Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Oblivion: Knights of the Nine Review

Knights of the Nine is the first "expansion-like" material for Bethesda's critically acclaimed Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Featuring an all new quest-line and armor-set, Knights of the Nine promises additional hours of immersion in a game that is already loaded with content. Unfortunately, while KoN does possess more of the great gameplay and some nifty new content, it is brought down by a decidedly weak storyline - even more so than the first. And the $10 pricetag doesn't help matters much either.

The basic plot of Knights of the Nine revolves around the return of an ancient Ayleid tyrant named Umaril. You are charged with the task of recovering seven ancient relics and defeating Umaril once and for all. *YAWN* Um...excuse me, Bethesda, but hasn't this happened before already?! I mean, how many ancient evils can awake and return to threaten Tamriel in the course of one game? The very concept is generic enough already, but to use it twice as the "main quest" is really pushing it.

"What's this? ANOTHER bad guy has woken up and wants to wreak havoc?! *Sigh* Better get out the fly swatter."

The storyline further suffers from a blatant lack of any sort of interesting characters. At least in the original Oblivion, Martin and Jauffre had some personality. Knights of the Nine has some interesting characters; but none of them are ever developed to any notable degree, and the big bad boss (excuse the alliteration) is very poorly described. The threat that he poses never seemed like such a big deal. Besides launching a few poorly planned attacks on a few temples, Umaril doesn't play much of a part until the very end of the quest - and that's only so the player can kill him. Which, by the way, wasn't as hard as you might think. I've fought tougher bears.

"I don't know what everyone's all worried about. I mean, you're not even HALF the size of that last guy I beat."

Does Knights of the Nine have anything going for it? Well, if you've done absolutely everything possible in Oblivion and you're still looking for a fix, then it provides a few hours of generic storyline. But hey, that's a chance for you to show off the battle prowess you've gained since the end of the original. And the new set of armor isn't half bad - new design and some nice enchantments that bestow powers on the wearer. As usual, the people of Oblivion will chat you up on all your recent exploits in KoN, so the immersion is definitely there.

Still, ultimately Knights of the Nine is a disappointing experience. In terms of additional content, it only offers a substandard quest coupled with some new armor and weaponry - definitely not worth the 10 dollars I paid for the download. PC players can probably just as easily fine a similar quality mod online, and 360 players needn't bother at all.

"Ten bucks for this set of armor?! I wouldn't pay more than...six."

Final Score: 6/10 - Mildy entertaining, but definitely not worth the pricetag.

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