The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Review for PC

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Sequel to the best-selling and critically acclaimed The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

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9Out of 10
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Oblivion is one of the greatest RPGs ever made
Oblivion is one of the greatest RPGs ever made

Oblivion is one of the greatest RPGs ever made

When Oblivion was released, we at Pro-G were faced with a tough decision. Suck it up and suffer from insomnia for a few days, complete as much of the game as humanely possible, and publish this review alongside all of the others, or, suck it up and suffer from insomnia for a few weeks, explore every nook and cranny Oblivion has to offer, finish all of the guild quests, the main quest, fetch all of those damn Nirnroot plants, and provide our readers with the most complete and comprehensive review yet. Well, we obviously chose the latter, and for good reason.

After spending 133 hours in Cyrodiil, I'd like to think I've seen the vast majority of what the game has to offer, but each time I pop in the game I see something that I haven't seen before - and in the process, my review score has fluctuated between a nine, a ten and even an eight following a glitch or two. Heck, my score's fluctuated more times than I died fighting the first boss in Ninja Gaiden. But enough with the ranting; all you need to know is this: if you haven't bought Oblivion yet, you better have a damn good reason.

The sequel to 2002's Morrowind is such a remarkable accomplishment, not even because of its vast plains, seemingly endless amount of quests, and polished mechanics, but because it's equally accessible to both hardcore and casual gamers. You don't have to devote your life to Oblivion to truly enjoy it, and for those who don't want to pump in the hours, the main storyline can be completed in relatively few hours. However, once you've created your character and exited the sewers, you likely won't touch the main quest for quite some time.

The story begins with your character, for reasons unknown, waking up behind bars. Soon after, you're greeted by the Emperor himself (voiced by Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame) who warns you of his dire situation and uses a secret passage within your cell as an escape route. Eventually the Emperor is ambushed by a group of marauders, leaving it up to you to restore the rightful ruler to the throne and once again bring peace to Cyrodiil.

'Class selection is the single most important aspect of your character's creation...'

Though not as engaging, or nearly as slow-going as Morrowind's story, Oblivion still holds a strong narrative, despite the fact that the main quest takes a back seat to nearly everything else in the game. But before you can even think of exploring Cyrodiil, you've got to create your character. Oblivion's character creation system goes way beyond simply choosing a pre-made skin and class, as you can tweak just about every aesthetic feature of your character model. You'll also have to choose your race, with each of the 10 having its own strengths and weaknesses, and depending on how you plan to play the game, one class might be better suited for you than the others. If you're going to hack and slash your way through Cyrodiil, you might want to consider being a Redguard. On the other hand, if you're a magic lover, the High Elf class might be just right.

So you've picked your race, spent the better portion of the day tweaking the look of your character, now what? It's time to pick a class. In an interesting twist, the game actually recommends a class for you based on the way you played the opening prologue, though oddly enough, the King's guard recommended that I choose a magic class, despite that fact that I hadn't used a single ounce of Magicka.

Class selection is the single most important aspect of your character's creation as it not only determines how the game is played, but how easy it is to level up. Like Morrowind, players have to choose a set number of major skills and a set number of minor skills. Each skill increases in power the more you use it, and while it's important to increase your minor skills, it's the major skills that level up your character. You have a total of seven major skills to choose from, whether it be Restoration (a definite must no matter what class), Blade (equally important) or Mercantile (not so vital). For every ten points gained, spread across your seven major skills, your character will level up. As you continue to use these skills, they'll level up as well, allowing you to cast more powerful spells, strike more powerful blows and so forth. However, unlike Morrowind, when your character levels up so do your enemies, with the exception of a few lower level creatures.

