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Author Topic: Detailed impressions of Oblivion from X05  (Read 2898 times)
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Hetz
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« on: October 06, 2005, 08:46:56 PM »

Got this from the official forums:

Quote
Hey all,


I was at Microsoft's X05 event in Amsterdam and had a chance to play Oblivion for almost 3/4 of an hour. The Elder Scrolls pods were quiet, mainly because people were more interested in Call of Duty 2, etc. Not me, though!

Anyway, here's a very short account of my impressions. I didn't take details on character creation because that would have taken too long and I really wanted to get out of the first dungeon before being kicked off the pod. Which I did. In fact, considering the time restraints most other attendees were under, I wouldn't be surprised if I was the only person to do so!

(I will say this, however: character creation is just as in-depth as Morrowind's, from the brief glance I took while making my hands-on character. There were about 20 classes to choose from, including a few I didn't recognise from previous games. Much like Morrowind, you also get to choose a sign; I chose The Lady. I didn't check the races available, but I'm sure they've been announced already. The guy next to me was creating an orc character.)

Right. I won't talk too much about the start of the game, because we've all heard the Emperor bit a hundred times already. My impressions are mainly based on aesthetics, because I didn't have time to test out the actual RPG mechanics. From that point of view, there are good and bad points. Please bear in mind that this isn't the finished product and my memory is somewhat fried from a few days of, ahem, drinking coffee.
Firstly, the basic controls feel *exactly* like Morrowind did on the Xbox. The X button is for sheathing and drawing weapons and the A button picks up or interacts with items. The left trigger is used for block this time around, however, with jump moved to Y.

To be perfectly honest, my initial impression of the graphics (the game was running on a high-def TV) was that they were disappointing. The Emperor and Imperial guard models looked a little rough, especially the former's, and certainly not as impressive as in the screenshots. In saying that, they do convey much more emotion. There was one lovely moment where the Emperor was passing me and he actually turned his head and smiled as he walked by. Very nicely done. As I followed the Imperial troupe out of my cell, they were soon attacked by human opposition. Some of the animation here was excellent, especially in the flickering light of torches, and the armour looked wonderful: gleaming and reflecting with movement. There's definitely more bite and aggression to the combat animations for NPCs, though four or five of them fighting together can look a little over-frantic.

As for player-combat, it has definitely been made more action-friendly, but only in the aesthetics department. There's more 'clunk' and 'shudder' to the attacks, and the blocking feels good, but the real difference is that every attack lands, so there's no swiping at air when you fight the rats and goblins of the first dungeon. The goblins looked pretty weird, I thought, like Arx Fatalis models instead of Oblivion models, but maybe that's just me.

There were a bunch of chests in the first dungeon, and some traps. I killed two goblins by pushing logs down a slope on top of them, pressing A when prompted to do so. The physics engine looks great. (Those chains everyone has talked about are a compelling example). I actually couldn't figure out the lockpick method - though it seems Splinter Cell-like, 'turn stick in certain directions to unlock tumbler' - and so I just used the 'auto unlock' option to open chests. It still requires lockpicks. The combat animations for the longsword, axe and shortswords I used were very similar to Morrowind's, but that might change with further levels. It certainly *doesn't* feel a million miles away from what we were doing in Balmora or the Ashlands, but it is much more satisfying nonetheless.
I rushed my way through the first dungeon, using previous Elder Scrolls experience to sound the way out. I was desperate to walk around those exterior environments. (On a side note, Patrick Stewart does a sterling job as the Emperor; a dreamy, father-like interpretation.)

So I got out of the dungeon and into the wilderness outside of what I think was the Imperial City. (Sorry, can't remember now). The game looked very beautiful, and the music kicked in and seems to be done in much the same way Morrowind's was: that's to say, it was orchestral, sounded like the same composer and was was only ever complimentary, not intrusive. Once I entered the city, the music changed to a mandolin-like plucking, which was very welcome. Here's hoping that variety in present throughout the entire game.

