Review by Phantomstrider
An awesome add-on that changes the game completely
Anarchy Online without Shadowlands has the rubi-ka world. This world is where the omni and clan fight and where guilds form. Though rubi-ka is surprisingly big, its always been rather plain and theres not generally alot to its landscape apart from monsters and buildings widely spread.
The shadowlands world is a brand new alternate world that will have you on the edge of your seat at times. The twisted, crazy reality has beautiful scenery, endlessly spreading landscape, a giant variety of different enemies, complexity, possibilities and encourages you to actually explore the entire thing. Part of whats great about the shadowlands is there is an entire story behind it that you will slowly uncover as you freely roam the land. There are tons of side quests as well that will both open your mind to the shadowlands more and assist you in making your way around easier.
The shadowlands is made up of about 5 areas. Each one has two gardens. One for clan and one for omni. The one that is avaiable to you will depend on your faction and what side you've chosen. The way you interact with the shadowlands and the way the people interact to you will depend on what side you've chosen and what quests you do. Many options are opened to you only through doing certain quests. For example, your char's ability to use higher level shadowlands nanos will depend on whether you've completed certain quests. As your character grows and you move through from area 1 to 5, you will pick up items, vital level experience and self-knowledge about the world you're travelling through that will help you survive.
The graphics haven't improved greatly texture-wise, however you will probably be more interested in the detail put in to each and every part of the shadowlands from the bizarrely changing skies to the strangely coloured lands you tread on.
The gameplay has improved amazingly. As mentioned before, brand new battle strategies are opened up to you, new things are to be discovered, new lands, new people, new places, your entire original experience of anarchy online will change when getting used to the new methods of levelling and strengthening in the Shadowlands.
The sound is better. If sometimes a bit quiet and repeatative, some of the music is far more orchestrated, detailed and suitable for the entire theme of the shadowlands. Overall 90% of the music is way better than rubi-ka's music.
Its hard to say what hasn't improved in Shadowlands. There are new lands, new items and new strategies to be thought out though you may feel a bit overwhelmed by all the new things to learn, this is a must-have add-on if you like Anarchy Online original.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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