like many RPG fans, Iíve spent plenty of hours glued to Oblivion. Just as Iíd forced myself to beat the game and walk away from it, Bethesda released Knights of the Nine. I resisted the temptation to go back and play it at first, because I knew once I started playing Oblivion again, I would lose what little of my life remained. Of course, I couldnít resist forever.


The boxed PC version that you can purchase at retailers comes with Knights of the Nine and all the previous downloadable content for only $19.99. You can also download the new quest for PC and Xbox 360 for $9.99, but it wonít come with anything other than the main Knights quest. For that reason, this review will focus on the main Knights of the Nine quest rather than the additional content of the retail version.


Knights of the Nine is seamlessly integrated into Oblivion, which is pretty cool but may surprise fans who purchased any of the previous downloads. It starts out with rumors of a mysterious attack on the Church in Anvil. After investigating the situation, you meet a zany prophet who explains to you that an evil sorcerer king, named Umaril, has returned from banishment in Oblivion and seeks revenge against the gods. Only a worthy Knight blessed by the gods can stop him, so youíll start your adventure off by praying at different altars in hopes of gaining the support of the divine. Once this is completed, youíll need to seek out the powerful relics of the Nine, which are the holy weapons and armor that were used to banish Umaril in the first place.


Your journey to find these relics will take you all across the map and into some really interesting dungeons. Some of the dungeons are fairly long, while others are very brief. I was actually surprised by some of the puzzles in the dungeons because they seemed fairly creative and at times a bit challenging. However, the rewards are well worth it because the relics you collect will prove to be very formidable. Every good faction needs a place to call home, so you'll also be able to take over the priory of the nine and make it your own. Other Knights will also hear of your quest and seek to join you. These Knights will help you during your adventure and fight beside you in an epic final confrontation against Umaril! Upon completing the quest, you can even ask these knights for further assistance and they will follow you around and defend you to the death! As an Oblivion fan, I had a great time venturing further into the game, exploring new dungeons, finding new weapons and equipment, battling new enemies, and meeting new people. If you've played through any of the Guild quests in Oblivion, then you sort of know what to expect out of Knights of the Nine. Itís worth noting that the additions in Knights of the Nine arenít anything drastically different from what weíve already seen in Oblivion. So, if youíre expecting an entirely new game, then youíll surely be disappointed. However, ďmore of the sameĒ isnít a bad thing when youíre talking about a game like Oblivion.


As I mentioned earlier, only the retail PC version comes with Knights of the Nine and the additional downloadable content. This content includes everything, from the lengthy dungeon of Mehrunes Razor, to the largely pointless horse armor. Iíve played through all of the additional content, and had a great time exploring new regions, gathering new items, ordering around my dark minion in the Vile Lair, and making fun of Shadowmere and his stupid new armor. Of course, Shadowmere ran away shortly after, so I guess I should have kept my mouth shut. While the highlight of Knights of the Nine is indeed in the main Knights quest, paying an additional $10 for the extra content is a great deal. So, do yourself a favor and buy the retail version of the game. You can also download all of this content separately if you want to pick and choose, but most of the downloadable content is definitely worth the few dollars youíll have to fork over to play it. A bit of a disappointment is the fact that Xbox 360 gamers won't be able to earn additional achievements from Knights.


Knights of the Nine isnít horribly long, and I completed the main quest in somewhere around 6 or 7 hours. I'll admit, I was a bit disappointed by the length of the quest, but when it can be purchased for $9.99 on Xbox Live, I can't complain too much. It might be short, but it's enjoyable nonetheless. Should you decide to download the additional content or purchase the retail version, you'll not only increase the play time, you'll probably have a lot more fun.


Thereís obviously no need to go into a lot of detail with this game. If youíre familiar with Oblivion, then youíll largely be familiar with Knights of the Nine. Itís not an adventure thatís going to blow gamers away, but for hardcore Oblivion lovers like myself, it gives us an excuse to keep on playing!


Final Grade: 82%




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