Back to the wilderness for a moment. The first vista I saw, overlooking the sea from a small, cliff-like embankment, was breath-taking. The sea shimmered wonderfully in the sun and the grass and shrubs were a vibrant green. Unfortunately, it was also here that I encountered the most disappointing feature of hands-on time - the draw distance. You know that screenie with the knight looking out over a forest on horseback, and the forest goes on for ages in front of him? Well, what I saw was nothing like that. There was a completely blank fog of war about (rough guess here) 200-300 metres ahead of view. The walls of the city literally popped into view as I approached it, at least as bad as Morrowind did from my recollection. HOWEVER, I must stress that this is just a build version (I assume) and this may be fixed by release, or may even be an exception within the game. It did disappoint me, though.

From a design point of view, the city was also a little disappointing. It reminded a bit of Mournhold, with a kind of hub spreading out into other areas, which included (some *very* gorgeous) Elven gardens and a marketplace. Some of the areas looked amazing - including one with what I assume were statues of the Nine, though I might be getting my lore all wrong there!  - while other aspects looked little better than an Xbox game to my eyes. The NPCs, in particular, looked ever-so-slightly clumsy, but don't construe that as overly-negative: they are still a million miles better than Morrowind's.

I didn't have enough time to follow an NPC around and check out the Radiant AI. However, I heard plenty of chatter from them, including a woman explaining to a friend where to get 'the best deals' for something, and others talking about various event and news. This really worked well and added loads of atmosphere (let's be honest though, anything is better than 'GREETINGS OUTLANDER!!!'  ). My only concern on that level is that repetition would drive you crazy, but I trust Bethesda to get that right.
Conversation trees, meanwhile, used bigger and more pleasant fonts, while the face of the NPC you're talking to is zoomed in upon, up close. Their countenance does change depending on your choices and it's fun to watch!

The compass is completely inobtrusive, thank god, and merely shows the faint image of houses, etc, above the compass directions to indicate where things lie. I didn't even notice it until the end of my play-test.

In summary, Oblivion feels very, VERY similar to Morrowind in almost every *basic* sense. You'll feel right at home if you played ESIII on Xbox. It's unlikely to blow you away based on graphics alone and the engine in motion didn't live up to the screenshots, especially animation (IMO, but bear in mind I had spent the day watching stuff like Gears of War, tough competition!) but the sense of atmosphere has clearly increased tenfold - birds tweeting in the wilderness, scripted events with speech during the Emperor's ill-fated escape attempt, the physics, etc.

Personally, I'm delighted for the most part. I now know that Oblivion *feels* very much like an upgraded Morrowind but clearly has much more to offer.

Half an hour down, two hundred to go. ;-)


One of the devs had this to say about the fog being there:

Quote
Yeah, the LOD landscape stuff on Xbox wasn't quite ready for X05. It's working now though. I think you're right though -- I think you were the only person who actually got out of the chargen dungeon in the time allowed


That was why they had the draw distance way down...
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2005, 09:28:33 PM »

I think Hetz deserves his own thread.  Just make one and put all of this Oblivion stuff into the same thread.  No offense, but I am sick of seeing every little detail of Oblivion posted in here.    Please keep it to one topic.
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Hetz
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2005, 09:47:18 PM »

Quote from: "GatorFavre"
I think Hetz deserves his own thread.  Just make one and put all of this Oblivion stuff into the same thread.  No offence, but I am sick of seeing every little detail of Oblivion posted in here.    Please keep it to one topic.


Hmmm.....4 topics out of 50 on the front page are about Oblivoin.

That is too much for you?  No offense, but ever exagerate much?

Sheesh....don't want to read 'em don't click on 'em.
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2005, 09:51:33 PM »

LOL! Hetz is certainly enthusiastic. Wasn't it Morrowind talk on Gone Gold that caused the Road to Gold forum to be created in the first place?

I'm intrigued by Oblivion, but I'm always intrigued by the Elder Scrolls Games, and they always end up disappointing me. Unless I get a lucky Mt. Dew, I won't own anything that will play this one anyway.

Hey Hetz, are they going to change the way NPC conversation works in this game? One of my main gripes the TES games is the stupid hyperlink chat system with every character in a town basically having the same 30 keywords/responses with like 2-3 unique ones.
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2005, 09:58:55 PM »

Quote from: "Hetz"
Quote from: "GatorFavre"
I think Hetz deserves his own thread.  Just make one and put all of this Oblivion stuff into the same thread.  No offence, but I am sick of seeing every little detail of Oblivion posted in here.    Please keep it to one topic.


