The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - 360 - Preview 2
Bethesda knows all about creating compelling role-playing titles for the PC and with the creation of Morrowind for the Xbox, the franchise took a new spin into the console markets.
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is the next-generation game, created to take full advantage of the capabilities of the Xbox 360 platform. It is a tale that does not stray too far from the general feel of the Elder Scrolls saga, and yet manages to streamline some gameplay areas from the last Bethesda adventure into the console market.
“We wanted it to feel similar,” admitted Bethesda’s Pete Hines, “but there were some key things we wanted to do different.”
One of the differences is that Oblivion was developed for the 360 and is not merely a port of a PC title. The story follows a prisoner who is entrusted by a dying king to deliver a talisman to his lost son. Incorporating dungeon battles as a tutorial before working to the vast world above, Oblivion is a terrific journey of discovery and creation – creation in the sense that there are no classes and while players can pick from a pre-made class, they also have the option to create their own class from the seven major class skills and 14 minor ones.
Armor is a matter of learning to wear it and with the numerous armor choices in the game, players will find creating a new look as close as the next chest they discover (if they have the abilities to pick the lock, that is). And in the grand tradition of RPGs, weapons are used and then discarded for better, and players can learn some alchemy arts to craft potions that will prove vital to their success in the game.
Character creation starts the ball rolling with a deep options package that enables players to create a truly unique look in this single-player-only experience. As players progress, they can collect different weapons, use a stealth mode to sneak up on unsuspecting targets, and bind weapons, spells and potions to the D-pad to create on-the-fly change-outs. The game can be played in the first- or third-person perspective, as well.
Graphically the game was polished (Ok, a few rough spots remain, but it is not quite finished), and the texturing in the environments was wonderful. The walls of the prison reflected the little bit of light filtering through the window, and the dungeons flickered in the orange glow of the torch. Targeting is crisp and a little forgiving, and much of the player interface has been streamlined and tightened up for a very intuitive experience. And if you are looking for a rich soundtrack, Oblivion supplies that as well. Patrick Stewart is featured, but Bethesda scored a coup by luring Terence Stamp into his first voice acting role in a video game.
Oblivion looks to be one of those games that draw you in and then steals hours from your day. With compelling graphics and sound, a rich and robust world, this is definitely a game to look for after the launch of the Xbox 360.