unrulyruffian's Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Collector's Edition), The (Xbox 360) review

Instant classic.

It's not very often that a game comes along which is so totally and utterly engaging that you end up planning out your next steps in the game whilst you're away from the comfort of your living room.

This morning whilst on the way to work I was planning out which route I'd take to finish my quest, which guild I'd visit next for a contract and which weapons I'd equip to make best use of my abilities.

Oblivion is one of those rare games which gives you an open ended experience but manages not to let the player drift through without any purpose. Many people have likened the game to GTA where the city is your sandbox and you make your own entertainment. In comparison though, Oblivion lets you live out so many different lifestyles that it's almost too mind numbing to ponder them all. Warrior Mage, Ninja Assasin, Barbarian Warrior or a mixture of anything you like. You can create a character which is as individual as you want it to be and go out and experience the rich and colourful game world.

Unlike most games where you are forced to follow a main thread of a story, in Oblivion you may never need to follow the main plot at all. Screw saving the kingdom! If you want to become a stealthy assasin who is feared by all, just do it! Stab and steal your way to infamy if thats what you want.

So far I'm only about 10 hours into the game and I feel like I'm just barely scratching the surface of potential here. The game world is massive and is filled with all kinds of unexpected surprises.

The graphics are face meltingly good and although some have complained of a few frame skips here and there the overall performance is excellent considering how much you'd need to spend to get a PC running with the same kind of smoothness.

Above all it's the attention to detail which makes Oblivion a cut above the rest. The day and night cycles give you a real sense that you are part of a living world. Non player characters go about their daily business and are not fixed to permentant locations. Often you get a feeling of actually being in a community when you see several characters from various locations in the city all getting together for a pint in the local tavern during the evening.

I can't see me getting bored with Oblivion any time soon. There's so much to see and do that it's going to take a long while before I feel like I've been there and done it all.

Highly reccomeded for anyone who's looking for a game with real depth and longevity! It won't be leaving my Xbox360 drive for some time to come.

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