Xbox 360’s “Oblivion” gives gamer tons of choices

Published 1:23 am Saturday, July 1, 2006

A large Orc escaped the dark of prison to the bright world of freedom to kill, maim and loot on a mission to restore the glory of a fallen kingdom in one of the most addictive console games to date.

Marklar’s quest takes place in Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion for the Xbox 360. When I began my quest in the kingdom of Tamriel, I wanted a character capable of devastation with melee attacks while also possessing the ability to cast worth while spells. This decision prompted the creation of a strong male Orc with currently limited magic back up. Forty-six hours and 14 level advances later, Marklar, as I so lovingly named him, has slaughtered occupants of many caves, sealed two gates to the realm of Oblivion, completed all challenges in the arena earning him the rank of Champion and the nickname “Sir Slaughter”, exorcised a haunted house to claim as his own and joined the Dark Brotherhood of assassins.

Many accomplishments remain in the game before Marklar witnesses the restoring of proper power to the kingdom but I’m dragging out my avatar’s journey with miscellaneous quests to gain experience.

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Since this is the first game for the Xbox 360 I have played at length, I have little to base a comparison as far as the console’s performance. However the game is well crafted. The console also has the capacity for media playing, PC connectivity and connectivity to other digital devices such as camera and music player. The controller is much the same as the previous Xbox controller S with addition of the center button and moving the black and white buttons to make additional shoulder buttons. Any console that allows the gamer to turn the console on and off from the comfort of their couch earns points in my book, one of the many functions the center button serves.

Graphics in this rendition are much improved and a higher frame rate alleviates the vertigo I suffered playing the last game. The textures are cleaner but I still don’t see any significant differences in graphics from what the original Xbox is currently capable of, just look to Chronicles of Riddick, Escape from Butcher Bay for the original Xbox as a prime example.

I am not a Role Playing Game veteran because combat in most RPG titles is turn based. Turn based combat is one of my pet peeves; just let me get in there an kick some butt. Oblivion lets players get in there and slash away, cast spells to obliterate opponents and generally toast some normal mapped polygons with minimal limitations.

I have noticed the most mundane activities can consume much time in the world of Tamriel. I recall spending at least a half hour organizing my inventory of loot from a cave to decide what I will sell and what I will keep. Then another 15 minutes transporting it all to the Imperial Market District to bring my mercantile skill and coinage up.

Real estate is a commodity players should not neglect. Not only does a house provide a place to sleep but also a place to keep those hard to part with items that may prove useful later in the game.

I bought the haunted house, which needed exorcising since it was still occupied by the ghost of the previous owner. After the exorcism I acquired my very own mansion for a mere 5,000 gold coins, what a deal, not to mention loot.

As I do with all things in life I have taken on about four things at once in the game, there is something to be said for a game that can easily side track you with so much to do. I swear I suffer from adult attention deficit disorder and my play style in the game is proof. I started so many things and have only finished a few so far.

If you own a Xbox 360 and have not bought Oblivion yet, shame on you. You are possibly missing out on one of the best launch titles for this console. I give this game a four and a half out of five game points since certain problems keep it from perfection. Those problems being long load times and jumpy frame rate at times.