Like other games in the Elder Scrolls series, Oblivion is a pretty open game, at least it is once you get out of the initial dungeon you're in. You can follow the main uest, join a faction, or just wander around the landscape as you please. Naturally you're going to run into a few monsters, but by and large the game automatically adjusts the types of monsters you encounter to correspond to how much experience your character has, so you do at least have a fighting chance of survival. Oh, and there are no
cliff-racers. Thank god.
In The Beginning/Character Generation:
The first level of the game, set in the dungeon where you're imprisoned, is pretty easy to beat, essentially being a tutorial level. It is, unfortunately, unskippable. Mainly because this is where you choose your character's attributes and skills. You get to choose your character's race, star sign, class and so forth. You can also create a custom class if you like, though selecting a certain class doesn't mean you're stuck with using a certain set of skills. A warrior can still use magic, it's just going to be harder for him or her to learn and make progress in than a mage style character. If you're just getting into the game, Spellsword is a good character to start with since you get a decent balance of magic and bottom-kicking skills.
Each character has a number of primary skills, the actual skills you get depending up on the choices you make during the first level of the game. To level up you have to advance these skills individually, till the bar on your skill status screen is all red. To advance skills you have to use them. Block, for example, will go up a tiny bit whenever you manage to stop an opponent smacking you in the face. Destruction, on the other hand, will advance when you use a magic spell from that school. Once you've advanced your skills enough, the game will tell you you should rest and meditate. Just using the 'wait' option won't work, though. You have to actually find a bed, either in an inn or somewhere else, and sleep. Then you'll be given three points to spend on your character's attributes such as endurance, luck and so forth, all of which are fairly self explanatory.
You can get your hands on a whole variety of weapons and items. Some can be bought from shops, while others can be found on the bodies of your fallen foes. It's always worth seeing just what an opponent's carrying - the higher the level you are, the cooler the equipment they'll be carrying is. Don't bother grabbing everything a enemy has, since you have a limited carrying capacity (though if you want to haul loads of stuff you can buy a feather potion). It's usually worth taking half-decent weapons, since if your weapon becomes unusuable you can just dump your old one and use the one you picked up instead of repairing it. And lockpicks are both light and useful so always grab them. But only take really heavy stuff if it's worth a fair amount of money or if you're using it to replace one of your own items.
If you've got some half-decent combat skills then you'll want to get up close and personal with your foes. Honorable combat involves blocking your opponent's strikes, then hitting back with your weapon. Unhonourable combat involves running around the opponent circle strafing, killing them by taking nary a hit. Circle strafing, for those who don't know the term, means you keep your vision focused on the opponent, but move around them always facing them. The AI can't seem to cope with rapid movement like this and so you can hit them before they can turn around to face you. Easy peasy. Long ranged combat, on the other hand, is a bit more tricky. You can try hitting your opponents with a magic spell or arrow for as much damage as you can, but they'll pretty much wise up and start coming after you so backpedalling fast is the order of the day. Fire off all your spells, run around till your spell energy recharges, and then fire again. Unfortunately, running away isn't always an option, at least against human opponents, since they'll follow you through doors and into the outside world. You'll end up fighting against a variety of foes ranging from rats all the way up to extra-dimensional creatures. Some fire projectiles and should be dealt with up close. The higher level you are, the more powerful the creatures you face become. Which is mildly disappointing since you're unlikely to get the shock of finding yourself completely out of your depth. Be wary if you end up fighting anyone who uses their bare hands. While they may not do as much physical damage as someone with a sword, every hit will drain your fatigue bar - if it gets completely drained, you'll fall to the floor, giving them the chance to lay into you repeatedly.