Hmmm.....4 topics out of 50 on the front page are about Oblivoin.

That is too much for you?  No offense, but ever exagerate much?

Sheesh....don't want to read 'em don't click on 'em.

Well to be fair you did start two threads in one day (today) about the game.
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Hetz
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2005, 11:26:24 PM »

Quote from: "warning"
Quote from: "Hetz"
Quote from: "GatorFavre"
I think Hetz deserves his own thread.  Just make one and put all of this Oblivion stuff into the same thread.  No offence, but I am sick of seeing every little detail of Oblivion posted in here.    Please keep it to one topic.


Hmmm.....4 topics out of 50 on the front page are about Oblivoin.

That is too much for you?  No offense, but ever exagerate much?

Sheesh....don't want to read 'em don't click on 'em.

Well to be fair you did start two threads in one day (today) about the game.


 :shock:

Two in one day!?!? OMG I had no idea!

 I can clearly see how that is flooding the boards with spam now. Thank you for showing me the error of my ways...  :oops:

 :wink:
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« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2005, 11:45:10 PM »

If anything I think Oblivion is being under threaded on these boards.  I me we really should be giving the official Elder Scrolls boards a run for their money for the number of Oblivion threads.

We should start a thread to discuss why GatorFavre hates Oblivion and baby Jesus.
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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2005, 12:11:52 AM »

Quote from: "CeeKay"
If anything I think Oblivion is being under threaded on these boards.  I me we really should be giving the official Elder Scrolls boards a run for their money for the number of Oblivion threads.

We should start a thread to discuss why GatorFavre hates Oblivion and baby Jesus.


Huh?  I never said I hated Oblivion!!!  Jesus, well, thats a different story.  We should just have an Elder Scrolls thread for all of the updates.  I realize I should have said we need an Elder Scrolls thread and not a Hetz thread, so Hetz, I apologize for that.
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2005, 01:22:36 AM »

Quote from: "GatorFavre"
Quote from: "CeeKay"
If anything I think Oblivion is being under threaded on these boards.  I me we really should be giving the official Elder Scrolls boards a run for their money for the number of Oblivion threads.

We should start a thread to discuss why GatorFavre hates Oblivion and baby Jesus.


Huh?  I never said I hated Oblivion!!!  Jesus, well, thats a different story.  We should just have an Elder Scrolls thread for all of the updates.  I realize I should have said we need an Elder Scrolls thread and not a Hetz thread, so Hetz, I apologize for that.


So you just hate baby Jesus then.  Gotcha!

 Tongue

Just ragging on ya  Cool
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« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2005, 01:54:40 AM »

Sounds good. I dont want it to play too much like Morrowind though....a little variety wouldn't hurt.
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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2005, 02:23:06 PM »

Quote
I dont want it to play too much like Morrowind though....a little variety wouldn't hurt.

How else do you want it to play though, seriously?  All the Elder Scrolls games play similarly I think.  It is the same with the Final Fantasy and other Japanese RPGs.

Thanks for the impressions Hetz.  I enjoy all the information and enthusiasm, as opposed to some of the negativity that goes on.  Who cares if there are five threads on Oblivion?
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« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2005, 02:58:25 PM »

Quote from: "Scott"
Who cares if there are five threads on Oblivion?

Truthfully I think it's kinda fun to see the level of excitement about things.  It was fun with Starshifter and his Emergency on DVD stuff and it's fun with Hetz and Oblivion.

When Hetz starts a thread on what the Oblivion Lead Texture Artist had for breakfast and what this might mean about the finished game then we may need to adjust his meds a little.
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« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2005, 03:08:03 PM »

Yeah...but with Hetz it can turn on a dime.

Remember when Morrowind came out? He was nutso about it for weeks if not months prior to its release...and then when it arrived he was all 'it's not that great'...

We all died a little bit that day...
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« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2005, 03:08:58 PM »

Quote from: "warning"
Quote from: "Scott"
Who cares if there are five threads on Oblivion?

