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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is an action role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks and the Take-Two Interactive subsidiary 2K Games. It is the fourth installment in The Elder Scrolls action fantasy video game series, following The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and preceding The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Oblivion was first released in March 2006 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360. A mobile phone version of the game was released in May 2006, and a PlayStation 3 version was shipped in March 2007. After a number of smaller content releases, a major expansion pack, Shivering Isles, was distributed. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Game of the Year Edition was released in 2007 for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. A fifth anniversary edition was shipped in 2011.

Oblivion's main story revolves around the player character's efforts to thwart a fanatical cult known as the "Mythic Dawn" that plans to open the gates to a realm called "Oblivion". The game continues the open world tradition of its predecessors by allowing the player to travel anywhere in the game world at any time and to ignore or postpone the main storyline indefinitely. A perpetual objective for players is to improve their character's skills, which are numerical representations of certain abilities. Seven skills are selected early in the game as major skills, with the remainder termed minor. Developers opted for tighter pacing in gameplay and greater plot focus than in past titles.

Development for Oblivion began in 2002, directly after the release of Morrowind. To design the graphics, Bethesda used an improved Havok physics engine, high dynamic range lighting, procedural content generation tools that allowed developers to quickly create detailed terrains, and the Radiant A.I. system, which enabled non-player characters to make choices and engage in behaviors more complex than in past titles. The game features fully voiced NPCs—a first for the series—and the music of award-winning composer Jeremy Soule. Overall, Oblivion was well received by critics, and has won a number of industry and publication awards. It was praised for its impressive graphics, expansive game world and schedule-driven NPCs. Within a month, the game had shipped over 1.7 million copies, and by November 2011, sold over 3.5 million.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Plot

Oblivion is set after the events of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, though it is not a direct sequel to it or any other game. The game is set in Cyrodiil—a province of Tamriel, the continent on which all the games in the series have so far taken place.

The story begins with the player imprisoned in a cell for an unnamed crime and the arrival of Emperor Uriel Septim VII, accompanied by Imperial bodyguards known as "the Blades" at the Imperial City prison. They are fleeing from the assassins of the Mythic Dawn, a Daedric cult, who have murdered the Emperor's three sons. The bodyguards opt to kill the player but the Emperor prevents them because he had seen the player in a dream. The Emperor, the Blades, and the player head to a sewer that leads out of the city, using a secret entrance that is located in the player's cell. Once in the sewer, the group is attacked by the Mythic Dawn. Uriel Septim entrusts the player with the Amulet of Kings, worn by the Septim emperors of Tamriel, and orders the player to take it to a man named Jauffre, who is the grand master of the Blades. Immediately afterward one of the assassins kills the Emperor. The player then proceeds to the open world of Cyrodiil.

The lack of an heir for Uriel Septim has broken an old covenant—the barrier to the realm of Oblivion: a dangerous realm that is in another dimension. Multiple gates to Oblivion open, and an invasion of Tamriel begins by magical creatures known as Daedra. Jauffre tells the player that the only way to close the gates permanently is to find someone of the royal bloodline to retake the throne and relight the Dragonfires—with the Amulet of Kings—in the Imperial City. Fortunately, there is an illegitimate son named Martin, who is a priest in the city of Kvatch. Upon arriving at Kvatch, the player finds that the Daedra are destroying the city. A massive Oblivion Gate is obstructing the main city entrance, and the player must venture into the Planes of Oblivion before searching for Martin. After closing the gate, the player enters Kvatch and persuades Martin to come to Weynon Priory.

