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Oblivion

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Video Game Cat Review

Date of Review:  January 29, 2012
ESRB rating/Descriptors:   [Early editions of the game were rated T for Teen, but the ESRB recalled this and issued a new rating of M for Mature.]
Format Reviewed:
  Xbox 360
Language / Country of Origin:   English / USA
Online Capability:  None.
Prequels: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Sequels:
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Featured Characters:  N/A.  Players create their own characters.
Equipment Needed: None.
Maintenance Required:
 None.

Review:

Plot:  
The land of Tamriel is facing a dark age.  The emperor has been assassinated, and with no known heirs to inherit the throne and defend the realm, gates from a demonic place called Oblivion are opening all over the countryside. Dark forces and their soldiers pillage and burn unsuspecting towns and villages, threatening chaos and confusion for all futures’ history.  You are a released prisoner sent on a quest issued by the emperor’s final breaths to find an unbeknownst heir to the throne, close the Oblivion Gates, and save Tamriel from an endless age of darkness.

Cultural / Historical Value:
Oblivion has been nominated for and won numerous awards.  It is acclaimed for its stunningly realistic graphics and enormous open world content. This game is the fourth installation of the commercially successful Elder Scrolls series.  The game aims to blend realism with fantasy, illustrating the change from night to day, weather, realistic human and animal life forms as well as numerous fantastical and fictional characters.

Teaching / Learning Characteristics: 
It is true that graphics have evolved since Oblivion was first introduced and that repetitive voice acting like that exhibited in this title are no longer an accepted norm, but Oblivion will always be a template for game designers to look back upon as a standard to uphold when considering the depth and possibilities of video game entertainment.  The scale and scope of this game, not only in terms of geography, but also available weaponry, accessories, and magical spells, provide players with challenges of navigation, memorization, strategizing, and even alchemy.

Replay Value:

Oblivion has virtually endless replay value.  The player creates his own character, choosing from a range of species devoted to their own characteristics and attributes.  Each time a gamer plays Oblivion he can recreate his character, choosing between human and beast-like creatures, and various skills, ranging from weaponry to sorcery.  Oblivion also provides players with downloadable content (DLC) that adds enormity to the already numerous missions and objectives a character can seek out while playing through the game’s main plot and storyline.

Likely Audiences:
There is a large amount of graphic violence in Oblivion – exacted both on humans and other creatures, including realistic wolves, dogs, mountain lions and other forest animals.  This may be disturbing for some players.  Consistent with its rating, Oblivion is for mature audiences. Obviously, fans of the previous Elder Scrolls installments will be interested in this title.   Although those interested in the fantasy genre may be inclined to try this game, the scope of it may be off-putting to more casual gamers.  Anyone picking up the game should understand how enormous and intricate the title is before investing themselves in it.

Overall Score:

90/100

Other Reviews:
1up.com
Gamerankings
Gamespot
Metacritic
MobyGames

 

About the Author:
Ben Bigalke is an avid traveler, bicycle enthusiast, lover of animals and video gamer extraordinaire.  He grew up taking the stories and virtues told by the Nintendo of his childhood to heart.  As an adult, he continues to appreciate the entertainment and learning experiences that videogames offer and studies the technological and artistic advancements they have made throughout his lifetime.  As a videogame reviewer, he enjoys both observing and experiencing the cultural impact that these games have on his generation.

Awards

Award Giver Category Verdict
Spike Video Game Awards 2006Best Cast Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2006Best Graphics Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2006Best Original Score Winner
Spike Video Game Awards 2006Best PC Game Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2006Best Performance by a Human Male
(Patrick Stewart)
Winner
Spike Video Game Awards 2006Best RPG Winner
Spike Video Game Awards 2006Best Supporting Female Performance
(Lynda Carter)
Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2006Action and Adventure sponsored by PC World Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2006ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2006Gameplay sponsored by Nokia N-Gage Nominee
Golden Joystick Awards 2006Girls' Choice Award Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2006Original Score Nominee
Golden Joystick Awards 2006PC Game of the Year Winner
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2006Screenplay Nominee
Golden Joystick Awards 2006Soundtrack of the Year Nominee
Golden Joystick Awards 2006Ultimate Game of the Year Winner
Golden Joystick Awards 2006Xbox Game of the Year Winner
Spike Video Game Awards 2006Game of the Year Winner
Spike Video Game Awards 2006Most Addictive Game Winner
Spike Video Game Awards 2006Studio of the Year
(Bethesda Game Studios)
Nominee
Game Developers Choice Awards 2007Best Game Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2007Computer Game of the Year Winner
Game Developers Choice Awards 2007Game Design Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2007Outstanding Achievement in Character Performance - Female Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2007Outstanding Achievement in Game Design Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2007Outstanding Achievement in Game Play Engineering Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2007Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2007Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2007Overall Game of the Year Nominee
Golden Joystick Awards 2007Playstation Game of the Year Third Place
Interactive Achievement Awards 2007Role-Playing Game of the Year Winner
Golden Joystick Awards 2007Soundtrack of the Year Nominee
Game Developers Choice Awards 2007Visual Arts Nominee
Game Developers Choice Awards 2007Writing Nominee

Additional Info

ESRB Description:
Blood and Gore, Language, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence

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