Last weekend I plowed through all of the Thieves' guild quest line in Oblivion, leaving only The Dark Brotherhood line that I plan to do sometime later. If you add up all the time on each of my characters, I probably have 130 hours into that game, but oddly, it doesn't feel like I've played it that much. Maybe because that's been over a year and a half or so, but by the time I had 100 hours into FFXII and DQVIII, I felt it. Again, it's amazing how well the world of Cyrodiil is put together. There have been some really cool moments in the quests in the main guild series. I'm expecting great things from Fallout 3 when I get around to that game.
I've been playing Gears of War 2 this week, as well, and I've been blown away. I've made it through the first two of five acts, and I've been continually impressed by the variety of environments I've been through, the set-piece scenarios, and the awesome firefights. There are some caves you are dropped into at the beginning of act two that look absolutely amazing, they're possibly the most gorgeous graphics I've ever seen in a game--it's unreal. Your AI-controlled squadmates seem much more reliable this time around, and maybe it's just my imagination, but even the signature Gears cover mechanic seems improved and not so cumbersome as it was for me before.
It's been a long time since I played the original Gears (I sold my copy a while back), but that game never quite won me over entirely. I sort of went through the whole thing with one eyebrow raised. I can't put my finger on any one thing that they've improved for Gears 2 that has wiped away my skepticism, but there you have it. I can even give myself over to the cheesy '80s action movie dialogue and mid-battle banter, immortal exchanges like this one between rookie gear Carmine and grizzled main character Marcus Fenix:
"Sarge, I heard there are a shitload of locust there."
"More like ten shitloads, rook."
Maybe Gears 2 just hit me at the right time, rubbed me the right way, and I just wasn't as receptive to the original. Now, strangely OCD as I am, I feel like I have to go back and give that game another chance sometime. I'd like get someone to jump into a game of Gears 2 with me (or vice versa) and play the campaign co-op, and I also need to check out the multiplayer some, especially the new Horde mode. So far I only played one of the tutorial matches with bots, which was cool. I had never played anything with bots before.