Review by Latin_Hobbit

"Guild Wars: The ORPG with a difference"

Guild Wars review by Latin Hobbit

Introduction

Guild Wars is an ORPG with a difference, no more grinding, PKers, loot stealers, spawn campers, kill stealers, separate servers, server downtime for patches or monthly fees. Perhaps the most important of these would be the last three ( all which are connected ), the no separate servers which lets you never have to worry about spending hours finding a party, the lack of server downtime due to Arena Nets special stream updating system which improves you game experience and the lack of monthly fees which makes the game more accessible. But how, you might ask, are these connected? It's very simple, Arena Net spent several years developing the network code for Guild Wars and making it as streamlined as possible. Because of this Arena Net can make updates to the game on fly without server downtime, connect all of their servers worldwide in 'one server' and due to their VASTLY reduced server maintainence costs they don't need to charge a monthly fee. And did I forget to mention that the game runs smooth on 56k ( the updating takes a LONG time though ). In terms of story Guild Wars has 25 or so instanced, linear 'missions' that can be undertaken by groups of 4-6 players that follow a storyline that is told in voiced cut-scenes at the end of each mission as well as several hundred 'quest' that are of a more traditional MMORPG style ( eg: take X to Y then bring Z back to X ).

Gameplay - 9/10

Guild Wars gameplay is focused around the games extensive options for PvP, the PvE is rather average and get repetitive though you don't have to play long to get to the max lvl of 20. The max lvl of 20 is there to reduce grind, level the playing field in PvP and so you don't have spend too much time in PvE before you can go to PvP. It's a common thing to hear people complaining about the lvl 20 cap but those people are missing the whole point of GW, the game doesn't truly start until lvl 20, but don't fret it only takes 1 weekend of hardcore playing or 1 week of very casual playing to get to lvl 20. On to PvP. There are several types of PvP in Guild Wars, Tombs, GvG, Arena, The Crags and a one of PvP match near the beginning as part of the storyline ( I won't spoil it for you ). Tombs - A global tournament between teams of 8 people on a series of different maps with the winners going on to the 'Hall of Heros' in a attempt to win a celestial sigil and help their side of Worlds at War. GvG - Guild vs Guild battles come in 3 varieties, random match chooses an opponent with a ranking near yours ( the most common type of GvG battle ), Challenge lets you choose which guild to fight ( for settling of disputes ) and un-ranked Challenge lets you fight someone without risking a losing of ranking in the Guild ladder 9 useful of testing team builds ). Arena - Just hit 'Enter Mission' to be placed in a random party of people whom you will fight with against another random group of people. The Crags - A CTF style gametype with random teams of 8, a Ghostly Hero for each team and many choke points across the map that can make thing get VERY interesting. Overall the gameplay in Guild Wars is very good though it's let down by average PvE.

Graphics - 9/10
The graphics in Guild Wars are very impressive and don't require a monster computer to run. The environments and foes that you fight in Guild Wars are all very highly detailed and feature numerous special effects. There are also some nice shadowing, animation and the view distance is HUGE ( which can cause slow down sometimes ). There is also nice water effects and ( as shown at the end of the last BWE ) they can do awesome fireworks. The only flaws in them that I have noticed is that there is slight 'shimmering' to texture, particulary on building that is present on all but the highest of resolutions and that the current build lacks facial animation which can the voiced cut-scenes at little weird.

Sound - 9/10

The sound in Guild Wars is very good and helps to bring the world to life though currently the range of tracks is quite limited ( though all are very high quality ). There is also the memorable theme that plays on the login screen. Sound effects are also good with some good combat sounds, spells sounds and the weird sound you character makes when they die. The voice is ok though it always sounds weird because there is no facial animations. The fireworks sound are also quite good but we won't be hearing them till the next time Arena Net holds a party.

Overall - 9/10

Guild Wars is a very good and refreshingly new ORPG though, due to the lvl cap and focus on PvP, it's obviously not for everyone. Because of the lack of monthly fee Arena Net will be releasing OPTIONAL expansions every 6-9 months. So if you like being competitive or just want to try something new then I highly recommend Guild Wars and even those of you who think that you wouldn't like it buy it anyway, with the lack of a monthly fee you don't have to make a large investment.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/20/05


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