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Robert C: So far in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, I've murdered a man by fixing a stuffed Minotaur head in his skull; woke up to find the ship I was sleeping on had been hijacked; stalked innocent people for a paranoiac who ultimately tried to kill me; cured an entire village of mass invisibility; broke up a gang of female thieves; served time for grand larceny; and persuaded a group of partygoers to murder each other. Oh, and I became a vampire. I did all of this in 40-plus hours of playing the game--and not a second of it has to do with the game's "official" plot. I'll get around to that eventually...maybe after another 40 hours.
Oblivion is such a huge game that it can make your brain ache; thankfully, it's very user-friendly, with a nicely organized quest journal (a big plus, since having a dozen current quests isn't unusual) and an enormously helpful map that points you in the right direction and sports great new fast-travel options.
This is a seriously questcentric game, yet you won't find a more open game world anywhere (sorry, GTA). Oblivion consistently rewards exploration, whether you're traversing the sprawling continent, mixing up new potions or creating your own custom spells, trying different solutions to quests, or experimenting with different play styles. Frankly, I'm amazed developer Bethesda got all this content--and such sweet graphics--packed onto that …