Getting Around/Lay of the land:
You can wander around the whole of the game's lands on foot, though it'll take you a long time. Even on a horse - which can be purchased or acquired at various stables - it'll take you quite a few hours to cross the map. Instead, the game employs a fast travel system. Any location you've been to already can be visited immediately, as long as you're outdoors and not being attacked by an enemy. The catch is that you have to have been to the location and seen it with your own eyes. Just having it marked on your map isn't enough. So if you want to get to a particular dungeon, you can fast travel to a nearby location you've been to already and then walk or ride to the dungeon, at which point you can fast travel to it later if need be. The one exception to the fast travel rule is the game's cities. There are about five cities which can be visited at any time. There are also a number of smaller villages scattered around the land, but they aren't on the map so you'll have to discover them for yourself. Feel free to explore any of the dungeons you come across - don't worry about accidentally killing anyone important to a quest since the games designers have Quests and Factions While the characters in Oblivion are a little more interesting than those in Morrowind, a great proportion of the quests in Morrowind are pretty dull, entailing finding a particular character, going down to a dungeon to get an item for them, bringing it back to them and so forth, including the main storyline quests. Not that you need to follow the main storyline, of course, you can get quests by talking to various people, or you can join up with the Mages Guild, the Fighters Guild, the Thieves Guild or the Assasins Guild (known as the Dark Brotherhood). The first two organisations have offices in each town so you can just wander in and ask about joining. The latter two, on the other hand, are more secretive and you'll be only invited to join if you spend time in prison for stealing an item or murder someone, respectively. The Thieves Guild quests involve, unsurprisingly enough, stealing items from various locations via the gift of stealth - see below for more details, which is certainly more entertaining than wandering around dungeons. However, the Dark Brotherhood quests are even better than that - you get to assassinate a number of people, and there's even one superb task in which you're locked in a house with six other people who must all be dispatched, without anyone discovering that you're the murderer. Classic. None of the standard quests are likely to present you with any real difficulty. The only ones you might get a bit lost on are the Oblivion gate quests where you have to shut down a gate to another dimension. If you do, just try backtracking, remembering that the item you'll likely need to make your way back and forth between several towers, moving ever upwards as you go till you're at your goal. And if you can't find a quest item in a dungeon, make sure you're in the right dungeon - just because someone says a dungeon is north-west of a particular location, it doesn't mean that the first dungeon you come across is the right one. Always check the name of the dungeon against the name recorded in your quest log.
Sneaking and Stealing:
The stealth system in Oblivion isn't quite as complex as that found in Thief, but it works reasonably well. Put yourself in sneak mode - on the 360 you click down the left thumb stick - and you'll see an eye appear. Try to stay in the shadows and if the eye is dimmer than usual you probably won't be seen. You can also backstab enemies if you're sneaking, causing them more damage than if you faced them head on. Sneak mode is also used when you're looking to steal an item from a store, house or person. You'll know straight away if you've got away with stealing an item from a person or an open shop since they'll scream blue murder if they notice you. However, it's less obvious in shops and houses, at least if they're closed. If a shop or house is closed, use a lockpick to break in - you have to push the tumblers up till they stay still for just a second, then hit the 'A' button or the PC equivalent, then repeat for the other tumblers. The higher your lockpick skill, the longer the tumblers will stay up and the easier it'll be. Once you're inside a building you can steal to your heart's content. It's best to stay in sneak mode to maximize your chances of getting caught. The one catch, apart from getting nicked, that is, is that you can't steal the goods the shopkeeper offers to sell you. For some reason, the goods to be found on a shopkeeper's shelves don't correspond with those in his sales inventory, so some goods you'll just have to buy.
Stealing/Crime and Punishment:
If you steal, you may well get caught. Not least because even if you've been quiet as a mouse, there's still the chance that a guard will burst into a house you're robbing, even if you weren't seen entering. I'm not sure why this happens, but it's a cause for concern because if you're caught then you can either fight, go to jail, or pay a fine. Going to jail means you'll lose some points off your statistics. Fighting means every guard in that town will now try to kill you. And paying a fine means parting with some of your hard earned cash, though if you're with the Thieves Guild, you can pay half of the fine to them and they'll clear the bounty on your head.
