More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Review Part 2 By Kin

This is the second part of the game review by Kin. You can read Part 1 first if you haven't read it.

A personal review of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion by Kin

Part 2: Combat system and buying a house

This is the second part of my review for Oblivion. Please note that since I suffer from writers block it is almost impossible for me to cover every topic in my head. This part will cover two topics, Combat System and buying a house.

Combat system: An integral part of any video game is the playability. We all love a game that has fantastic graphics, beautiful sound and a smooth engine. But what good would it be for someone who likes to spend hours and hours wishing to be entertained constantly. A lot of games, past or present, have been lowly rated simply because they have no game value. They are visually and aurally stunning, but end up boring you to tears or are so unplayable you just don’t bother.

This is another impressive aspect that Oblivion has bestowed. Like I mentioned in Part 1 of my review, this game is packed with stunning graphics with realistic sounds and superior voice acting. But the marvelous producers have still managed to maintain the games overall playability and realism in terms of physics, sound effects, and character movement. Every single object in this virtual world can me moved, knocked down or flung around. I could ram myself into a table with a nicely placed dinner set and knock the knives and plates onto the floor. Every knife and plate is its own object. I can pick them up individually. They move in realistic ways and produce realistic sounds with every action depending of the shape, size and material of the object.

Now it should be clear how realistic and interactive everything is. But now the truly amazing aspect of game play is combat. We all love a good fight. But how much we love it is measured by the realism and freedom we have when confronted by an enemy or two. The character has a wide variety of moves and skills that help him or her take down their opponent. They can simply slash and stab for the quick kill. They can weave and sway around the enemy’s attacks and then launch a counter-attack. There is more than one strategy to employ when engaging a threat. Sneaking behind an enemy is possible. Firing a poison arrow from far distances is also an option. Whatever approach is taken is all dependent on preference. But to be really smart, it should really be dependent on the character’s strength and weaknesses. It would be unwise to jump on a group of palace guards if the character is weak with hand to hand combat. It would be a smarter choice to snipe your enemies, say, from a balcony if the character has great marksmanship skills. Weapons are not limited to just knives and swords. Blunt weapons such as war hammers and clubs are just a few of the many arsenals at the character’s disposal. The greatness of the overall combat system is just one of the testaments to the highly rated gaming experience of Oblivion.

Buying a house: Sure. There are vast number of Inns and Hotels in the virtual world. For a small fee, the character can stay overnight for some much needed rest. But wouldn’t it be so much grander to have a place to call home? Or better yet have a place in every city that belongs and only belongs to the hero. A place where he or she can hang their sword, sit down have a glass of fine wine, and simply relax in his or her comfortable bed. Gold is the buying/trading tool of the game. Collect enough coins and houses can be purchased. The second most expensive house is in the city of Chorrol. For a nice round sum of 20,000 gold pieces, a dream house is there for the taking. Now this place is HUGE. It was two stories, with 3 bedrooms including an en suite. I could also buy furniture from the local merchant and live in absolute luxury. It should be noted that owning houses and buying fancy tables and chairs doesn’t contribute to the storyline or the character’s skill or attributes. But it is fun. I enjoy spending some time of my own moving room to room, unloading my books and spells in my room cupboard knowing they will still be there when I come back from my big quests. To have a place to call home is priceless and it sure beats jimmying my neighbor’s door lock and then spending a night at the local jail.

This concludes Part 2 of my review. My next topics will cover NPC and AI. For the non-computer geeks out there, they stand for Non Playing Characters and Artificial Intelligence.

Happy gaming!

Above: A place to hang my hat or my sword.


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