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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - hands-on

First-person sword-and-sorcery fave The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which landed on more than a few best-of-2006 lists (see our own Platinum Chalice Awards) is coming to the PS3 this March. Sure, cynics will scoff that 360 owners have already been playing Oblivion for a year. But for Sony loyalists starving for triple-A titles, the cities and wilds of Tamriel offer an unprecedented chance to spend quality time with their $600 investment.

Content-wise, everything in the PS3 release is identical to its 360 and PC cousins, except for the inclusion of the Knights of the Nine expansion (which costs 360 owners an extra ten bucks to download). However, other downloadable content available on Xbox Live, such as Mehrunes' Razor and The Thieves Den, initially won't be available as the designers are still grappling with the technology. But they do plan to have downloadable content available via the PlayStation Network some time after launch.

Under the hood, the PS3 version was optimized for faster load times and smooth, stable controls.  Another subtle tweak slightly sharpens the graphics and improves the mid-range view so it fills in more smoothly (due to some fancy pixel-shader optimization, for those who are keeping track). While this gives the PS3 a graphical leg up, the advantage will be short-lived; a fix will be patched into the 360 version in the near future to improve its performance as well. Regardless, you won't be disappointed to be playing Oblivion in dazzling 1080p. Whatever your choice of console, the vibrant diversity of the landscape practically hums with a life of its own. We're not going to waste time arguing over which version looks better; we'd rather waste our time actually playing.

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