Review by thadarkman78

"A game that dares to be different"

Guild Wars is definitely one of those games that is hard to find and get the opportunity to play it. It takes some of the best features of current gaming, combining the addictiveness and fun factor that is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) and combines it with today's Strategic and FPS genres. Combined, you have a game that truly is different from them all.

Graphics - 9/10

Graphics are definitely one of the outstanding qualities of Guild Wars. Beautifully rendered models and textures lead to an overall aesthetically appeasing atmosphere. The reflections in the water are most noticeable, and the detail you get to see at the highest levels of graphics are simply to die for. Stepping into the game for the first time, you truly will drop your jaw in marvel and you stare at the impressive background of Guild Wars. Some aspects like some shrubbery and grass could do with some remodeling or fine-tuning, but that is not a major problem at all. The graphics in Guild Wars are some of the top graphics in video games so far, you truly will enjoy looking at these graphics, even if you have the worst of computers.

Sound/Music - 6/10

The sound and music part of the game is probably one that needs the most working on. Don't get me wrong, the music selections for this game are absolutely awesome, Jeremy Soule, composer for Guild Wars, has done an excellent job. However, there is a definitely lack of music in this game so far. A lot of times it just feels like I can hear only the sound effects, and no music at all. The sound effects likewise are alright, not the greatest of effects, but not terrible. Perhaps the effects could have some fine-tuning to them as well. I expect that ArenaNet is working diligently on their sound and music department, so look for a better sound/music aspect of this game.

Gameplay - 10/10

Where shall I begin? The Gameplay in Guild Wars is really what makes this game shine. It takes the best aspects of many different genres of games, and does away with many of the negatives to online gaming. For instance, it takes away the long leveling treadmill evidenced in many different MMORPGs, and implements a system where you can reach the maximum level in a mere week or two.

The skill system is arguably one of the best skill systems I have seen in an Online RPG. Set up with the principles found in the Magic: The Gathering card game, your character, composed of 2 professions, will have access to 150 total skills for release, with that number increasing with expansion releases. However, you can only bring into combat 8 skills, so a huge element of strategy is evident in this game. You have to decide, what is best for my group, for me, for this certain situation, whether I am fighting other players, or am I fighting monsters? The element of skill also plays a factor into this game, where you must try to outmaneuver and outsmart your opponent, whether that be a monster or a player.

Speaking of player, the Player vs Player system of Guild Wars really is one of the best Player vs Player systems in any Online RPG I have seen. Combining the elements of skill and strategy, you find yourself in an intense battle, full of obstacles and unknowns. From 4 vs 4 random groups, to 8 versus 8 organized battles, to 8v8v8v8v8v8 massive battles, strategies change with each and every battle. With a worldwide tournament system, you will be pitted against players from all around the world, trying to conquer different regions and advancing up the ladder. Also there is a guild versus guild ladder, where you battle other guilds for rating points and bragging rights.

Also the use of instanced areas for the majority of areas is a great bonus, yet a disadvantage for Guild Wars. With areas where only you and your party can be in, you won't have to deal with the MMORPG negatives in this game such as spawn camping and griefing. You will be on the map alone with your party, doing whatever you want, however you want to. However, the disadvantage to this is that the social aspect of Guild Wars is kind of low compared to that of an MMORPG. While you will be able to meet many people in towns, you will still be separated by districts, and chances are you won't be socializing heavily with other people. This causes a different type of community for Guild Wars, but in the end, it is definitely worth it.

Replayability - 7/10

While the game is very fun to play and there will be expansions every 6-9 months, some of the game could get very repetitive after awhile. You can only do the same missions and quests so many times, and participating in Player vs Player for 6 months straight may not be satisfying to everyone out there, so it may get a tad bit boring at times. Especially if you are in a guild or group that cannot compete with some of the better teams out there, you might find yourself losing round after round, and that can be frustrating. However, the upside to all of this is that there is no monthly fee, so you don't have to feel bad if you decide to put this game down for awhile, then just come back when a new expansion comes. Not to mention that since there isn't a huge leveling grind, you can still remain competitive without playing for a month or two.

Final Thoughts

Guild Wars really is a different experience in the world of Online Gaming. It combines an MMORPG with that of an FPS. I have seen many people calling Guild Wars the "RPG Counterstrike". It really is a competitive game that can be enjoyed by all types of people, from the casual gamer who can only play 2 hours a week, to the hardcore gamer who plays 40 hours a week. Guild Wars will appeal to the masses, and that's why it will be a success in the coming months. Definitely give Guild Wars a try, you will most certainly be pleased.

Final Score - 9/10, taking heavily into consideration the great gameplay, combined with the room for improvement in the sound/music category.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/19/05

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