Upon returning, the player finds that Weynon Priory is under attack by Mythic Dawn cult members and that the Amulet of Kings has been stolen. The player escorts Jauffre and Martin to Cloud Ruler Temple, the stronghold of the Blades. Martin is there recognized as the emperor and is given command of the Blades, while the player sets off in search of the amulet. After gathering information, the player attempts to infiltrate the secret meeting place of the Mythic Dawn. When the player does so, their leader, Mankar Camoran, escapes through a portal, taking the amulet with him. The player takes the book that had opened the portal to Martin, who deduces a way to reopen the portal. The player seeks out three key artifacts necessary to recreate the portal: a Daedric artifact, the armor of the first Septim emperor, and a Great Welkynd Stone. With all three retrieved, Martin reveals that a final ingredient is needed: a Great Sigil Stone from inside a Great Gate similar to the one that devastated Kvatch. Martin and Jauffre decide to allow the city of Bruma to be attacked by Daedra so that a Great Gate will be opened. Once it is, the player obtains the Stone and closes the Gate.

A portal is created at Cloud Ruler Temple and the player is sent through. After bypassing monsters and obstacles, the player confronts Camoran and kills him. The player returns the Amulet of Kings to Martin Septim, and the Blades travel to the Imperial City to relight the Dragonfires and end the Daedric invasion. They find the city under attack by Daedra and the Daedric Prince of Destruction, Mehrunes Dagon. The player and Martin fight their way to the Dragonfires, where Martin shatters the Amulet of Kings to merge himself with the spirit of Akatosh, the Dragon-God of Time, and become his avatar. After a battle, the Avatar casts Dagon back into Oblivion before turning to stone. Martin disappears, the gates of Oblivion are shut forever, the Amulet of Kings is destroyed, and the throne of the Empire again lies empty. In a final monologue, Martin Septim describes the events in an optimistic light and states that the future of Tamriel is now in the player's hands.[26

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Gameplay

Oblivion is a role-playing game (RPG) that incorporates open-ended gameplay. The player is free to postpone or ignore the game's main quest indefinitely and explore the expansive game world. The player can follow side-quests, interact with NPCs, dispatch monsters, develop their character, and travel anywhere in the realm of Cyrodiil at any time while playing the game. The game never ends, and the player can continue playing after completing the main quest. The gameplay includes a "fast travel" system, in which an icon appears on the game world map every time the player visits a new location. This excludes the game world's main cities which are already unlocked for fast travel from the start of the game. The player can arrive at a desired location instantaneously by selecting the icon on the map.

A man standing next to a tabbed menu, in which the clothes he wears have been selected.

The inventory interface, where the player garbs, armors, and equips his or her character

Character development is a primary element of Oblivion. At the beginning of the game, the player selects one of many human or anthropomorphic races, each of which has different natural abilities, and customizes their character's appearance. A perpetual objective for players is to improve their character's skills, which are numerical representations of their ability in certain areas. Seven skills are selected early in the game as major skills, with the remainder termed minor. The player levels up each time they improve their major skills by a total of ten points; this provides the opportunity to improve their attributes. Attributes are more broad character qualities, such as "speed" and "endurance", while skills are more specific, such as "armorer" or "athletics". When the player reaches either 25, 50, 75 or 100 points in a single skill, he or she unlocks new abilities related to the skill. The game's 21 skills fall evenly under the categories of combat, magic, and stealth, and many skills complement more than one area. Combat skills are used primarily for battle and incorporate armor and heavy weapons like blades, axes, maces, and hammers. Magic skills rely on the use of spells to alter the physical world, to affect the minds of others, to injure and debilitate enemies, to summon monsters to help fight, and to heal wounds. Stealth skills allow the player to crack locks, haggle for goods, use speech to manipulate people, and apply cunning in combat (through the use of a bow or with a sneak attack). The spells, weapons, and other tools such as lockpicks that a player needs to employ and enhance these skills can be purchased in shops, stolen from NPCs, or found as loot on the bodies of foes or in dungeons.

