There are many more actions you can take than simply walking around and fighting. You can walk and run obviously, but you can also swim or enter a stealthy "sneak" mode to creep past or creep up on unsuspecting enemies. Bonus points are gained from surprise attacks.
Once you've found a lock pick you can try to pick your way through locked doors and into chests to find secret areas, escape or find hidden items. Your skill at any task that you complete, from sneaking, through fighting and even lock picking, will increase the more you do it, allowing you to complete the task quicker or with more skill or strength as the game progresses.
There are also many characters that you will meet, interact with and obtain items or information from throughout your quest. These characters (known as NPCs or non-player characters) make use of the new Radient AI to make their own choices throughout the game, choices such as where to go, what to do and who to talk to. This means that every game you play will be unique in many ways. They also feature full speech with excellent lip-syncing for an unprecedented level of realness.
This release of the game is single player only, so there's no putting your characters to the test against other players online. However there are plenty of bolt-on updates that can be purchased for just a couple of dollars that bring new skills, tools or quests to your game.
Considering the amount of things you can do in the game, the controls are surprisingly easy to master. Another nice touch is the ability to assign "hotkeys" that match certain items in your itinerary and act as shortcuts so that you can arm yourself with a particular weapon or spell at the push of a button.
A large number of sub-quests are derived from the guilds, of which there are five that can be joined. You can use your guild membership to strengthen your character and to obtain useful items, information and allies. Joining one of the guilds is almost like a game in itself, which massively contributes to the extended longevity of the game.
It can be a little misleading to go on about how great the graphics are because obviously this depends a lot on the hardware you have in your machine. I tested the game on a fairly new Nvidia 6600 and it runs very well on this card. The action is smooth and the textures are rich and satisfying. One thing I found a little strange though was that, even though the game play graphics-wise was of a high quality, the loading screens weren't and came across as a little grainy.
Overall, I am very impressed with the game and I'm sure I'll be playing it for a long time to come. One thing that often disappoints me about today's games is their length; just when it feels like you're getting into a game, you suddenly find that you've completed it. Oblivion IV has a longevity that far exceeds anything I've come across for a long time, and because the main quest and sub-quests are so varied and interesting, it's not a game that you can get bored with quickly. The producers, Bethesda, have looked to the future and caught a piece of it with Oblivion.
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