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November 13 2006
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
26/4/2007UbisoftUbisoft /
Bethesda Softworks
Bethesda Softworks
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
1None$119.95
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ESIV is a First Person RPG.
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Fighting in the city streets.

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Prepare to battle - to the death!
In case you've been living under a rock since March this year you would know that The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has been a monster hit for 2K Games, and been praised as one of the best RPG's in recent years. After playing the PC game we can hardly disagree - it's a stunning title with the only drawback being the massive CPU and GPU power the game requires to run at full steam. Fortunately gamers won't have that problem with the PS3. Rather then a direct port though Bethesda Softworks are adding in some new features - including an entirely new chapter to play.

Oblivion takes place in Tamriel's capital province, Cyrodiil. You are given the task of finding the hidden heir to a throne that sits empty, the previous emperor having been killed by an unknown assassin. With no true Emperor, the gates to Oblivion (the equivalent of hell in the world of Tamriel) open, and demons begin to invade Cyrodiil and attack its people and towns. It's up to you to find the lost heir to the throne and unravel the sinister plot that threatens to destroy all of Tamriel.

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Selecting your apparel.
Essentially a third person RPG this game is very open in that it allows gamers to experience the main quest at their own pace. There are be plenty of opportunities to explore the vast world and make your own way. Numerous factions can be joined, such as the thieves or mages guilds, and each contains its own complete storyline and the chance to rise to the head of the faction and reap further rewards.

Oblivion also features a groundbreaking new AI system, called Radiant AI, which gives over 1,000 non-playable characters (NPCs) the ability to make their own choices based on the world around them. They'll decide where to eat or who to talk to and what they'll say. They'll sleep, go to church, and even steal items, all based on their individual characteristics. Full facial animations and lip-synching, combined with full speech for all dialog, allows NPCs to come to life like never before.

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The city looks a little worse for wear here!
So what is new in this game then? Well the bulk of the game is identical but the PS3 version will include the Knights of the Nine expansion pack which has to be purchased separately for PC and XBox 360. This pack includes an all new faction, and quests as well the other Oblivion downloadable content released to date including Horse Armor, The Orrery, Wizard’s Tower, Vile Lair, Thieves Den, Mehrunes’ Razor, and Spell Tomes. Knights of the Nine answers many of the questions surrounding the Ayleid ruins found throughout Oblivion. Players can join a new faction and found their own order of holy knights – leading them into battle against a sorcerer-king and his demonic minions while exploring massive dungeons and searching for legendary relics – the holy armor and weapons of the Divine Crusader. In all this will be around 10-20 hours of additional content. Impressive.

Bethesda are also hoping to include downloadable content for the PS3 version, but are awaiting more clarification from Sony according to an interview with IGN in October 2006. Sadly another of the PS3's features, the tilt controller, won't be used in the game at all. One can also hope that the developers have managed to eliminate some of the annoying loading in the XBox 360 version as you moved around the game world, although I believe that's an inherent problem with the way the entire game engine works.

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The game world is massive.
As you can see from the surrounding screens the PS3 version is shaping up very nicely. One of the new technologies being included in this version is new graphics shaders. While the PC and XBox games showed a distinct difference between near and far detail, it now blends together much more smoothly. The developers have also used Speedtree technology to create the forests giving them a very realistic look.

Audio in the game includes a wide range of music and effects, but is given a boost with the inclusion of many well known actors providing voiceovers including Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: TNG), Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings), Terence Stamp (Superman) and Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman).

With The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion now delayed until early 2007 in America we can only hope that the European version is available at launch (In actual fact it's now confirmed for April 26 - a month after launch). If Bethesda Softworks can produce a game with a solid frame rate, some technical enhancements over the XBox 360 version and give you the Knights of the Nine expansion pack for free as well then this should be a certain purchase upon release. Keep an eye on this one RPG fans, it's going to be massive.