Review by Patriko2000

"I used to think very highly of this game ..."

Last Christmas (2001), I was so excited when I opened up Everquest. I quickly installed it, and couldn't wait for the game to start. I dove right in, and for the first couple of months I couldn't dive back out. Then, it hit me. This game is the most money-draining, life-sucking game that I have ever played. Not that that is a bad thing, but Verant and Sony could have done better. Much better.

This futile attempt at a ''Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game'' left me wondering, where does the ''Role Playing Game'' come into the picture? The thing with Everquest is that there is no set storyline. This isn't the bad part, however. The bad part is that not one single person on any of the game servers wants to treat this game as an RPG. Several people try to roleplay, I'll give them that, but everyone else around them either A) Laughs at them, or B) Ignores them. This game all boils down to one topic: Greed.

Now, hear me out on this. Another review here on GameFAQs called this game ''Levelquest,'' and that name fits Everquest quite nicely. The entire game is based around levelling. Everyone in the game wants to gain levels until they reach the ultimate Level 60. This is where the life-sucking comes into play. When you start out, leveling is a sinch, and it happens quite frequently. Later, at the higher levels, levelling can take weeks upon weeks to reach gain enough experience to earn the next level. Once again, this isn't bad for most games. However, in Everquest, you fight the same freaking monsters over and over and over again. No diversification is implemented anywhere. Sure, these monsters drop items for you to loot, but 90% of the time these items are worthless, and are just there for you to sell to merchants. When you find that one elusive monster that will drop that one great object, 50 other players usually flock to the monster at the same time as you. They wait for that monster to appear, then all attack it at once. They all try to loot the corpse first, and get mad at the person who actually gets the treasured object. Sometimes, having the object isn't enough. They have to sell the object to an unknown person just to get more money than they should have. Now that is where the greed comes in.

Selling is another very annoying part of the game. The only people who get shops are merchants, who are always NPC's (Non-player characters) anyway. Players can't set up their own shops, stores, or anything - so they run into each zone shouting ''WTS So-and-so 50kpp!!!''. This wouldn't be very annoying, except you can't go one minute in a crowded (and most of the time not-so-crowded) zone without hearing another person ''Wanting To Sell'' something.

Now, onto the breakdown of the game:

Gameplay - 4/10
This is not the best example of good gameplay there is out there. The ''battle system'' consists of walking up to a monster, hitting the ''auto-attack'' button, and watch as you and that monster trade turns hitting each other back and forth. Winning is based completely on random numbers, and not on skill, which is definitely a bad thing. The graphical interface is annoying as well. So much is put on the screen at once that you can hardly see the game going on at all. That is, unless you have a higher-resolution-than-normal set. As I can recall, there was a section of the screen dedicated to hotkeys, one dedicated to spells, one dedicated to your chat display, one dedicated to the main menu, one to your health, one to your target's health, and one to your party (group) members. To me, this seems like an awful lot to slap on the screen at one time. But I'm not everyone, and other people probably have different opinions than me.

Graphics - 5/10
What it all comes down to in Everquest (and most computer games) is more RAM = more power. This is true in a variety of ways. If you have the crappiest computer ever made, the game will be so choppy it will seem unplayable. You will also have to turn the textures down, reduce the quality of the graphics, and keep it on the lowest resolution possible. This is a real pain for most computer owners. Now, say you have the best top-of-the-line computer out there. Sure, you can turn the textures all the way up, increase the quality to the maximum, and have the highest resolution available, but the graphics just suck. Don't get me wrong, Shadows of Luclin was a valiant effort to increase the quality of the graphics in the game, but the patch only affected the characters, when you think about it. The only thing Luclin did was add more zones to the game that are laggy to just about everyone, and make the character models look better. The environments in the other 99% of the game still look horrible though. The clipping plane is annoying, because even at the furthest clipping distance, things still just pop up in the distance (mountains, buildings, etc.). Every single piece of every single environment does the same thing: it gets blurry and pixilated as you get closer to it. I know most games do this, but at the time Luclin was released, games (Such as Halo) managed to rid the best they could of this feature. I fail to see why Verant and Sony did not.

Story - 0/10
Story? There was a story? I must have missed it in the months and months that I played this game. Verant tries to spice things up and add to the ''Roleplaying'' (or lack-thereof) feature of the game by adding tiny quests that you can go on. These quests are assigned to you by NPC's, and usually result in ''Go find me so-and-so item from so-and-so monster, and I will give you 10 gold and a little bit of experience!'' In a way, these quests help create a semi-story, but none link together, none mean anything to you, and none are that interesting.

Audio - 7/10
The sounds in the game were very good, however. Even though the background music was done completely with MIDI files, this is not a bad thing. For one, it allows for a much quicker load-time for every zone in the game, and for the game itself. Verant did a decent job at manipulating each MIDI file to sound differently, and at some points even entertaining. Sound effects were done nicely as well. Every race/gender has a different grunt (As in, a ''getting-hit'' sound). Likewise, every monster out there has a different grunt sound, which seems like it would take a while to do. This may be the highest point of Everquest, sadly.

Replayability - 8/10
I must admit, this game was very addictive ... was. I quickly got tired of the game, but everyone else who plays it seems to be quite addicted to it. So replayability? Yeah, I say it's there. It wasn't there strongly for me, but hey, I'm just one guy, I don't speak for everyone.

I give this game a 5/10 for effort. It really strives to be a ''Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game,'' but in the end it turns out to be just ''Massively Multiplayer.'' It comes along with thousands of other players all wanting either money, items, or experience. 95% of these players all love to think of just themselves, shunning all new players to the game and racing to each corpse to try to loot it first. All of this, combined with the lack-of-roleplaying, serves as a mediocre attempt at a potentially good game. Nice try Verant, but I'm not forking over $12 a month to play a game that isn't entertaining to me at all.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 06/05/02, Updated 06/12/02

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