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Posted on Apr 27, 2006 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion – Game Review (PC)

James Lombardi

Graphically this game is quite good although it takes a pretty strong machine to get the best out of it. Also because of this, very rarely will there be more than ten or so creatures on the screen (which unfortunately I feel ruins some of what the story was trying to get across). The game can be a bit ragged when it comes to draw distances. For instance, while walking around the countryside you may suddenly see a set of ruins seemingly appear out of thin air. That said, with a good machine, everything on your screen will look very nice. The game doesn’t have the best graphics I’ve seen in a game, but it does have very good ones.

There’s a ton of books you can find and read around the world, luckily most are better written than this. Eventually you’ll get used to seeing these Oblivion Gates…

The sound in the game is a mixed bag however. The music is great and shifts based on what’s going on and where you are. However, the voice acting can be a bit jarring. It’s not so much that any of the voice actors are bad as much as an NPC will shift between voice actors as the dialogue progresses. Talking to beggars in the game is particularly bad. They’ll shift from sounding like a poor downtrodden beggar to suddenly sounding very similar to a shopkeeper or some other NPC. Granted, every bit of dialogue in the game is recorded and I’m sure was a monumental task but suddenly huge shifts in a character’s voice can certainly take you a couple steps out of the game.

In the Arena, you can turn your opponents into pin cushions! Remember kids, when dealing with the Undead, fire is your friend.

The manual that ships with the game does a good job of explaining the basics and what you’ll see on the screen. The only complaint I could bring up in that regard is it would have been nice to see some of the fluff for such a rich world in the manual. But that’s not to say you can’t catch up on plenty of fluff in the game as there is a huge library worth of books scattered around the world that you can read (but it’d be nice to read up on the Elder Scrolls world outside of the game too).

This leaves the biggest fault with the game for last: It is buggy. However, at least in my experience, the bugs haven’t been a huge hindrance on playing. Some have reported quests that couldn’t be finished thanks to bugs, but I was able to make it through everything without any problems. The game does have trouble closing after an extended session (and believe me, every session is extended) and I’ll get a crash as it’s exiting but that’s a minor inconvenience and doesn’t seem to have any significantly adverse effects on anything.


Armchair General’s Rating: 91%

05/10—Documentation and Technical

Pros: There’s an amazing amount of gameplay here. The open world is immersive and it’s great to just set out and explore a new area for no reason other than the sake of exploration. The main storyline is engrossing and there are some very well designed quests in the game.

Cons: Along with the well designed quests are some pretty bland ones. The game is buggy, and occasionally the bugs keep you from completing a quest.

Last word: This is an impressive title, and a definite must for any RPG fans out there. What faults there are pale in comparison to the amazing gameplay.

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