I would like to just go on and say I personally love Bethesda and everything they do and even whatever smaller companies under them do. Most if not all the games they make including Elder Scrolls and Fallout I love. Even some new games that they are publishing, such as Brink, look pretty sweet and add some freshness to FPSs.
Now, as for Oblivion, I might not be able to give a big in depth, detailed, and spoiled review. I'm just going to give my personal thoughts, and give some feedback on my experience with the game.
Off the bat, I was completely used to the environment, controls, and quest system. I find that since Bethesda carries over their RPG/FPS type of engine, so to speak, in most games they produce. It makes for comfortable adjustments and familiarity with the games and doesn't take long to get going. I'm going to somewhat break it down a bit, give a rundown of the things I thought about and what went though my mind in certain situations.
Many of their quests have their variety of necessities such as saving someone or some people from a certain set of enemies, adventuring for items, defeating enemies, traveling to cities for your needs, gaining equipment, and so on. Most of the quests seem like the typical Bethesda game, but with the area you are in and the use of a sword and shield, adds that diversity a game needs, especially in the generation we currently live in. The quests range from simple tasks to huge adventures. Though the main story quests in most if not all their respective games are short, they make up for it with many side quests and missions that add extra difficulty to completing the game, but with rewards that can help in your main journey.
I will say that it seemed fairly linear at the start, but once you meet people and branch off, it gets extremely fun and addicting.
2. Combat and General Gameplay
I like the difference this game has from other games. Many FPS games rely a lot on guns and certain things of that sort, but getting accustomed to a sword and shield and practicing your melee while combining it with several magical powers makes the game fun and interesting. The closest thing to an actual gun is your projectile magic and your arrows and such, but even that isn't easy.
Often you find yourself needing a strategy against large groups, given you play on an average difficulty or above. Enemies range from goblins, to rats, to bears, and etc. Many enemies have the same skill set as you and even have better damaging attacks, protective armor, and better equipment. The game presents itself with many types of challenges and also allows you to explore the huge land. There is plenty to find and many new things to discover along with just enjoying yourself in the wilderness and honing your skills.
I won't say too much here because I rather not spoil it for the people who haven't had the chance to play the game or hasn't played it and just doesn't want to be spoiled. The story has moments where you can get into it, and then out of it, but once you start arriving to the conclusion, there is no stopping you. Unlike Fallout 3, in which I was extremely focused on the story and it presented it self well, Oblivion doesn't do too much to get you into it. To be fair, Fallout 3 came out after and had a larger area to be creative with it and give better presentation given it was new to consoles and was changed a lot from it's original origins. The next Elder Scrolls I'm positive will have fantastic presentation and get you into the game a lot more than Oblivion, but Oblivion is still a great game and worth the hours of play it entails like many of Bethesdas' games. I know I kiss their ass, but if I was to kiss any ass, it'd be this genius developer/publisher.
I'll be frank with you, this game can kill hours of your day for all the good reasons and can be the ultimate boredom solver in the given situations. The physics can be hilarious, the people you meet are all unique in ways and interesting, the items to find, the land to explore, all of this, expands into a game that can take months to fully complete, which is what I wish all games focused on. Sure, the graphics aren't great, the animations are funky, but the game is enjoyable and that's what should matter. Got time to kill, well this game will murder you. That is, of course, you don't rush the main story or use a wiki. Do that later.
To end this mini review of Oblivion, I'd just like to say, if you plan on getting Skyrim, I strongly suggest playing this one and get yourself comfortable and situated with the gameplay, mechanics, and overall presentation of quests, organization, and land. You will not be disappointed.
If I was to rate the game, I'd give it a worthy 8.7 or so, even though I don't rate games well with just an overall value. If I was to rate of individual things such as sound, It'd be lower given the games music and voice acting can get a little loopy and messed up at times, but with a game this huge and full of things to find, nothing will be perfect. Anyways, I hope this helps anyone in thinking about at least renting the game or trying it out somewhere and I hope this is also a good review to the people who played it. I'll be seeing you in Skyrim.