The Children of the Night/Diseases:
You may at some point get infected with a disease of some kind, or have a spell cast on you which will lower your stats. These can be dealt with by praying at a temple. Of course, there's one infection you may not want to get rid of, which is vampirism. This disease, called 'poryphiric haemophilia' by the game will give your stats a boost when you first get it, and can be caught by fighting a vampire, or by speaking to the vampire in the Dark Brotherhood's sanctuary, and will result in you being turned after three days. If you're a vampire you don't need to feed to survive. In fact, the longer you go without feeding, the more powerful you become and the more cool vampire powers you get. The catch is, as you move further towards becoming an ubervamp, you gain a vulnerability to sunlight and will also be shunned by most characters. Your vamp strength maxes out on the fourth day that passes without you feeding. If you feed - which you can do by standing near a sleeping character and picking 'feed' - you lose most of your vampire bonuses, but you are now no longer shunned by the populace of the world.
Handy Hints - That's pretty much all for now, but here are a few last handy hints to help you on your way:
If you want to defeat the champion of the Imperial Arena with ease, do the quest he offers you and he'll let you kill him with no resistance. You can steal from shops without getting caught by going upstairs during opening hours, and waiting till the shopkeeper comes to see what you're up to. Then charge downstairs before he can follow and grab some items off the counter. You can do this as many times as you want.Remember, to level up, you need to sleep in a bed, just waiting around won't do. If you're a vampire and want to feed on someone without having to break into a house, find one of the sleeping beggars at night and then feed on them. They don't die, so you can repeat the pattern whenever you need another meal.
Hints and Tips
Call of Duty's pretty easy really, providing you use all the choices and people available to you, you should have little problem advancing along and getting those achievements from the top difficulty setting.
Make sure your squad is with you:
Your squad can tackle quite a few objectives a lot more effectively than you can on your own. Use them to setup covering fire whilst you move to outflank the enemy. Make use of the available cover to stay alive and your squad will come up and take on your opposition enabling you to advance/return fire from a safer position. At the very least they'll be a decent distraction and you can get on to the next checkpoint!
Make use of your grenades:
The game hands you a limited amount of grenades but is very eager to give you a refill, so make sure you walk over downed foes and replenish your grenades to take out the next lot with.
The later 'objective' houses in Call of Duty 2 seem to spawn a near infinite amount of German's until you're able to get into them. Once you're in the house make sure you get to cover quickly (I recommend backing into a corner so you don't get shot in the back) so you can take out the germans that will inevitably come at you, your cover should allow you to stay alive long enough for your squad mates to storm the bottom of the house, although it's usually left up to you to clear the top floor! It's best to flush out the top floor with the grenades you have to get those germans moving about so you can eliminate them without too much bother.
Through the levels there's sometimes more than one route see if you can make use of these to outflank your enemy.
Sometimes it's possible to charge forward to the next checkpoint without fully eliminating your foes, this can be a quick way to advance if you'd rather get the level over with than eliminate every enemy in the area.
Don't forget about your melee attack:
Sometimes the only thing between surviving and the long slog from the last checkpoint can be the all important melee attack. Get thumping!
To unlock weapons for use in the single player game you must first find them on the specific level and end the level with the weapon still in your possession. Here are a list of the guns and the levels you can find them on.
Falcon - Nightclub Stakeout
Magnum - Rooftops Escape
Magsec 4 - Mansion Infiltration
Phychosis Gun - Trinity Infiltration
M60 - Mansion Infiltration
Plasma Rifle - Temple Surveillance
Rocket Launcher - Bridge Assault
DW-P5 - Nightclub Stakeout
UGL Liberator - Nightclub Stakeout
CMP-150 - Sewer Retrieval
RCP-90 - Jungle Storm
KSI-74 - Lab Rescue
FAC-16 - Trinity Escape (off dead ally)
SuperDragon - Outpost Rescue
Laptop - Trinity Infiltration
Viblade - Mansion Infiltration (In the red trip laser room)
DEF-12 Shotgun - Nightclub Stakeout
Combat Sheild - Trinity Infiltration
Frag Grenade - Nightclub Stakeout
Multi Mine - Temple Surveillance
Hawk Boomerang - Trinity Infiltration.
Flashbangs - Lab Rescue, River Escape
Rocket Launcher - River Extraction
Single Player Mission 0
A basic tutorial level that will teach you the basic skills required for the level. Listen to Chandra's instructions and proceed through the level. If at any time you get a bit lost just stop and after a few moments an arrow way path will appear to point you in the right direction. If you can't follow the instructions to proceed through the level then maybe this game just isn't for you.
