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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Bethesda Softworks invited me to play Oblivion last week and I really enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, they gave us from 1 to 4:30 to play the game. At 2:15 I looked at my watch and I thought, this is cool but do I really want to play it for another 2 hours when the USA is playing Russia in Olypic hockey. Then the next thing I knew it was 4:30 and it was time to go. I got so swept up in the game that I lost all sense of time. I play a lot of games every year and this is a rare thing so it certainly says something positive about the quality of the game and the power of the story.

Oblivion is a role playing game (RPG) that is the latest chaper in the epic and highly successful Elder Scrolls saga. It's really well done. I'd give it very high scores in sound and video quality. The first thing that struck me about the game is its soundtrack which enhances the environment well. The freeform gameplay allows you to unravel the main quest at your own pace so I just immediately set off on randomly exploring the world. It was very easy to get the hang of the controls. There are stealth aspects to moving around dungeons and sewers and stealth attacks do more damage. There's a very deep alchemy system in which you mix different ingredients together to make something that you then apply to your character to enhance his abilities. A lot of the things you can make are poisons that you apply to your weapons.

The storey goes that after the mysterious and untimely death of the Emperor, the throne of Tamriel lies empty. With the Empire ready to crumble, the gates of Oblivion open and demons march upone the land - laying waste to everything in their path. To turn the tide of darkness, you must find the lost heir to the throne and unravel the sinister plot that threatens to destroy all of Tamriel.

This game is well worth playing if you like action RPGs. I don't rate previews but if I did this would get a 5.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

KEY FEATURES:
• Live Another Life in Another World. Create and play any character you can imagine, from the noble warrior to the sinister assassin to the wizened sorcerer.
• Next Generation Graphics. Pixel-shader effects and high definition televisions are fully supported to create unprecedented visuals, including lifelike towns, dungeons, and the most realistic forests ever created in a game.
• First Person Melee and Magic. An all-new combat and magic system brings first person role-playing to a new level of intensity where you feel every blow.
• Radiant AI. This groundbreaking AI system gives Oblivion’s characters full 24/7 schedules and the ability to make their own choices based on the world around them. Non-player characters eat, sleep, and complete goals all on their own.
• Realistic Characters. Oblivion’s features over 1,000 non-player characters who come to life like never before with facial animations, lip-synching, and full speech. They even engage in unscripted conversations with each other and you.
• Open-Ended Game Play; Short Challenges. The enormous world of Oblivion is open for you to explore at your own pace, and shorter challenges such as fighting bandits, mixing potions, creating magic items and persuading friends keep the challenges coming.

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