Review by Hyrule_Guardian

"A disaster"

Oh geeze...where to start with this game...*Sigh* I liked it when I first started playing it, I really did. I patched it up to 1.4 (Apparently you have to buy the collectors edition to be able to use the latest 1.5 patch...) because I heard that all previous versions are buggy to the point of being horrible to play.

I'm sorry to say that the updated version isn't much better. I started this game, customized my character (Apparently, they didn't even include the customization until a patch or two back...). I made myself an elven warrior and after figuring out the controls, started running around. Now the games' graphics aren't the sharpest, but they were satisfying...except for the fact that the world can go miles across open land without seeing a thing. Then suddenly a 'Random Encounter' happens. 'Random Encounter' is what they call a dozen or so monsters popping up behind you for no apparent reason.

The game starts in a forest...I was walking around and a pair of Giant Scorpions pop out and attack me! Not only do scorpions (Giant ones, at that!) not fit into the area, but there was NO WAY suck a massive, loud critter could sneak up on me...I could tell more 'Random Encounter' horror stories, but I'll continue into the review...

Game Play: 3/10

First off, they dump you in the middle of the woods to start. This would be fine, except that you're not going to get into town anytime soon. They may make it seem like you're going to, but trust me, it'll be a while. In fact, on the way to the first town, I found my level 3 fighter under attack by 3 sword-weilding goblins, 3 goblin archers, 2 goblin mages, and a War Troll...all at the SAME TIME...I died...repeatedly...

Fortunately, when you die, you can press the respawn button and for no reason, you pop back to life, losing your hard-earned stat points. But, you pop up right where you died...and whatever killed you can likely do it again. So you won't just lose a few stat points from one death. You'll lose a few from a few deaths...and it stacks up fast. Nothing like being pinned in a corner by goblins to get rid of a few hours worth of leveling up...

When you finally make it to town, it doesn't get much better. Monsters STILL attack you. For no reason. If it were just muggers or thieves, I could understand, but they have everything from bats and snakes to goblins and dire witches. You can easily be killed on the streets. And you'll be spending quite a bit of time there. The map, or lack thereof, gives you next to no direction of where to do.

So after looking for an hour or so to find the shop, you go inside to find the terrible bartering system. There is no 'repair all' or anything automated like that. You have to repair, buy, sell, identify and whatnot yourself. For each and every item. Having to click on a sword, then click identify, then click on the sword again, then click sell to sell a sword gets old FAST...too fast...

The fighting is interesting...until you realize that the enemies will always just mob you, forcing to to swing wildly as you chug potions. So much for a combat system...

There are so many features that were in the manual that were never in this game that its not funny. Make no mistake about it people: This game was released unfinished.

Story: 4/10

I wasn't drawn in enough by the story to remember it, and thats not a good thing for an RPG. Something about an evil lord and your character being the chosen one and whatnot. Cliche, yes, but it had potential. Until they incorporated it into the game. Its so by poor dialogue, vague quests, and direction-less game play that its hard to figure out the story that its trying to tell...yuck...

Controls: 5/10

Offline, the controls do their job, though it soon resorts to mindless clicking and pressing the hotkey for your healing potions.

Online, the lag is so horrible that its near-impossible to control your character. You can attempt to equip items and find that nothing happens...until a few minutes later when your character suddenly switches equipment in the middle of a battle, or find your character caught by a rock that you walked past minutes ago due to lag. And this is only for people with GOOD connections. I pity the poor souls with dial-up...

Graphics: 3/10

The graphics are alright...its how they were used that irks me. Everything looks the same, yet incomplete. With everything looking so similar, you'd think they could've but some more detail into it, like having every blacksmith shop look the same or something. But no...every blacksmith is just a room with a man behind the counter that sells things to you...

And this isn't a graphical issue, but you'll notice it as you play...the game will freeze every now and then as it loads new areas, critters, and whatnot. Its incredibly annoying to see your character just freeze in mid walk for a few seconds, then skip several frames and end up a dozen feet ahead...

Sound: 3/10

Voice-overs are irritating and don't seem to stop, even when you stop speaking to the NPC. Many sound effects are almost unhearable, while many others, usually annoying ones like the death shriek of a dying bat, are ungodly loud. Even the iron bars of the gate at the title screen are ear-jarringly loud. And there is almost no music. If there is any, I certainly didn't notice it.

Overall (Not an average): 3/10

I'm glad a friend gave me this game and I didn't pay money for it. I'd have kicked myself so hard for it. This game feels like a beta, even when fully patched. I honestly can't believe that they were charging $49.99 for this game in stores. It belongs in the discount bin, if its even put in a store.

Within a few days of playing this, I uninstalled it. Watching the uninstall screen delete all the files of this disaster of a game was the most fun the game brought me. I take note of all names associated with this game: Dreamcatcher and Heuristic Park are two developers I won't be buying from again. If I were the writer, DW Bradley, I'd be sorry to have my name associated with this game.

Rent or Buy: Neither

If you're convinced that I'm exaggerating or that I'm somehow biased, rent this game and experience it yourself. As for anyone who doesn't want aggravation and wasted money, pass this one up entirely...

Reviewer's Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Originally Posted: 07/05/06

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