My brother brings over his XBox 360, and subsequently gets me hooked on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which is pretty much crack in a DVD case. In the weeks following, I obtain the PC version, and am merrily playing my Khajiit 'Lifestealer' custom class, and leaving nearly everything else by the wayside. Now, as it's a relatively new game, it won't get much exposure here... at least yet. I will, however, give a brief rundown on why this is one of the very few RPGs I'll actually play:
- It's freeform. You can rack up quests 'til Oblivion won't have it (note: Oblivion is the 'hell' of their world), and complete them at your leisure, or finish each quest as you recieve it.
- Completing the main quest series does not mean the end of the game. Some quests may be of the complete-or-lose-and-restart-from-save variety, but there's always more to do in the game.
- Combat is realtime, and rather strategic. If you're good enough, you can win fights without taking a single hit. And besides, it always feels nice to jump your opponent's fireball spell and slash him on the way down.
- It's open. Bethesda Softworks has made tools available for players to create their own content. Everything from new quests to new toys to play around with. Some enterprising players have even toyed with some of the default game systems to make them more player-friendly.
Now, nothing this expansive and open comes flawlessly, however, and there are some issues that can arise. Some quests don't play well with others, and quite often plugins (the term for user-created content) will conflict with others. It happens sometimes, but the flaws don't detract from the myriad pluses all that much. Let me just say, if you can find this game, for any platform (it's currently available for the XBox 360, Playstation 3 and PC), your money would be well-spent in this purchase. I would recommend the PC version over the console ports, and the Game of the Year Edition over vanilla Oblivion, for the reasons described above (console users can't access all the user-made modifications available), but make sure you clear your social calendar for at least a week before starting play. You'll need it.