Truthfully I think it's kinda fun to see the level of excitement about things.  It was fun with Starshifter and his Emergency on DVD stuff and it's fun with Hetz and Oblivion.

When Hetz starts a thread on what the Oblivion Lead Texture Artist had for breakfast and what this might mean about the finished game then we may need to adjust his meds a little.

 :lol:

My meds were adjusted and I'm slightly better now.:wink:  At least until my panic/worrying starts to set in wondering if Season 2 of Emergency is going to be released on DVD.  I'm starting to simmer...

I agree.  I love reading these threads.  I even went back and read through my original Emergency thread and couldn't believe how flipped out I got.

Hetz - good post.  It was interesting to see a somewhat down-to-earth impression of the game.  It keeps things in perspective.  All these drop dead gorgeous screenshots and glowing previews are probably making many think this is the game to end all games.  I'll be picking up my copy along with DOAIV and Kameo on launch day! biggrin
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« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2005, 03:21:29 PM »

I'm going to get to play it on Tuesday of next week.  (You can all hate me now) I'll have impressions up as soon as the embargo lifts.  smile
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« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2005, 03:29:36 PM »

That slightly tempered my anticipation, which I'm glad for.  I was getting to the point where I might be expecting too much (but part of that is just the excitement for the new toy of a 360)
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« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2005, 05:34:57 PM »

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
I'm going to get to play it on Tuesday of next week.  (You can all hate me now) I'll have impressions up as soon as the embargo lifts.  smile

Okay. I hate you. biggrin
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« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2005, 05:36:57 PM »

To be fair to Hetz, it is one of the few exciting games on the horizon. While I have doubts about it, it has the potential to be the most exciting RPG since U7. But a lot of the hype does remind me of Fable.
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« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2005, 05:57:07 PM »

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
I'm going to get to play it on Tuesday of next week.  (You can all hate me now) I'll have impressions up as soon as the embargo lifts.  smile


When does the embargo lift????
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« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2005, 05:57:49 PM »

Its usually a few days at the most.  I'll know when I get there.
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« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2005, 06:07:54 PM »

BTW, I hate you too!   Tongue

 :wink:
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« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2005, 06:13:43 PM »

Hey, you won an XBox 360, you're not doing too bad.
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« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2005, 06:24:16 PM »

No doubt!
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« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2005, 05:06:17 PM »

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
I'm going to get to play it on Tuesday of next week.  (You can all hate me now) I'll have impressions up as soon as the embargo lifts.  smile


Ok....so make with the impressions already!   Tongue

I've heard a few things already from people that were at the media event, but we want some details, Ron!

Any word of a release date??   biggrin
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« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2005, 05:28:07 PM »

Quote from: "GatorFavre"
I think Hetz deserves his own thread.  Just make one and put all of this Oblivion stuff into the same thread.  No offense, but I am sick of seeing every little detail of Oblivion posted in here.    Please keep it to one topic.


Man, this is nothing - compared to Morrowind, Hetz is showing admirable restraint smile.  I don't remember if you were around on GG when it was nearing release, but it seemed like over half the threads were Morrowind-related.
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« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2005, 06:01:50 PM »

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
I'm going to get to play it on Tuesday of next week.  (You can all hate me now) I'll have impressions up as soon as the embargo lifts.  smile


/raises hand

What do we do if we hated you before?

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« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2005, 09:29:13 PM »

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
Its usually a few days at the most.  I'll know when I get there.


Hey where are you playing it KD? If you are coming to Maryland and you DON'T tell me I will kick you in the computer nuts!
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« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2005, 11:45:46 PM »

Quote from: "Calvin"
Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
Its usually a few days at the most.  I'll know when I get there.


Hey where are you playing it KD? If you are coming to Maryland and you DON'T tell me I will kick you in the computer nuts!


