I slaughtered a sheep and the farmer was pissed. It was an accident, I swear. I was simply trying to pet the snuggly little ball of fluff and I had my cutlass out. So, the sheep was hacked to bits and it's adorable blood was spilled all over the rock walls of his pen. The farmer who owned the sheep was enraged and I eventually was arrested. I say eventually because the first three times they tried to arrest me I resisted and ended up killing a few Imperial Guards. Oops. So, I went to jail for a while and all of my stolen goods were confiscated. I had some good stuff too. Well, It's off to assassinate that pirate captain so I can join the Dark Brotherhood.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or as I like to call it - just Oblivion - is finally out and all those RPG fans can now go get a X360. That is if you can find an X360, but hey, that shouldn't be too hard as Microsoft says that the shortage is over. Now, this is a Role Playing Game in the purest sense. Most people have been throwing around the term 'Sandbox' to describe the freedom. I just plain don't like that term, so I'm going to add to the word count and call it 'Massively Open-Ended' or 'MOE'. You heard it here first, this game is a MOE.
The MOE-ness has been achieved by the non-linear play and by the incredibly interactive and intuitive world. Everything from the mushrooms and flowers in the ground to books, pens and crumpled-up pieces of paper can be picked up and held on to for later use. Whatever that use may be. One of the most fun aspects of the game for me is simply searching through all the crates, barrels and sacks with the hope of finding some gold, jewelry or even better. Yes, in real life I'm this boring as well.
I loved the subtle nuances as well like the conversation the No-Player Characters (NPC's) has with each other. If you ease drop just right you're able to pick up some nice tid-bits of information, like who's the best lock pick or can teach you the best spells. They also offer up interesting rumor if you just come right out and ask them. This makes them feel like they are more integrated into the world, like they live there and are not just there to cater to you every whim.
The graphics were a little surprising. I think after all the hype my expectations were set very very high. When I finally jumped into the game I didn't think they held up to what I thought they were going to be. Hey! They're still awesome! Some of the best on the X360. It was my own fault because I psyched myself up so much. Things like the characters faces all looked the same and the modelling on them made them look like papier-mache. Papier-mache doesn't sound too "Next-Gen" to me. What am I saying the graphics rocked.
Like Call of Duty 2, Oblivion really put the ole 5.1 to the test. I loved the sound of rain and wind behind me and the trailing off NPC voices as you walked away really sucked me in. The voice acting wasn't too shabby either. Hell, the got Captain Picard for the emperor. Too bad he was killed off in the first 10 minutes... or was he? See, how I did that, I made you doubt his death. I'm a master of trickery.
All in all the game is great. I don't know how it would appeal to the video game masses or even the Japanese-style RPG'ers, but it's still going to do very well. The game is huge, so if you do ever finish, then get a life! I'm just kidding, but seriously go outside or something... you're skin is starting to turn a yellowish white color. If you do finish it the replayability will definitely keep you coming back for more and more and Morrowind. There's another horrible joke for the uber-geek's.
Images courtesy of IGN.com