Ports typically don't generate too much excitement, which is why nabbing six month to a year exclusivity is worth millions to the platform holders. Locking up an A-list title goes a long way to striking a blow at console competitors, because a year is a long time to wait for any game. Even so, when I ripped open the plastic wrap and popped The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion in my PS3 recently, I couldn't help but feel a tinge of excitement. The world of Tamriel held a deep spell over me and my available free time last year when the RPG hit the 360. Despite my affinity for the game, I had to ask myself if a port of any game was really worth another look over a year after it first hit retail.
After loading up a new game, the first noticeable difference of a year's time is the look. The graphics do look better, more polished and smooth, but there's still some noticeable pop up. It's not as bad as the 360 version and once you lose yourself in the world of Tamriel you'll hardly notice, but it's there nonetheless. It's a small flaw in an otherwise beautiful vision. Oblivion is the still one of those games that you throw on your HDTV to impress your family and friends.
Without a doubt, it's a must purchase for any PS3 owner who didn't have a chance to play it on the 360 or PC.
As an added bonus, the load times are significantly faster. There's a lot less waiting to jump in that dungeon and whack some trolls. Other than the initial loading, the times seem much faster than the previous version. No running to the bathroom or shooting off a quick text between the action. You simply won't have the time. It helps keep the focus on the fast and furious first person action.
Shorter load times will draw you even deeper into Oblivion's web. You'll quickly be caught up with the story and the world of Tamriel. It's up to you to slam shut the Oblivion Gates and prevent demons from overrunning the once peaceful world. It's a long and rewarding quest that can be completed at any level since the difficulty scales to your current level, and if you're having a tough time you can slide the difficulty level down at any time. Even so, you're going to put a bunch of hours in to complete it. It's that deep.
Still, finishing the main quest isn't even the half of it. Outside of that adventure, there's a ton of interesting and diverse content. Each character has their own tale, and each faction struggles for a degree of control over the expansive world. You can get caught up so easily simply following an NPC, watching them as they go through their day. Aside from the main quest, there is far too much for even a highly dedicated to play to go through. It really is amazing how Bethesda crammed things to do into every nook and cranny of the game world.
Working through all the content you can handle is a blast, even if there are no nerd points to be had. I have to be honest. I did notice the lack of achievements, most likely because I had already played through the 360 version. That being said, first timers certainly won't be bothered. All in all, this is a title that doesn't need fancy bells and whistles to distract you from the core gameplay, because at its core it's excellent.
The PS3 version does contain a bit of extra content. It features the Knights of the Nine faction expansion, but all of the other expansion content is absent. Sorry, no horse armor here. It's hard to ignore the fact that while all your friends are visiting the madness in Shivering Isles, your Johnny-come-lately self is still in slamming shut those fiery gates. The inclusion of all the additional content would have helped make up for the yearlong wait for this title.
Even a year later, Oblivion doesn't just hold up well, it's aged like fine wine. Without a doubt, it's a must purchase for any PS3 owner who didn't have a chance to play it on the 360 or PC. On a console filled with ports, it's the cream of the crop. It's just too bad there's nothing new for those coming back for seconds.
Discuss this article in our fourms