I *think* he was playing it at the Xbox 360 media event in New York.



http://www.majornelson.com/

Quote
Great media day Tuesday here in New York. A lot of members of the press were coming though and getting some serious Xbox 360 time. We had many sessions today, but here is the basic breakdown of how the day went: We started journalists out with an hour of introduction. It was a sort of “Xbox 360 Boot Camp.” Each journalist got set up with their own Xbox 360 work area for the first hour where Scott Henson (the Director of our Advanced Technology Group) walked the ‘class’ through Xbox 360 basics. They played Kameo, spent time learning their way around the Xbox 360 Dashboard (as well as how to customize it) and how to set up a custom game sound track. They played some PGR3 and then we let them loose on the games! They left the ‘classroom’ and wandered into the ‘play room’ (as I call it) where they got to play the following games for as long as they wanted to:

Call of Duty 2
Condemned: Criminal Origins
DOA4
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Kameo: Elements of Power
NBA 2K6
NBA LIVE 06
Need for Speed Most Wanted
Perfect Dark Zero
Peter Jackson’s King Kong
Project Gotham Racing 3
Xbox Live Arcade
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« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2005, 04:11:32 AM »

Here are some great impressions of Oblivion from the media day in New  York!


Quote
ELDER SCROLLS 4: OBLIVION

I also post at the Elder Scrolls forums, and those guys had a thousand questions for me, so I’d like to report that I got through about 1% of everything they requested, but this preview will probably be more thorough than the others. Let me start by saying this is the first game I tried to play after the initiation with the console. However, they only had two stations set up with this game, and I was too slow. But I eventually came back to it, and I got to spend about two hours with this game. I’m an Elder Scrolls virgin. This is my first ES game, but luckily there was a dev there (like a retard, I’ve forgotten his name), but he was really helpful and guided me along and answered many of my questions. Be warned, you’re about to read a few things that might upset you, but know that this is going to be THE best RPG to own for the 360. You can tell it’s shaping up nicely.

I asked the dev what version of the game this was. According to him, this was the same build from X05. In this version, the self-shadowing and such was turned off. However, he assured me that it was currently being worked on. Also, he’s 99% sure that Oblivion would be a Day One launch title, but of course, there’s still that 1%, and you never know. Graphically, as most of you have seen, the game looks very nice.

*Deep breath* Okay, here it comes. There are no spears in this game. There. Happy now? Does that mean you won’t buy it now? If that’s the case, you’re retarded. Here’s why. Firstly, you should have gotten your pals to use and like spears more to begin with. The dev said that from internal polls, they discovered that spears were one of the least utilized and liked weapons. Secondly, and more importantly, this game was a blast to play, and from the short time I was with it, I could tell that it’s going to be a deep, fulfilling experience. So if the lack of spears is going to prevent you from getting this, you probably weren’t seriously going to buy it anyway.

It all starts with the character creation. As most of you know, there are ten playable races (you can choose both male or female of any one). And before you ask, there’s no nudity. Both genders have little brown loin cloths, and the females have cloth covering the breasts as well. I didn’t play Morrowind, but I heard people thought the bodies were ugly. The Oblivion bodies looked fine to me. The characters weren’t perhaps the most detailed ever, but that’s understandable considering there’s so much going on in the game. It’s not like a sports game where there are only a couple characters, so they can be extremely detailed. Honestly, out of my approximate two hours with this game, at least an hour of it was just playing around with the character creation.

I already dropped the no-spears bomb on you, so before I get to all the good things, here’s another thing some might see as a negative. There are no modeled beards or facial hair in the game. Before you riot, yes, there is facial hair, but it comes in the form of facial hair shaders. In other words, your beard will appear as a darker spot on your face, that gives the appearance of hair. I was talking with my brother afterwards (he works for another game company), because I didn’t ask the dev specifically, and he imagines that fully modeling the beards most likely caused problems with their lip synching and mouth animations, so they probably chose to have the game serve a practical purpose instead of a cosmetic one. In my tests with this, the effect was sufficient on some of the fairer skinned folk, like an imperial. It created a light beard or 5 o’ clock shadow look. However, on the races where the skin was already colored or dark, like the orcs, the effect was less noticeable.

