[IMGW]http://media.1up.com/media?id=3230894[/IMGW] By Joe Rybicki 03/20/2007 VIDEO: Head over to our videos page to check out all Oblivion footage! Allow me to begin by addressing the question on everyone's mind: Is the PS3 version of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion worth buying if you already own the 360 or PC version?
The answer is a pretty definite "no." With the Knights of the Nine expansion (included in this version) already available for both of the other platforms, there just isn't enough new or improved here to justify dropping another $60. And with the question of downloadable content on PS3 still unanswered, this version is, at least in some small ways, inferior.
But if you don't own a 360 or a high-end gaming PC, I have this piece of advice for you: Run -- do not walk, run -- to your local game retailer and buy this game.
[Click the image above to check out all Oblivion screens.]
Oblivion on 360 is, to be honest, one of my favorite games of all time. I do not say that lightly. The enormous, free-roaming world and almost ridiculously nonlinear story hearken back to the glory days of the RPG, when "role-playing" meant you got to choose the role you played instead of just tapping your way through the tightly controlled, linear melodrama that plagues so many console RPGs.
In its scope (and to a lesser extent, its presentation), Oblivion resembles an MMORPG, staggering in its size and length. It's not entirely open-ended, but it's close enough that it makes little difference; playing through just the main story and primary faction quest lines can easily take more than 100 hours...and that's not counting the huge number of miniquests and one-off missions. With its almost infinite character variety and well-paced character progression, it's an exceptionally satisfying experience.
And this experience is translated almost pixel-for-pixel to the PS3. Oh sure, there are differences, but they're on an extremely minor scale. Textures far off in the distance look a bit cleaner on PS3. Colors look a little less saturated. Load times are a bit shorter, especially when moving back and forth between adjacent areas. The changes aren't all improvements; I also noticed some polygon seaming in dungeons where none exists on 360, and a couple new audio bugs I'd not seen in my 200 hours or so on the 360 version.
[Click the image above to check out all Oblivion screens.
But like I said: These are minor differences. Less minor is the fact that the scenario for downloadable content is still unresolved; in a recent interview Bethesda revealed that the designers are still figuring out how to make that whole download thing work on PS3. And while they expect to implement downloadable content eventually, that doesn't change the fact that, right now, there's no way to access the extra content, including the huge Shivering Isles expansion.
This is a problem, because even after spending a hundred or so hours with the game, you will want more. The Knights of the Nine "minifaction" is a nice bonus, what with its puzzle-oriented missions and sweet, upgradeable loot. But it doesn't add more than eight to 10 hours of content -- a blink of an eye when compared to the game as a whole.
Ultimately, the PS3 version of Oblivion sits in an odd position: It's better than its predecessors in some negligible ways, and worse in others. It currently lacks the ability to add expansions via download...but it's a feature that's expected to arrive (via a patch, presumably) in the not-too-distant future. Where it counts, it's almost identical to the 360 version...but it includes an expansion 360 owners must pay an extra $10 for.
Ignore the existence of any other version of Oblivion and this is an easy 10. The fundamental game is just so epic, the world so vast, the options so varied, that you'll find more quality gameplay shoehorned into this disc than just about any other game I can think of.
But the version sitting on store shelves right now is inferior to its brethren on other platforms. So I can really only recommend it if you don't own a 360 or a PC capable of running the game well.
In other words, it's one of the best games ever -- but don't buy it unless you have no other choice.
At least, for now... I need an aspirin.
Thanks to 1UP.com for sharing the news with us!