Elder Scrolls Oblivion - PC

The Game

The Elder Scrolls Series of games has been popular with RPG fans for a long time.

Bethesda Studios has just released its next title in the series: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. This is a huge RPG made in a fantasy world.

Please note all pictures are clickable for full 1920 x 1200 images.

Oblivion Screenshot Oblivion Screenshot 2

Let me first make a quick mention of my interest in the game. I am not an RPG fan: I have played a fair few and always found them to be a bit hard to get into and hard to control. I was very wary when first playing this game as I'm used to the non-intuitive controls of some of the RPG's that I have played. However read on and see why my fears were allayed.

The World

The world in Oblivion is simply HUGE. Words find it hard to describe just how totally immense this world actually is. Once you step out into it you get a sense of proportion of just how utterly massive the gameplay world is. The world is called Tamriel and in Oblivion it is approximately 16 square miles.

The construction of the scenery and the details is excellent. From the highly realistic grass to the huge mountains that tower overhead: everything is perfectly in proportion and gives you a sense of scale. Its not just the big things that the game developers have gone after: its the little touches too. Flowers are perfectly formed and blades of grass actually look like blades of grass. The HDR effect is quite breathtaking and really gives you a sense of "being there".

Oblivion Forest Screenshot Gate to Oblivion

The Story


Just a brief note on the story. Being a fantasy fan I totally get it. It is a bit on the cheesy side. The Emporer dies: evil is taking over. You have to help out find his son and generally save the world and its people from evil. Having said that the game makes you believe it in the way that a good book does. Lots of little touches like books with a history of the land mean that you learn background as you go along. It is interesting enough to keep me interested while I beat the baddies and mix my herbs.

The Control Panel


Its worth mentioning that you can access the control panel all of the time in the game and that it freezes whatever is going on in the game so you can handily change weapons/adjust spells to what you need at the time. It also allows you to equip armour and use potions etc.

The control panel at first looks incredibly confusing. The icons aren't very clearly labelled and sometimes look a little vague. However once you've had a look around and got used to them (didn't take me long even as a relative newby to RPG), they are pretty easy to use and certainly very very helpful and is nicely laid out.

Below are the weapon and magica screens.

Oblivion CP Oblivion Weapon CP

Character Creation


Right at the start of Oblivion you have to choose the attributes of your character. This is possibly the most in-depth I have ever seen character creation with practically every element of your character being able to be modified. You create a name, class, attributes, look and feel for your very own ultra-personalised character. You don't just create a single-skilled character such as an 'Elven Warrior': you create a character that has many many attributes. Mine is a Dark Elven Battlemage who is getting good at blunt weapons, can't really pick locks too well, can mix potions nicely, is pretty damn good at destructive magic, can talk anyone around, is a really good jumper.....the list goes on. You can modify almost every facet of your own appearance from how your jaw shapes up to how much hair you have on your head. Quite astonishing and time-consuming if you so choose it to be.

The "tutorial" at the beginning of the game guides you through you simple abilities and puts you straight into the main quest. You are a prisoner in a cell that just so happens to be the one the Emporer uses to escape attack in his own palace. This guides you through basic tasks and gently nudges you into combat, spells, magica and interaction. About halfway through you will get to choose the 'class' of your character from a range of pre-made classes The addition of a 'custom' skill also gives the most ardent RPG fans the chance to customise 21 different options and 'make your own'.

The game lets you 'step up' levels after you practice certain skills. A level up means you have to rest for an hour to gain a level. This then gives you an option to increase 3 skill types such as Intelligence. It is perhaps this multi-faceted nature of the character-creation that gives Oblivion its charm. It is a little confusing at times and it seems like this is almost supposed to happen. Being a newcomer to RPG's maybe its just me but it seems like Bethesda have made it so that its not easy to pick the characteristics that you need...you just gain what you use.

I've noticed that if your character gets better then the monsters get better, bigger, harder and uglier. I have been informed that 'super-levelling' just means that the monsters step up with you too.

The World, AI and immersion

The Oblivion world is huge. I mean: really huge. No really I mean: simply awe-inspiringly huge. Its all single player and every person you meet is interactable. I thought that there would only be a few people walking around: but every town has a host of people all following their own schedule, going to bed, trading and shopping the same as you. Oblivion tracks all of these people and that means that every one will be in the right place just when they're needed in the story.

The good thing about this game is that you get straight into the main quest and start trying to achieve your aims. This makes it a little friendlier to people like me playing who didn't like the overwhelming feel of Morrowind. The game also abound with many many side quests and these alone will take up your playing time. Pick up (ok: steal) an interesting herb and you'll be asked if you want to and find out what it does and what to do to find out. Sound good? It is.

If you slay innocents then you will be noticed by 'Dark Forces'. Eventually you will be noticed by Vampires and maybe even become one. I preferred to stay 'nice' but I'm sure this will give the game even more longevity.

You can chat to any non playing character in the game at most times. This part of the game means that you can gain levels on your personality and gain persuasion. You do this by having 4 bars: admire, joke, coerce and boast. You get the points by choosing the one that the character you are chatting to likes the most. The way you judge this is their facial expression. The more full each quadrant is the better you do with the NPC. You have unlimited goes to do this and this also ups your characters personality levels.

Here's what it looks like (and me attacking some innocents just for fun):

Persuading elf Oblivion attacking innocents

Fighting in the game is pretty simple although you do get to know different tactics against different creatures. I actually find some of the lower and more common creatures quite hard to kill and find they kill me a bit too easily. Maybe that's just because I'm not very good yet but it does seem to be a bit over the top at times.

