Review by Tidus21

"It had the potential to be so much better, but flaws brought it down"

This review is for the game Guild Wars: Factions for the PC. It's a stand-alone game/expansion to Prophecies, the name given to the original. It still has relatively low system requirements and is still playable on 56k, although I don't advise it since the occasional massive patch will probably drive you insane. Now for the review.

Story: 3.5/10 It's painful to say this, but the storyline of Guild Wars: Factions is a joke at best. It seems as if it's something a child could think of in a dream, but just more violent. Basically you start off knowing that Shiro was killed by an assassin(knowledge from the movie) and about the Jade Sea. You learn that for some reason, he was able to return. At each mission, you are given one more uninteresting fact about Shiro. The story isn't as captivating as Prophecies. It just feels like ArenaNet only made enough of a story to push you through so you could do Alliance battles and other PvP. The good parts of the story are not part of the main plot. Many of the quests have amusing or interesting stories behind them. Other than that, Factions is seriously lacking in this department.

Graphics: 7/10 Not much has changed in the graphics department. There are many new great looking character and monster designs in Factions. It's evident that ANet put a lot of work into making their character models look nice. The world also has some beautiful scenery. The "newb" island has rolling green hills, snowy mountains, and cherry blossom trees that are always in bloom for some reason. ANet was going for an Asian-themed game when they were making this, and I believe they pulled it off. There is, however, one thing that I just can't stand. This is the main island of Cantha. After travelling a certain distance in quests or missions, you'll begin to notice something about the landscape. It all looks the same. Most of the areas seem like they just recycled the map and put in a few subtle changes so that it would seem different. Having to endure the sight of the same background begins the make Factions pretty boring. After leaving this part of the main island, the scenery begins to change for the better again. The graphics are still nice, but it just seems like ANet was falling asleep while making the city design.

Gameplay: 8/10 The gameplay of Factions is basically the same as that of Prophecies. The game still runs smoothly except for the occasional lag spike, which seem to be more frequent now. It seems like you can be anywhere when you can get hit with a huge lag spike in these days. The only things that really change about gameplay are things that come with patches. Things like adding the skill charging bar under the name or making it possible to call the number of minions you are currently controlling. One noticeable difference is the AI of the henchmen. One problem they had in the past was resurrecting in the middle of battle, only to have the person die again. This problem was fixed and replaced with another one. Now if you're lucky enough to die, you are forced to wait from half a minute to a minute for the henchmen to even begin resurrecting you. It's a good incentive not to die, but it is also extremely annoying.

There were two new classes added to the game. They added another melee class(assassin) and another caster class(ritualist). For the most part, it seems as if these two characters and the plethora of new skills were worked in seamlessly. Factions still retains the balance in PvP that ANet boasts about. They had to do quite a bit of work with the ritualist. They are now a decent class instead of the nearly invincible power-house they used to be back with the first preview event. The classes were worked in to be about equal to the others and to still remain fun to play with.

Sound: 8/10 I believe Factions to be far above average in the sound area. The music was supposedly created with real Asian instruments. I don't really care if this is true since it sounds terrific. The music is actually worth listening to outside of Guild Wars. I will sometimes catch myself opening up Guild Wars to listen to the music after the game patches.

The sound effects for weapons and spells are still just as average as ever. The sword sounds like it's being swung at a rock instead of at flesh. Some of the new spells just use recycled sounds. Even though the effects are just plain average, the music more than makes up for it.

Replay Value: 8/10 Replay for a game like this is kinda hard to score. If you are the part of the playerbase that does solely PvE, then the game will get very stale after beating it. Factions does have anywhere near the amount of endgame quests and explorable areas(Underworld, Fissure, Sorrow's Furnace) that Prophecies has. One thing I have learned is that with constantly changing PvP(except for people who only do flavor of the month), the game can stay pretty involving. I used to be a dedicated PvPer, and that gave me an incentive to play each day.

Overall: 7/10 This game excels in most areas, with some pretty big flaws bringing it down. As far as I know there is no free trial for factions, so starting off with this game is a gamble. If you're already a GWer because of Prophecies, then it's probably better to buy this to stay up to date with things.

Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 05/19/06

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