The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is one of last years most talked about games that gained critical acclaim from around the globe. Extreme Gamer, along with a number of other respectable websites listed Oblivion as their Game of The Year. Oblivion finally finds its way over to the Playstations hardware to give Sony fans a taste of the magic in Cyrodill.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is already a decorated award winning game that needs no introduction. The vast role playing is surpassed by no other; it’s easy to call Oblivion miraculous, groundbreaking and enchanting. I invested over a hundred hours on the Xbox 360 and even though I’m currently drowning in the swamps of the Shivering Isles expansion, I’m starting the adventure over again on the Playstation 3.
You would think that a game that can take over your life, sucking up and over a hundred hours would be drawn out and no longer playable after a certain point, but Oblivion doesn’t. Strangely starting over for one for trip in Cyrodill is still exciting and riveting. The entire overall lustre might be slightly dulled, but Oblivion is the type of game that easily rekindles its brilliance. On the PS3, I’m ready for the challenge with a new character and class, a new controller and an updated build of the game.
For the storyline and game mechanics, I’m not going to spend too much time retelling the details most of you already know. For a little refresher, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is the story of the land Cyrodill and its inhabitants. You start off witnessing the untimely death of the Emperor (voiced by Patrick Stewart) as he gives you the Amulet of Kings that needs to be delivered to his next of kin. Simultaneously evil demon gates to the land of Oblivion open up across the countryside and you start a quest that unravels into an epic adventure. This is the main quest, but Oblivion is much more. The landscape is filled with towns, and problems that need to be solved. Interesting characters, a number of different guilds you can explore, along with a large amount of caverns and haunted ruins to explore. Oblivion is filled with things to do and you can easy be kept busy just wandering around. Oblivion is the grand daddy, a huge world for you to explore and develop a character. Now, I’m sure I just explained what you already know, so I’ll get to what you’re here for, the differences on the PS3 from the PC, and Xbox 360 versions.
You already know Oblivion is a solid experience, admittedly not perfect, but given the scale it’s pretty damn close. Add in an extra year of development time and the power of Sony’s cell processor behind the helm and you have reason to question which version is more superior. It’s obvious that the consoles can’t match the power and versatility of the PC with upgrading video cards, and hundreds of mods available. The race is between the Xbox 360 and the PS3 playing catch up. Ironically, the Playstation which normally boasts a large library of RPG has just received its first entry, and from a North American developer at that.
Even though an extra year has rolled around Bethesda still had to deal with transporting their gem into Sony’s architecture for the PS3. The results come out the other end showcasing improved rendering of textures and lighting, along with slightly quicker load times. While the graphics have been tweaked the gameplay remains solid without the jerking rumbles of the control pad. The main difference besides the techniqual aspect is the Knights of the Nine extra content that has been inputted into this version. Originally I believed Bethesda would pile all the downloadable content into the PS3 version, but it seems all the managed to port over is the pricey ten hour add-on. You could say the Knights of the Nine content is better than nothing, but with the list of other downloadable content and the recently released Shivering Isles, it seems a shallow in the waters of Oblivion.
In my case, I never downloaded the Knights expansion pack so it is a bonus, but it’s not going to be enough to make Xbox 360 owners repurchase the game on the PS3. If Bethesda managed to horde all the content into the mix including the Shivering Isles expansion then the answer would be different. That would add at the least another 40-50hrs of content which could lure gamers who never jumped at micro transactions. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum and have never played Oblivion, don’t worry the game has enough merit on its own with a host of downloadable content.
Keeping on the theme of the downloadable content, the question is, when are Playstation owners going to see this extra content, and for how much? On this Bethesda has remained quiet with the Sony stores lights out. I’m not sure if the PS3 crowd will ever see downloadable content which is a shame given the quality of The Shivering Isles and lesser and now free download of the Manrunes’ Razor, or others like the Vile Lair. I know it’s not much, but I was actually excited to see horses in Armour, something I’m not ready to fork out money for on the Xbox 360 version. I’m not sure if things will improve, there is hope, but if you notice the download tab in the menu isn’t even present, so I smell bad news. Hopefully something is worked out because the PC and Xbox 360 version are still scheduled to receive more content in the future with is blantly unfair to all the people who have purchased Oblivion for the PS3.
Another question about the PS3 version is did they add controls for the motion sensitive controller? Sadly the answer is no. I’m not even sure if motion controls would have worked, but it seems Bethesda didn’t waste extra effort programming simple add-ons that don’t enhance the gameplay. The lack of rumble is the big story in the controls which actually didn’t bother me all that much. I admit that the rumble between two swords connecting is awesome; no one could deny the rumble of battle. I’d take rumble over, no rumble any day, but I was pleased enough without it. Aside from the rumble, the PS3 controls are close to the Xbox controller making Oblivion easy to adapt to and a breeze to play.
In the ninth round of the PS3 vs. The Xbox 360 Elder Scrolls IV battle, I have to nudge one point over to the Xbox corner. The PS3 is no slouch offering a bonus content and updated quicker graphics, but the deciding factor here is the ability to download extra content. I’ve even throwing away the non rumble aspect, and chalking it up the extras. The reason this is so important is because after you invest a large amount of time closing the gates of Oblivion and various side quests, its good to keep the party rolling with extra enhancements and new story lines.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is an epic game that deserves all the praise it has received since its release last year. The PS3 version is just as grand and impressive as the previous versions, if not slightly better in the graphics department. Sure, the PS3 gets ambushed from the shadows on the downloadable content, but its recovering and still has a lot of fight left. Oblivion is an easy “must have” for all PS3 owners, this is omega of role-playing games that likely won’t be surpassed until the Elder Scrolls V.
Gameplay: 9.5, Graphics/Sound:10, Innovation:9, Mojo: 9 Final: 9.5 / 10