Single Player Mission 1
You need to use stealth for this mission, get spotted and you fail the first part of the mission. The aim is to identify the enforcers and use the audioscope to lock onto their location. From the start proceed forward, an enemy is sitting on the boxes with his back to you . Melee attack him and then run left. Head to the far end and you'll see a ladder. Climb this and you'll find yourself on a helicopter pad. There is a garden below you, in the middle of this stands one of the enforcers - you will need to get closer for the audioscope to lock onto its target.
Move down the stairs and head to the right, from the wall you should be able to lock on to the enforcer with the audioscope. If you are playing on the agent setting then this should complete the first mission task.
If you're quiet you should be able to sneak past everyone to the far end of the garden, you'll see some jeeps a head, move towards them and hug the wall to the left. A few guards sit on some boxes but if you're quiet you should be able to sneak past them. If not then you have to kill the enforcer and guards around you. Walk up the stairs and shoot the padlock on the door to open it. Follow the path round to the left and down the stairs. Kill the guards around and then find the key – usually up in the room on the other side of this area. You can also destroy the boat if instructed too. Then unlock the door and head into the alley. In the alley watch out for the guard who sometimes hides behind the large bin. Proceed down the stairs and open the door to the club. Shoot the guy with the broom and then kill the guards in the next room. You need to drop all your weapons to pass through the metal detector. When inside pick up a gun from the guards you killed and head up the stairs. Go to the very end of the hall and open the door. Kill any guards inside and then mele attack the fire alarm on the wall to set the alarm off and make people leave the club. You can head back and get your weapons or stick with the new ones you have. Everyone left inside the club should be armed and dangerous so kill anything that moves. You need to move up the stairs and through the club. The arrow way points will point the right way should you get a bit lost. Once you head through the double doors at the top a cut scene will kick in and the level finishes.
Single Player Mission 2
The mission starts inside a car park and straight away you willbe attacked by a gang of bikers. Kill them all – also look out for the explosive barrels, handy for killing enemy quickly and easily. When you kill them all look for the dropped keycard and use it to leave the car park. Head along the alley killing the enemy as you go. Also destroy the cameras. You can if you like use your data thief on the fork lift if you wish but this isn't necessary.
Head inside the warehouse and kill the enemy as you proceed through. Once in the street kill the enemy and then head to the left and towards the building at the end of the street. The briefcase is locked inside a safe. The key is hidden up stairs in a filling cabinet but you can also use your data thief to enter or destroy part of the wall with a demo kit.
Once you secure the case more enemy soldiers will attack. You then need to head into the subway beside this building and move through the station, you'll encounter both enemy soldiers and security guards. You can start a fight between the two if you are silent and manage to kill a gang member during their argument with the security guards. Continue through the level and down towards the trains, you need to kill the enemies on the trains, head inside the train and proceed through. Then head into the room at the end of the platform and kill the guards inside and then head up the stairs to the end of the level.
Multiplayer Mode Descriptions
Kill count: It's you against everyone else. Rules are simple – kill anything and everything. The player with the best score wins.
Team Kill count: Similar to kill count except you now have a team, so kill the enemy team and try work as a team to get the best score.
Territorial Gain: The aim is the kill the enemy but to also capture and protect specific areas of the map. Points are given for holding a specific area for a certain amount of time.
Capture the flag: The old favourite. The aim is simple, capture the enemies flag and return it to your base while at the same time protecting your flag from the enemy.
Infection: You either start the game infected (as a skeleton) or normal. If you are infected you need to try kill any normal players. If you are normal you need to avoid being killed and also kill the infected skeletons.
Eradication: Similar to team kill count except players don't respawn. You need to kill all of the enemy within the time limit.
Sabotage: The attacking team has to destroy certain objects highlighted on the map. The defending team needs to kill all the attackers and prevent all of the property being destroyed.
Onslaught: The attacking team needs to kill all of the defending team. The defenders are confined to a specific area and must survive the attacking team. Attackers will respawn until the time runs out or all of the defending team dies.