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    Elder Scrolls: Oblivion for Xbox 360

    Ever since its debut on Microsoft's Xbox 360, one game has excited audiences all over and delivered a truly unique experience that just cannot be rivaled by any other game out there. Elder Scrolls: Oblivion gives any player so many options that one developer boasted that if two people compared what they'd done in the game after 40 hours of gameplay, each person would have played two different games. That's quite a boast, so I took a look at the game myself to see what was so amazing about it.

    The controls on this game are rather basic to begin with. However, one of the options the control system gives you is the ability to switch from third to first person view at will. For someone like me who gets easily turned around in Halo, yet has no problem annihilating the competition in games like Star Wars: Battlefront, that means a lot. Not being stuck in one viewpoint is a large plus for this game early on. Beyond that, you have three ways to customize your character's development in the game from the moment the game loads. You get to choose your race (lots of choices here, from Dark Elf to a regular man descended from warriors), then you get to choose what sign your character was born under (this can give you lots of options, like additional magic to use, or extra abilities that are limited to use once a day or so), to what job you have (options here decide what kind of abilities your character will be naturally good at - arching, brawling, that kind of thing). The best part is that once you get into the game, you can join guilds that will increase other areas of your development too, so your character is constantly changing and evolving as the game progresses. For this, Oblivion gets a solid 9 out of 10.

    As far as stories go, this one isn't completely unique. The emperor of Tamriel is fleeing a possible assassination attempt. Following him, you discover that upon you lies the hope of the empire. You are to find the heir of the throne of Tamriel and bring to him a mystical artifact that will bring peace to the world. What makes this game so interesting and long-lived is the sheer number of side quests available. One interview I read suggested up to 300 hours of gameplay if someone completed each and every single side quest available (I can't confirm that, but just looking at the game, I wouldn't doubt something very near that number, at least). I played for nearly five solid hours without ever actually touching the main story. Everywhere you go, there are a ton of options. If you come across an abandoned ruin or a cave, you can explore to find gold, enemies, or even rare artifacts and objects. There is also a massive city that dominates the game's world. Here it is possible to get new armor and weapons, trade goods, create new potions, stay in a comfortable hotel, fight in an arena for cash and try to become the champion yourself, or any of a dozen other equally fun options. The fun just never really ends for this game. For an open-ended game that manages to be nothing like Grand Theft Auto, Oblivion gets another 9 out of 10.

    Sound, it definitely stands out from the moment you begin this game. Epic music that gets your pulse going quickly from the moment you begin, and once an enemy is near, the sound changes to alert you. There are realistic sounds of your bow twanging as you release arrows, and of repair hammers banging on your armor and weapons as you repair them. The soundtrack is good, the sound effects are spot-on, and there is really nothing else you could ask for. Oh yeah, you guessed it, a solid 9 for the sound.

    For those of you keeping score, I'm going to keep beating around the bush a little longer. If you like action rpgs at all, then this game is definitely a game to add to your collection. If you don't like this genre of game, then you should still try it anyway because of just how much you can do. This game is literally different for every person that plays it. An excellent story, a high level of control, spectacular graphics, and great sound combine to create a great, 9 out of 10 game. It would be a perfect ten, except for the fact that the game tends to glitch slightly when you try running across the whole map.

    - Written by MT

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