I love the game. It's very immersive. Out of the box, the game is far ahead of Oblivion ootb. Don't blame Bethesda for the fact that it's not far ENOUGH ahead. I don't think it's far enough ahead either. I blame consoles, cheapskates and the economy.
The OP did specify graphics OOTB. It's honestly about what I expected and maybe a bit more on the artistic side. I do appreciate it for what it is, a compromise.
We PC gamers are a jaded community. PC games are no longer as close to the bleeding edge as they used to be because of the bottom line. If the industry had the same mentality as it did years ago, Skyrim would be running at around 20-30 FPS at minimum settings on a GF 560. Max in game settings though, for the few of us with the hardware to run it would be amazing.
That said, I've bought every single TES game on release day, and I've enjoyed every single one. I look forward to the mods and to the next game in the TES series. It's all about perspective.
On a side note, the sound in this game has impressed the hell out of me.
The last game that did that was BFBC2. I have a bigger investment in my sound system than in the rest of my system though.