Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Top 50 Games - 40. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Are you familiar with the word 'content'? If not, let me equip you with a suitable definition. *Ahem* The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Seriously, this game is massive. I'm genuinely amazed that it hasn't imploded in a giant blinding supernova. For this 2006 RPG, Bethesda honed their craft, namely taking a tried-and-true fantasy archetype and making it fresh through something called player immersion. There's a caveat of course, in that you're only truly immersed roughly three fourths of the time due to unfortunate quirks such as shoddy animation, overused voice actors, and omnipresent lawmen. The times in which you are wholly absorbed in the game, however, practically define next-gen role-playing. While Oblivion might be a bit encumbered (smiley face) by its ambition, the game world's logic is mostly consistent and stunningly complex. The Radiant AI system provides NPCs who drink, eat, paint, sit, walk, run, chat, fight, and steal. In one sidequest, after informing a man of his long-lost brother's whereabouts, he thanked me, opened the door, ran out, and proceeded to travel across the vast countryside towards the city I named as I followed a few paces behind until I witnessed the heartwarming reunion. I could've gone on to another quest after talking to the man, but instead I chose to marvel at his continued existence and purposeful logic. If you don't tire of the mechanics, Oblivion could fill up years of your life with unique content, unlike other time-wasters like Tetris. There's alchemy, caves, tombs, cities, country, hamlets, forests, an arena, guilds, inns, alcohol, spells, books, animals, food, vampires, and more. Much more. It's just ridiculous. Ludicrous, even. Seriously.

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