Having said that fighting is good fun: mastering archery a long way away is great. Magica is especially fun to master and is very useful in battle. With the ability to go to the menu and switch weapons in the menu fighting can change as often as you like but you will soon become familiar with a select few weapons. You can go into first and third person views throughout the game but I personally preferred the first person view in action as i play a lot of FPS.

I am going to leave the rest of the gameplay for you to find out for yourselves....its fun and easy to get into.

Performance

I set the game up on my gaming rig with an AMD Opteron 170 (dual core) @ 2.8GHz, 2gb Mushkin Redline PC4000 and an X1900XTX. The game ran smooth at minimum 30FPS, average 48FPS with Ultra Settings, 1920 x 1200, HDR enables (no AA) and most draw distances increased. Most other settings were set at default for Ultra settings. It was a very pleasant and smooth gaming experience.

Conclusion and Final thoughts

This game has really blown me away. Its immersive, even addictive. The menu system is pretty good and the controls easy to learn and intuitive. The level of interactivity is next to none and you really get a sense that you are there inside the world helping out the people.

The graphics are absolutely gorgeous and HDR for me makes the game all the better. The grass sways with the wind, the mountains loom over you, the sun sets with brilliance and the characters are believably rendered.

I really enjoy playing the game and I have a feeling a lot of my spare time will be devoted to it. Especially with over 300hours of total gameplay in front of me.

Negatives

There are some you'll be surprised to hear.

* Sometimes the lower enemies are too hard to beat and the characters that you play with die far too easily.
* It takes a hell of a lot of spare time
* Pretty taxing on the system to look its best, but it IS scalable with a lot of options to change.
* No HDR + AA

Positives

There are so many but I'll list a few.

* Simply breathtaking graphics
* Immersive gameplay
* Excellent player interaction
* Believable world
* Great looking characters

overclock3d Gamers choiceOverclock3d Editors Choice

Turn the page for a screenshot gallery.

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Most Recent Comments

01-04-2006, 16:19:28

FarFarAway
We review this popular RPG: The elder Scrolls: Oblivion

Click here to see what we thought.

01-04-2006, 16:36:53

FarFarAway
Finished y'all

01-04-2006, 18:26:49

Tec
Looking great Kemp , nice game i might get it but dont think i can find to play it but thats another story. Btw very first picture in the review links to the second picture next to it when clicked.

01-04-2006, 19:07:08

Ham
Good job kemp. I love this game. Having waited nearly a year and a half for it, after i finished morrowind, its definatly all its was and is cracked up to be.

01-04-2006, 19:11:45

PV5150
Awesome looking game kemp, and another great review. Do you know if they are working on a patch to fix some of the negatives that you've addressed (HDR, some of the characters too easily killed etc). Either way it's very visually impressive and looks very addictive

01-04-2006, 19:16:31

Ham
PV i think if you had all on full, AA and HDR its would rape even the most powerful systems... They probably will release a patch i the future though.

And the people dying easily will be editable in the ES:CS (elder scrolls construction set, an SDK that basicly turns the game into a sandbox) when its made avalible. Either that or kempez needs to protect them better

02-04-2006, 01:02:17

Eguy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ham
PV i think if you had all on full, AA and HDR its would rape even the most powerful systems... They probably will release a patch i the future though.

And the people dying easily will be editable in the ES:CS (elder scrolls construction set, an SDK that basicly turns the game into a sandbox) when its made avalible. Either that or kempez needs to protect them better
I bet you could run AA + HDR on a x1900XTX or 7900GTX

02-04-2006, 05:15:58

FarFarAway
You probably could but the game won't let you.

Ta lads. This game is well worth getting.

@PV: I'll send the review to Bethesda and see what they say.

02-04-2006, 05:19:28

PV5150
Good idea mate, I see they have a review section on their website

15-11-2006, 18:36:22

FarFarAway
Check out some Uber sexy screenshots

All I will say is 1920 x 1200 with 8 x QAA and 16 x AF with High Quality Enabled and at a superbly playable framerate and EVERY in game setting set to MAX

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...233507779s.jpg

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...233509872s.jpg

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...233511434s.jpg

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...233514768s.jpg

15-11-2006, 18:40:17

Ham
You have the 8800GTX in then?

And have you tried the HDR & AA hack that lets you turn on both?

15-11-2006, 18:53:47

FarFarAway
It IS HDR and AA

15-11-2006, 18:57:44

Ham
Hehe sweet, now answer the other question

16-11-2006, 02:46:48

FarFarAway
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Ham'
Hehe sweet, now answer the other question
I'm sorry I don't understand

16-11-2006, 03:17:49

PV5150
Now that's extremely spankworthy. Love the screenies

16-11-2006, 05:10:21

Dav0s
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Kempez'
I'm sorry I don't understand
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Ham Q1'
You have the 8800GTX in then?
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Ham Q2'
And have you tried the HDR & AA hack that lets you turn on both?
You didnt answer Q1

16-11-2006, 05:20:15

FarFarAway
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Dav0s'
You didnt answer Q1
No I don't get it Dave. I'm running on a ti 400

16-11-2006, 17:47:40

glocktodahead
Nice screens, I really want to buy this game...maybe for christmas

16-11-2006, 19:45:13

jiffz
Just checked the difference from your 1st pic to the rest and it's pretty amazing!

I've been debating whether to reinstall this game all night even though my HD has file errors and needs reformatting...

27-12-2006, 15:16:36

glocktodahead
I got the game for christmas and I love it. I just wanted to say that your review was spot on! Well worth buying. I'm gunna go play now cya lol

27-12-2006, 15:33:44

FarFarAway
Have fun mate, glad the review was helpful

I'm still playing it now on and off when I have time between reviewing, the missus and my 360!
Reply
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