Enough negatives. One cool thing was the age slider. While the age slider doesn’t affect the gameplay mechanic (as in an older player won’t be able to swing a weapon as effectively as a younger one), it is a cool cosmetic effect. The two extremes are as follows: you can create someone that looks about as old as the Emperor, or as young as someone that I’d say was about 17-18 years old. It was hard to judge. Also, I played with age with the Argonian (snake-like, lizard man). At the oldest setting, the Argonian was almost completely red. However, as he got younger, there were more green highlights in the face. Contrary to popular rumor, age is the only factor that plays into Argonian color. In other words, your mood won’t change your skin color. Complexion can be adjusted just as much. With the imperial, I was able to adjust the skin color to where he was ghostly white. The other extreme left him indistinguishable from a Redguard. So if you liked the look of the Redguard, but liked the race perks of the Imperial, it’s cool to know it’s possible to come up with a happy medium.

While most of the character creation is sliders, you have to be careful. There are so many sliders (I’m not sure, but I’d guess at least 100, perhaps more) that messing up one can lead to drastic effects on the face that are really hard to fix without starting over, so be careful. Also, one part that isn’t controlled by sliders is the hair. There are about 10 or so set hairstyles to choose from (honestly, I didn’t check all the female hairstyles, but I’m sure they had their own set to choose from as well). Perhaps there are more as the game goes along, but I doubt this, although I can’t deny it. However, since you can’t change any other parts of your appearance throughout the game, I think that stands a good chance of being true. In the end, if you suck at all this slider stuff, once you choose one of the ten races, you can select “random” over and over, and within that race, it will keep changing it up until you see something you like. Quickly, while mentioning adjusting sliders, I’ll say that it seemed you could adjust the length of the Argonian snout by about 3-4 inches. The dev told me that they had to keep it at a certain length so the lip synch would still work. While playing with it I gave my Argonian a pretty prominent overbite, and it looked like someone whacked him in the nose with a shovel. Like I said, you really have to be patient with this game.

And that’s one reason why my preview of this game isn’t better. This is a game that takes your total concentration, and full attention. However, this is challenged when there’s music blaring, there’s people all around, and you can’t really pick up clues involved with sounds or vocal hints. The gameplay was good. It wasn’t boring. I was trying to check out a lot of the technical details. The Havok physics stuff seems like it plays a pretty big role in the game. I moved the chains and bones around, and shot the bucket with arrows, and like I’m sure everyone’s seen, when you remove the arrows, the bucket reacts to the change in physics. There’s also some cool physics related boobie traps and such. The dev said that while not every dungeon has a trap, the majority do. I was creeping around one dungeon, and I had the opportunity ( I missed it) to shoot a trip wire with an arrow, thereby setting off the trap, and killing the goblin so I didn’t have to deal with him.

Also, shooting arrows is heavily affected by gravity (physics). I remember shooting at a goblin, and my shot pretty much missed the mark. A better marksmen may have gotten a hit. However, all you marksmen (like me) can rejoice. The dev told me that in the build that they are working on, testing revealed that shooting arrows needed to be improved and balanced a little more, so they are currently making the marksmen skill a little more powerful and useful.

I played with the stealth mechanic a bit. Technically, there are no “instant stealth kills” in the game, a la Splinter Cell. However, (and I hope I explain this right), by using the stealth, you may raise your skill level high enough to where striking while in stealth would give you a bonus, so perhaps eventually you could get something like a stealth kill, if that makes sense. In stealth mode, and eye appears on the cross hairs. If it’s full, the enemy can see you. And moving slower helps you to be more stealthy. Also, lighter armor is better than heavier armor (or boots, specifically) for stealth. In one instance, I snuck up on a goblin, and was able to stand behind him and watch his idle animations for about 2-3 minutes (I was talking to the dev in this time) before he then suddenly turned and attacked me. And please put away your torch if you’re trying to be stealthy.

Ah, that reminds me. The game has pleasantly be streamlined a bit, and it more user friendly. So instead of having to go back and forth from equip/unequip screens constantly (although there is quite a bit of that. It is an RPG, after all), if you had your torch equipped, and you equipped you sword as your weapon, as long as you didn’t equip your shield, even when you armed your weapon, he would hold out the torch. Equipping the shield would, of course, remove the torch. Pressing and holding Y at the equip screen allows you to map things to directions on the D-pad, and that certainly comes in handy. And please, remember, if you equip your bow, it’s not much good if you forget to equip your arrows.

