The lights are on
In celebration of the five-year anniversary edition of Oblivion, we look back at our favorite moments playing Bethesda’s triumphant RPG. Eighteen games launched alongside the Xbox 360 when the console shipped in November of 2005, but it wasn’t until the following March that many GI editors felt they played their first true next-gen title. With its stunning visuals, vast world, and deep collection of quests, several of us spent hundreds of hours immersed in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion experience, and these are our favorite parts.
The ExpansivenessFew games capture a sense of wonder and exploration like Oblivion. When you escape the labyrinthine prison tunnels and first emerge into the world of Cyrodiil, the view is breathtaking. The picturesque countryside in Oblivion is nearly as varied as the North American landscape, featuring rolling fields of green, dense forests filled with wildlife, snowy mountain passes, murky swamps, and gorgeous coastlines. These locations aren’t just eye candy – anywhere you see, you can go, and each of these regions is filled with quest dungeons.
The Dark BrotherhoodLike Morrowind’s Morag Tong, the Dark Brotherhood is a sinister group of assassins who shift the balance of power in Cyrodiil with their hidden blades. To even be considered for membership in this guild, you must murder an innocent civilian. Once you’re in, the real fun begins. A precursor to the medieval cloak-and-dagger routine in Assassin’s Creed, these entertaining and inventive assassination missions test your ability to get away with murder and are some of the best the game has to offer.
The Thieves GuildWhile you’re sullying your reputation by slitting throats in the Dark Brotherhood, why not commiserate with pickpockets, burglars, and smugglers as well? Run by the mysterious Gray Fox, the Thieves Guild is a must for players like me who like to pilfer homes and stores indiscriminately (a habit formed while playing Ultima games). Since most merchants won’t buy your stolen goods, you need to join the Thieves Guild to fence your ill-gotten gains to the black market. Completing these quests also gives you access to two of my favorite items – the Boots of Springheel Jak, which increase your acrobatics skill by 50 points, and the Gray Cowl of Nocturnal, an enchanted hood that allows you to detect all life forms within 120 feet, fortifies your sneak ability by 25, allows you to carry 200 more pounds of gear, and ensures that all crimes committed while wearing it are attributed to an alternate persona. It’s the haute couture of looting fashion.
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