Oblivion was a bland experience from start to finish.
Granted, I wasn't a big fan of Mirrowind. I'm also not a huge fan of PC RPGs in general, but I like to give them a shot. I knew what to expect with Oblivion, but I stuck with it until the very end.
With that said, it's an OK game. I can understand why some people were addicted to it. There's a ton of things to do in this game, not all of them are my idea of fun or excitement, but there is a ton of (mundane) tasks to complete. The world wasn't something that sucked me in, since it was kind of bland and boring, but I can see why some people liked it. This was early in the Xbox360's lifespan, so people were eager for a game like this.
While I don't get the hype for a game like Oblivion, I can understand why people were sucked into it. It was a lot of peoples first experience with an open-world RPG. It was also one of the first big RPGs for the 360. It was in no way ground breaking or a meaningful experience, but it was new to a lot of people. Oblivion didn't deserve all the hype it received, especially all the Game of the Year Awards it got.
Either way, Oblivion was ok. I've played games like this before. Oblivion doesn't add to much to the mold.
Oblivion is a third or first person RPG. Oblivion gives you the option to choose which camera you want to use, but I suggest the First Person, since the third-person view is an abomination against humankind.
There's been a ton of games like this over the years, prior or after Oblivions release. The one thing that annoys me the most is making the attack button as your Trigger. It is more tiring than waggling a Wii remote.
Anyways, at the start of the game you get to choose your race. Depending on what race you pick, you get special abilities. You typically can build your character around that race, so pick wisely.
You have Major and Minor skills you can learn. The Major Skills are the important ones that really connect with your character's race. Each time you use an action with this Skill, let's say each time you slash your Sword, your Blade skill will go up a little. Once it maxes out, then that Blade skill levels up. The better your Blade Skill is, the better you are at handling the sword and such. Each time you level up a Major Skill, you get experience. This is how you level up your character. Basically in two ways. One, in leveling up your skills, and two, in leveling up your characters stats.
Once you gain a level, you first must sleep somewhere. Once you find a place to rest, you'll get to choose between 3 stats to upgrade. It's usually pretty slim pickings. Depending on the race you pick, certain skills will have more skill points added to them as bonuses. So in reality, you don't have much choice in the way you build your character. It's all a charade in freedom.
----------Characters / Story----------
You play an escaped prison that randomly helps an Emperor fend of some badguys. The Emperor dies and gives you, THE PRISONER, the most important item in the world to save mankind. YOU ARE A PRISONER.
So you go on a quest to find the Emperor's bastard son and give him the Amulet so he can stop the evil within the world. Blah Blah Blah.
Very bad story, very predictable story, and very lame characters.
I seem to remember a lot of people giving this game praise for it's graphics, which blows my mind. The only thing impressive about the game is the tech behind it, not really the "graphics". The game looks like crap most of the time. It looks like an Xbox game with everything smeared with a halo and high-res'd up. There were much better looking PC games at the time, but as I said, the 'tech' was ok. Sure, it was buggy, but they created a massive (ok generic) world, with almost seamless loadtimes.
Other than that... the art direction was horrible. The characters they created in this 'world' all look like deformed creations of a mad scientist that liked to create the ugliest humans he could think of. The bad thing about this is it seems they put their NPC's through a random generator creation tool. I met a KING in one town that had a mohawk! A MOHAWK! That is stupid. He's a freaking King!
Also the world is colorless and bland. Most of the dungeons are repeats. You can constantly see the repeating patterns of the tool set in the world map. This game might be HUGE, but there is rarely anything unique about any of the NPCs or world, which makes for a BORING game.
The voice actors sound bored delivering their lines. Even at the most important of scenes. The music is stock medieval generic thumping music. Most of the time you don't even realize there is music.
Like most games in this vein, it has a very open-world right from the start. You can walk through most of the world right at the beginning, which can be enticing to some. I wasn't a big fan of the world map though, as 90% of it was a forest. It got boring trying to find secrets, but all the "secrets" were just small caves. There are only a handful of towns and the only thing to do in them is to talk to people to open up side quests. A lot of people praise this game for it's sidequests and how open it was, but all I felt was boredom. None of the side quests really excited me and the layout of the land was just a bore to look at. I opened up almost every landmark on the map, as far as I know and there was nothing special about 95% of it.
The only thing I really like about the world map was the ability to fast-travel. You pick a landmark on your map that you have already visited and you can get there instantly, provided there are no monsters in the area. That certainly saves time.
----------Time to Complete Game---------
The main quest ends abruptly with no credit sequence or aftermath or anything. "You saved the day, now off to our merry lives" type of ending. That leaves a sour taste in my mouth but it gives you a chance to keep playing and side quest.