Expansion packs don’t come much more expansive than this. This is a lot more than just an add-on for Oblivion - this is a 180-degree directional shift for Bethesda’s epic RPG. When this 30-hour-long pack is available for download on Xbox Live Marketplace at the end of June, you’d better pack your possessions in a box and have a straightjacket on hand, because Shivering Isles will have you foaming like a dog on a boat full of sausages.
So let’s brief you on what you can expect to do in Shivering Isles while you’re still sound of mind. Consider that Oblivion consists of a number of planes of existence - one ruled by each of the seventeen or so Daedric Princes, the divine beings so powerful that many in Tamriel worship them as gods. Pluck Shivering Isles from its hiding hole on Marketplace and you’ll open up a new portal linking to the eponymous islands, located on a landmass that’s popped up off the coast of Bravil. These isles represent the plane ruled by Sheograth, the Daedric Prince of Madness. Surely an enticing proposition for any would-be quest merchant, be they fresh off the character creation screen or one of the countless 1000-hour veterans.
Rookie or legend, anyone’s free to wander into this brave new world, but if you think you’ve seen enough shrubs and greyscale castles to last you a lifetime, then you’ll be pleased to know that Bethesda is bored of drawing them. The Shivering Isles, at approximately 25% the size of Cyrodiil, is geographically unlike anything you skulked around in the previous edition. These isles are more vibrant, more offbeat, more interesting and generally just more swan-stranglingly crazy than anything you will ever have encountered before.