Last night I went home with Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for the Xbox 360, wired up to the projector producing 720p high definition imagery that dominates the darkened room.
You start off with an incredibly comprehensive character generation where you can choose race, sex, hair color, eye color, age… and a bewildering number of options to customs your face. So many options in fact it’s quite difficult to come up with something you like. Hitting the random option until you see a good starting point is probably the easiest way to progress.
The narrative starts and you find yourself in a prison cell at the royal palace. If there was a reason for my being here it must have been in the as-yet-unread manual.
The plot initiates with Patrick Stewart voicing the emperor of the Imperials and we descend into the sewers and tunnels beneath the city. For the next twenty minutes you scramble around in the dark with the occasional pointer on getting to grips with the control and game-play mechanisms. During this process you must choose your star sign which gives you an extra ability/bonus and a class to determine your core abilities and role.
I thought I’d have a bit of fun and choose thief for a change. Lots of creeping round, lock-picking the many chests and doors and generally just, well, thieving. For the record I normally play some form of ranger or melee class.
Having acquired a minimal set of adventuring kit from the residents I met along the way, now deceased, I step outside…
The sun is setting and it’s vibrant hues of purple and red are reflected upon the rippling lake in front of me.
The wind is stirring up and the branches of the trees bob back and forth casting shadows upon the ground.
A started deer looks up and jolts away from you through the thick grass and disappears behind a boulder reflecting the suns last rays.
The adventure begins.