The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

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Content at a glance:


Computer Platform: Xbox 360 (Microsoft)
Produced by: Bethesda Game Studios
Price Range: $41-50
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

     Reviewed By: Zack

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆
Genre: RPG
Rating: 2 of 5 (poor)
Gameplay: 5 of 5 (excellent)
Violence: 2 of 5 (heavy)
Adult Content: 2 of 5 (heavy)

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  Illustration copyrighted.

Before I begin this review I want everyone to know this game was originally released with a “T” rating. ESRB later changed the rating to “M” due to a few missions that are a bit…inappropriate for some teens. Some of these missions include prostitution (implied), theft, and murder. I will get into each incidence(s) later. All that aside though, this game is amazingly and beautifully done. Truly a next-gen game of it’s time, and even leaves a few of the newest releases in the dust when it comes to graphics and especially game play. Truly superb.

The graphics in this game are gorgeously done. In Bethesda’s last Elder Scrolls release, Morrowind, the grass was very genetic. Just a strip placed on a mound of dirt that would move when you moved the camera. Oblivion has blades of grass that seem to be made individually. The grass doesn’t shift with the camera. The characters are done very well also. They don’t move all choppy like some other games. The whole environment (cities, towns, villages, cottages, etc), have a great deal of attention put into it.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  Illustration copyrighted.

This game truly introduces something that other games don’t have. NPCs (non-playing characters) have entirely unscripted conversations with each other, and by listening in you learn about new quests and hidden treasures. Like Morrowind, Oblivion has various guilds you can join for additional quests. The names are slightly different, but they’re all still the same idea. There’s the Dark Brotherhood, a group of assassins, the Thieves Guild, self explanatory, the Mages Guild, deals in magic and things like that, the Fighters Guild, basically just a bunch of thugs. Each of these guilds offer hours of new quests in addition to the original story line. You can also join the Blades, think of the secret service in a mythological world, and you can become a Knight. In addition to all these quests there are over a hundred dungeons for you to explore, side quests for you to complete, and they’ve added a gladiator arena you can compete in. Also, there are hidden weapons and other items you can get by completing certain quests outside of the main quest.

This game is full of violence. Almost every quest involves some kind of violence somewhere along the line. As said before there is a guild of assassins, so clearly that will have plenty of violence in it. One of the missions in this guild that forced the game to have the rating changed was you must systematically pick off members of a family starting with the mother. You don’t have to kill her, but you are given the option. You are not given the option to not kill her children if you want to complete the quest. The children aren’t kids though. They are all fully grown adults, but even still it is a twisted mission. In almost every dungeon you go in you encounter decaying zombies that are at times missing their heads or other limbs. You also see bodies hanging from meat hooks or just laying around in pools of blood from time to time. In one mission you see a rotting, severed head sitting on a table with candles surrounding it. If you read a book near it you learn that it is a person’s mother’s head, and he’s been looking to avenge her death. For some strange reason he feels he must keep his mother’s head to do that. The main quest is quite harmless though. You must deliver an amulet to the emperor’s last heir and then you must close these gates, oblivion gates, to another world. Inside the gates you battle random monsters. There’s no murder, no theft, nothing beyond any other RPG would have.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  Illustration copyrighted.

This game is quite spiritual, just not in a good sense most of the time. Members of the Dark Brotherhood speak of the “Night Mother,” and a deity by the name of Sithis that they often refer to as if he’s a god. The Night Mother turns out to be a ghost. There are numerous references to the gods, typically referred to as “the 9,” and you can visit any of their temples to pray to a specific god to have your attributes fixed if they are hurt, or you can have diseases cured. In the beginning of the game you are confronted by the emperor of Cyrodill (the land the game takes place in) and he speaks of how the gods brought you two together and he asks what your sign is. You must then pick a specific star layout that you apparently were born under which then gives you a special ability. Throughout the game, especially in the Dark Brotherhood, you see occult like shrines.

Adult Content:
This game certainly has its share of questionable content. As I said before, there is a mission involving prostitution. Although you don’t see any sexual content in this sense it is certainly implied. Characters are spoken of that lure men to a certain house to lay with them. Once they leave, they’re never seen or heard from again. There is also a book titled “The Lusty Argonian” that is some what sexual, but not explicit. Also, your character can be seen running around in only their underwear if you don’t have any clothes equipped. Again, as stated above, the thieves guild is centered entirely around stealing. The “arena” as it’s called is basically a gladiator pit. You see blood strewn about on the floor of the ramp into the fighting area.

Many of these questionable quests are not needed to complete the main quest. If you find anything offensive in this review then I wouldn’t recommend you play this game. Otherwise, it will give you literally days of enjoyment.

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Year of Release — 2006

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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