XBox 360 Reviews
Xbox 360 Review: The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles
By Casey Lynch Mar 27, 2007, 15:57 GMT
Bethesda has declared war on your free time once again. Say goodbye to your life and hello to Shivering Isles.
100 hours spent in Tamriel wasn’t enough.
Bethesda knew it and has delivered the first true expansion to Elders Scrolls IV: Oblivion in The Shivering Isles, and it is a doozie.
Bethesda has done a great job already of supporting what was one of the best RPG’s of 2006 and undoubtedly the best RPG of the Xbox 360 hands down with plenty of new content like The Knights of the Nine, a slew of add-on quests and locales (vampirism cure anyone?) and now this.
The Shivering Isles serves up at least 30 hours of extra content, with a new main quest that’s nearly 18 hours in and of itself. You’ll be introduced to two very different realms – Mania, a lush, colorfilled place, and its polar opposite, Dementia, a place of constant darkness and woe.
One of the highlights of the game is a new character called Sheogorath, who has some truly classic dialogue, which sounds like Sean Connery a few short of a six-pack.
In addition to the main quest, true dungeon crawlers will really be most interested in the bevy of new monsters to fight and weapons to wield, for there a ton of both.
On to what works...
Having spent so much time last year playing Oblivion, it was really fun to jump back into the game again. Bethesda has done a superb job of tightening up the code and making the game you already loved better. The pace is brisk and there are a ton of really thoughtful elements added to the main quest and various side quests that really make us feel like Bethesda really paid careful attention to giving gamers exactly what we would want.
There are a ton of really fun tasks at hand – torture, escape collapsing caves, fight off creepies like Flesh Atronachs, skeletal Shambles and amphibious Grummites, unearth new armor and weapons, brawl over drugs, play Frankenstien while making Gate keepers and become an inquisitor, to name a few. Phew!
Shivering Isles is a separate island (you’ll find it through a portal in a lake near Bravil) and accordingly it has a totally different look then the rest of the land of Tamriel.
Both Mania and Dementia look like they sound and offer a wide variety of eye candy – great architecture in the city of Mania and fantastically Tim Burton-esque twisted trees and roots in Dementia (which are reflected in the serpentine dungeons below them.)
Another huge plus for Xbox 360 Achievement whores out there is Shivering Isles will serve you up with a fairly easy 250 points for your gamerscore, a luxury the Knights of the Nine should have offered but didn’t. If you care about things like your gamerscore, you will no doubt be playing the 360 version versus the PC version.
Head to head, the PC version had shorter load times and the graphics seemed a hair cleaner, but that may be becasue of our video card.
What it all means
Bethesda really got this expansion right.
Because of this, where we would normally point out what didn’t work about the game here, we’ll just conclude with this – since this an expansion of a game that already nearly did everything right, and Shivering Isles pretty much does everything fantastically, we feel like there’s not really much that doesn’t work.
If we had one gripe it would be that we want more, which makes us greedy considering there is probably a good 150 hours of content between everything that Bethesda has given to us under the banner of Oblivion.
Well done Bethesda, bravo!
+ Great new main quest with funny new character
+ Fresh new look
+ Tighter gameplay, new and better weapons and armor
5 out of 5 stars