Oblivion can be played in either a first- or third-person view, except in the mobile phone version, in which the game can only be played in isometric projection. The player may change the level of difficulty at any time, thereby weakening opponents and increasing the chance of success for particular actions. The screen constantly presents a heads-up display, which provides information about the character's health, magicka, and fatigue, all of which can be increased by leveling up. Health can be restored by spells, potions, or resting; the loss of all health results in death. Magicka allows for and is depleted by the use of spells; it is rejuvenated naturally over time, but it can be restored similarly to health. Fatigue affects the character's effectiveness in combat and general efficiency, and can be alleviated by resting, potions and spells. Throughout the world are a variety of enemies, including standard fantasy monsters like imps and goblins, and animals like bears and wolves. Enemies become stronger and weapons and armor more effective as the player levels up. This game mechanic, level-scaling, was incorporated to maintain a constant and moderate aspect of difficulty. However, level-scaling, combined with the leveling system has received criticism, as it has the potential to unbalance the game; characters with major skills that increase on an involuntary basis, such as athletics or armor, can find they level too quickly, making the enemies proportionately harder than intended.

Oblivion received universal acclaim from critics, and became a commercial success. The game had shipped 1.7 million copies by April 10, 2006, sold over 3 million copies by January 2007, and over 3.5 million by November 2011. Reviewers praised the game for its impressive graphics, expansive game world and schedule-driven NPCs. Eurogamer editor Kristan Reed stated that the game "successfully unites some of the best elements of RPG, adventure and action games and fuses them into a relentlessly immersive and intoxicating whole". GameSpot's Greg Kasavin wrote that compared to Morrowind, which was one of the best role-playing games he has seen in years, "Oblivion is hands-down better, so much so that even those who'd normally have no interest in a role-playing game should find it hard to resist getting swept up in this big, beautiful, meticulously crafted world". X-Play's Jason D'Aprile stated, "All the games in this series have been known for their sheer vastness and freedom of choice, but the Elder Scrolls IV takes that concept and runs with it".

GamesTM editors noted that the game is "heavily steeped in RPG tradition, however, its appeal stretches far beyond the hardcore RPG demographic thanks to its ease of play, boundless ambition and focused attention to detail". Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club wrote that the game is "worth playing for the sense of discovery—each environment looks different from the last and requires a nuanced reaction—makes the action addictive." GameZone staff commented on how one can spend a lot of the gameplay time by leveling up his or her character, doing various quests, and customizing the character before even starting the main quest.

Game Revolution's Duke Ferris noted that "the voices occasionally repeat" but was impressed that the developers managed to fit a lot of voiced dialog into the game, where most is "high-quality work". IGN editor Charles Onyett praised the game's storytelling and "easy to navigate menus".

Despite the praise, Patrick Joynt of 1UP.com criticized the conversations between in-game NPCs and the player: "When an NPC greets you with a custom piece of dialogue (such as a guard's warning) and then reverts to the standard options (like a guard's cheerful directions just after that warning) it's more jarring than the canned dialogue by itself". GameSpy's Justin Speer criticized the "disruptive loading stutters while moving across the game world" and long loading times. Speer noted several miscellaneous bugs, such as unintended floating objects and unsynchronized lip-synching and speech. Onyett of IGN criticized the disjunction between enemies that scaled up according to the player's level and not their combat abilities or NPC allies, the loading times and the imprecision in the combat system, but stated that "none of those minor criticisms hold back Oblivion from being a thoroughly enjoyable, user-friendly, gorgeous experience with enough content to keep you returning time and time again".

Oblivion won a number of industry and publication awards. In 2006, the game was awarded the title "Game of the Year" at the G-Phoria Video Game Awards and at the Spike TV Video Game Awards. At the 24th annual Golden Joystick Awards, Oblivion was awarded "PLAY.com Ultimate Game of the Year", "Xbox Game of the Year", and "ebuyer.com PC Game of the Year". The game was titled the best role-playing game of 2006 by 1UP.com, G4, IGN, GameSpy, GameSpot, Game Revolution, and the Interactive Achievement Awards. In 2007, PC Gamer magazine rated Oblivion number one on their list of the top 100 games of all time. In addition to the awards won by the game itself, Patrick Stewart's voice work as Uriel Septim won a Spike TV award, and the musical score by composer Jeremy Soule won the inaugural MTV Video Music Award for "Best Original Score" through an international popular vote.[155

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