Birth signs are here again, and they offer specific bonuses, and for the life of me, I can’t really remember them. I think one was like, 60% more athletic for a certain time, or the ability to get better deals from people on a certain day or something. I remember thinking that they were a little more specific than I expected. I was thinking they’d be a little more general. However, it may have been like this on the last game as well.

Random thoughts: - Punching the Emperor seemed to upset the guards. However, I couldn’t really tell the extent of their anger, because a scripted fight broke out in which one was killed (and you get your first weapons). - The rats that were bounding up the slope in the video were doing it for a reason. They weren’t just running around like crazy like that for nothing. And it wasn’t “dumb AI,” as some have claimed. There was a zombie around the corner that just ate one of their friends, and they were fleeing. They didn’t even stop to attack me, and I just stood there to see if they would. Although upon playing through again, I was attacking the zombie, and one of the rats was confused who to attack; the zombie or I. - The word tree (or whatever you call that thing you choose your dialog from) had more than just one phrase every time, like in the video. However, it had only one or two choices a few times.

Combat: Seems fun to me. I guess it’s a personal preference, but I thought it was more than just a hack and slash or button mashing affair. In fact, I often waited for the enemy to attack so I could block the attack first (there’s a slight recoil there, so if gives you a little time to attack). I actually like blocking with the weapon instead of the shield, because the shield sort of blocked my view a bit. However, the shield blocking was more effective. Those damn giant rats were annoying though, because it was hard to gauge their attacks. Pushing a direction + the attack seems to do a different attack move, at least with the power attack move.

Now, as you can see I wrote a lot, but I honestly never got out of the first dungeon. I died the first time, and maybe even the second. I finally got the hang of it, and got towards the end, and was fighting an orc mage or something, and a stupid rat/goblin combo got me from the back. Then, I made it to the same point again, and I was better prepared, and the damn game froze (don’t be alarmed, this happened a few times on every game present except for Call of Duty 2. Remember, these games still have some bugs). However, I didn’t really get to see any of the Speedtree in action (what I was really looking forward to). However, I asked the dev for something specific about the Radiant AI that I could bring back for you all. Here’s the story.

It was written in the code that every day at 3 pm, Man 1 would rake leaves and Man 2 would sweep. This all seemed fine and dandy until the devs gave Man 1 the broom and Man 2 the rake. Man 1 ended up killing Man 2 so he could get his rake so he could do what he wanted. That’s pretty cool if you ask me.

If it seems like I avoided talking about magic, that’s partly right. I suck at using it, so I don’t really remember much about it. I wasn’t very good, so I did the things that I was more accustomed to doing. However, in the first dungeon, I did have a fire ball spell that I used on the orc mage (to little effect). And I have a healing spell too, that came in handy a bit. Like the weapons, spells can be mapped to the D-pad for easy access. And a side note for those that are so sure there won’t be a levitation/telekinesis spell in the game. Well, if it’s not in the game, the dev sure was singing its praises when it came to the Havok engine.

Anything I didn’t like? The frame rate still seemed to be an issue, but I’m confident that they’ll have that taken care of. Besides, I doubt Microsoft would allow them to release it otherwise. Also, there were a couple of transition animations that seemed missing, and the characters stuttered a bit, but that’s a minor thing.

I’m sure there are lots of other things people want to know, and there are things that I’m leaving off, so if I didn’t answer your question, feel free to ask. Just know that this is one of my “must have” Xbox 360 titles. It seems like it has the re-playability (all the different races/ joinable factions/ side quests) seem to make this a long game that you can enjoy for a long time. And for all those crying that this is no longer an RPG, rest assured, it’s very much a role-playing game that is heavily stat based. It just has an awesome action component now as well.



...and they wonder why people are so damn confused about when the hell this game is going to be out.

They say things like "99% sure for launch day!" and "we are going to be a day 1 release"....while at the same time all the stores push back the game to Dec 5th....well what the heck is going on with this game??? The stores must be getting their info from somewhere.
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XBox Live: Hetz OO
PSN: Hetz76
Steam: hetz_gg
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