Indoors and outdoors the game looks stunning

Indoors and outdoors the game looks stunning

Initially, when travelling through Cyrodiil's landscape, you'll be attacked by the occasional rat or wolf, but as your level increases, more difficult enemies begin to appear. By the time you're at level 20 you'll be fighting Ogres, Trolls, Spriggans, Will-O-The-Wisps and plenty of powerful Necromancers. While I'm a classic RPG purist, and would usually love to be able to level up my character to be able to kick some serious Daedric ass with a single blow from my Umbra sword, having enemies level up with you actually makes a whole lot of sense. In Morrowind, if you ventured to certain areas of the map too early on in your journey, you'd face some of the game's toughest denizens. In Oblivion, you're encouraged to explore without having to fear the dreaded 'reload previous save' screen over and over again after groups of Frost Atronachs, Dremora Lords, and Spider Daedra's decide to ambush your level 3 character. The system works well, but it can also be a pain in the royal behind for players who like to level up quite a bit before embarking on the main quest.

I'll give you an example. Say you level up your character to 12 before entering the first Oblivion gate at Kvatch. You decide to give that quest a shot, but as soon as you enter the gate you're greeted by a group of the horribly annoying Clannfear (they seem to knock you back whether you have 100 points of Agility or not), followed by Flame Atronachs galore. If you haven't evenly levelled up your character, especially if you've chosen a race or class with a natural affinity to magic, you could be in for a serious walloping. In fact, whether you want to be strictly a fighter or deal specifically in magic, it becomes apparent early on that no matter what class you are, your character stats need to be somewhat evenly distributed otherwise the game can become painstakingly hard. Thankfully Bethesda was kind enough to include a difficulty slider, so if you find yourself in a jam, you can adjust the slider accordingly. Or, if you're still stuck, you could always move on to the hundreds of other quests.

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User Comments

choklateice's Avatar


This game is sick one of the best i've played so far and I'm very hard to please
Posted 17:16 on 30 October 2008
Alexander's Avatar
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I'm suprised that you liked the level-scaling system. I found it to be a game-breaker that sapped the fun out before the end of my adventure. At high levels, everything takes a dozen hits with a sword to kill, and the way enemies mutate over time defies logic--why, at level 20, has every minotaur turned into a minotaur lord? and where did the regular minotours go? And, at level 2, how did Mehrunes Dagon manage to destroy Kvatch with an army of "churls" and "stunted scamps?"

I felt like my character was becoming weaker as I leveled up, because of the awkward level scaling. I asked on the official forums, and they advised me to create a character class with all the major skills as ones I wouldn't use, and only use my minor skills, thus never levelling up. It's easier that way!

When your players don't WANT to level up, Bethesda, you've done something very wrong.
Posted 15:45 on 30 October 2008
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Posted 04:10 on 16 June 2008
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Posted 04:07 on 16 June 2008
SemoTheGmer's Avatar


I just bought it and I think i haven't played that good before.
I should have got it earlier
Posted 10:53 on 15 January 2007
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jam@ Jethrow

i havent been on it yet but cant wait to get it for the 360 for crimbo looks mint as cheese
Posted 15:32 on 29 October 2006
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Tom@ Jethrow

My new pc plays this game amazingly - my fav game by a long way
Posted 13:32 on 17 September 2006
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xboxer@ Jethrow

Can i just say that the blows all games out the water. Newer games have a lot to live up to!
But what is with the loading of areas in front of your eyes! in some cases this is really noticable and takes alot away from the game.
i haven't playedit much as this particular feature i DON'T LIKE!
Posted 20:18 on 07 August 2006
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Anonymous@ Jethrow

I know this is random but does anyone know if there will be a surfing game created for xbox 360
Posted 09:58 on 07 July 2006
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Jack@ Jethrow

BEst, visuals, will take long time to finish, lots of fun, what more could you ask for?
Posted 00:59 on 06 July 2006
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Cala@ Jethrow

Best Game ever, is Elder Scrolls 5 gonna come out?
Posted 13:20 on 01 May 2006
Jethrow's Avatar
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This game is awsome. best buy of the year so far
Posted 04:12 on 20 April 2006

Game Stats

System Requirements
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Out of 10
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  • Excellent visuals
  • Hundreds of hours worth of gameplay
  • Massive game world
  • Long loading times and a number of glitches
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 24/03/2006
Platforms: PC , Xbox 360 , PS3 , PSP
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Publisher: 2K Games
Genre: RPG
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 1,190 86
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