The Elder Scrolls IV

Format: Xbox 360
2K Games

5 026555 245241
Age Restrictions: 16+
24 March 2006

You are given the task of finding the hidden heir to a throne that sits empty, the previous emperor having been killed by an unknown assassin. With no true Emperor in Tamriel's capital province, Cyrodiil, the gates to Oblivion (the equivalent of hell in the world of Tamriel) open, and demons begin to invade Cyrodiil and attack its people and towns.
It's up to you to find the lost heir to the throne and unravel the sinister plot that threatens to destroy all that you hold dear...

Oblivion is a single-player game that lets you step inside the latest chapter in the epic and highly successful Elder Scrolls saga. With a powerful combination of freeform gameplay and unprecedented graphics, you can unravel the main quest at your own pace or explore the vast world and find your own challenges.

In keeping with the Elder Scrolls tradition, players have the option to experience the main quest at their own pace, and there are plenty of opportunities to explore the vast world and make your own way. Numerous factions can be joined, such as the thieves or mages guilds, and each contains its own complete storyline and the chance to rise to the head of the faction and reap further rewards.

Oblivion features a new AI system, called Radiant AI, which gives non-player characters (NPCs) the ability to make their own choices based on the world around them. They decide where to eat or who to talk to and what they say. They sleep, go to church, and even steal items, all based on their individual characteristics. Full facial animations and lip-synching, combined with full speech for all dialogue, allows NPCs to come to life with a level of realism not seen before.

Whether you've played Morrowind, and were instantly addicted, or you've never experienced the Elder Scrolls series in the past, this is one game that will have you hooked.

You start the game in a dungeon and must make your way out into the sun - this actually acts as the basic training level of the game. Once you've escaped the dungeon, you are free to roam and explore the world around you. And what a world it is. The landscapes are breathtaking.

But it's not just eye candy. There is real substance to this game. In fact, you just know that this game is going to be responsible for a lot of AWOLs across the country (Thankfully I actually have to come into work to play this...) as gamers get swept up in the addictive gameplay. This game is huge and is certainly one that you will easily be able to play for months without experiencing half of what's on offer.

There are more side missions than are really necessary (that's not a complaint though) and you never get the feeling that you are just going through the motions - each side mission is well conceived and a joy to play - well, all the ones we played were.

Certainly the most fun we've had for ages. This is the one game that could ensure that take up of the Xbox 360 goes through the roof.

Ray Thompson

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