Packaging, Installation, Settings and Performance
Oblivion comes either in a regular edition or the Collectors Edition. The price for the regular is around $39.99 and the Collectors Edition goes for $44.99 (Amazon.com prices for the PC version as of June 2006). The regular version comes with a game disc (DVD for both versions), a 48 page manual and a map over the world. The Collectors Edition, which I bought, comes in a packing which resembles The Lord Of The Rings Special Extended DVD Edition-packing, a four panel digi-pack. The right panel holds the manual, map, a registration card and inserts. The next panel holds the disc and the panel after that holds the bonus DVD and the final panel holds the Pocket Guide to the Empire. Also a replica of the coins in the world, Septims, comes with the Collectors Edition and it feels like a real coin. The bonus DVD includes a behind-the scenes documentary, as well as concept arts, renders and screenshots which can be played on the computer as well as on a DVD-player hooked up to a TV. The Pocket Guide holds 112 pages of history and information about the world, rulers, wars, famous people and so on, quite interesting to read.
The installation was slow; after finishing the installation the Install Shield window was still open and didn’t close automatically so I had to CTRL-ALT-DEL and shut down the window myself. Then I noticed that my processor was operating at 100% (why I don’t know) so I restarted the computer. When you first click on the Oblivion icon a window will come up and tell you that the game will be optimized to match your computer. The launcher window contains several menus such as Play, Data Files (here you select what potential plug-ins you want to use, plug-ins adds new content to the game) and Options.
The Main Menu has a moving map of the world in the background and the menu itself is nothing really new, we got options, save/load, exit and so forth. For graphics options we got a lot of settings to fiddle around with. The game requires a lot of your computer, but it’s scalable and with additional tweaking of the oblivion.ini-file you can alter the graphics and settings further to make it flow better as well as enabling unsupported options to make it look better (with frame rate drop of course). I usually have between 25 and up to 30 and 40 frame rates per second in the outside world and above 40 in houses, castles and dungeons. Inside Oblivion (this universe version of hell) it goes up and down. I run the game at 1280×1024 with HDR and Pixelshader 3.0 (the last is enabled through the oblivion.ini-file) and all graphical options at its highest.
The game is riddled with bugs; most of the time it plays perfectly without crashes, blue screens and restarts, but when I enter Oblivion, and I’m around Oblivion gates (and occasionally in dungeons) I’m in for some fun. I’ve tried several sets of drivers and the most stable for me is NVIDIA’s 91.28 drivers. Enabling the fan for the graphics card reduces blue screens and restarts so it’s much more playable now with fewer problems.