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Deeper, better than Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. Serious RPG-ers will love it. Average players will like it, too.

9.0

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
40 to 100 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Amazing"

Summary

Champions of Norrath ROCKS !!
It has beautiful graphics, a very deep story line, and is quite addictive. It's full of great gameplay, as well as a few tedious "will I ever get this area finished" moments, but overall it's an awesome game. In my opinion it ranks right up there with Diablo II for replay. I'll be playing this game for a few years.

That's the short version.

The in-depth review:

I found myself so drawn in by the game that I would forfeit sleep on a regular basis. The last games that demanded this much attention from me were Diablo II - single player, and Final Fantasy IX. And with 3 difficulty settings, there's LOTS of replay value.

The game is a lot of fun, the story is very deep, and even though it plays out the same for each character, the abilities and weapons of each one causes battles to be a little different for each character. There are items that only certain character types can use or wear. The graphics change to suit the type of character chosen, making for some interesting visuals. There are 5 character types, and each has male and female versions, which adds interesting qualities as well. There is no "guys are tougher than girls" in this game. A female Warrior and a male Warrior have the exact same stats and capabilities. Same armour, but the design is appropriate to gender.

The level graphics are quite beautiful. Areas to explore are large, lush, often very detailed. There will be areas you'll want to go to, but the somewhat linear paths will keep you from reaching them. Not everything can be moved or touched, but you'll find breakables and chests in many side areas, and often they'll contain items you may need later on, so take the time to explore.

The boss battles are frequent in Norrath, and they can be rather tough early on. You'll often die twice before killing the early bosses, and there's usually more than one per area. There are many little dungeons to explore, and some gamers may choose to skip them. Don't. They are worth the experience and the items you could get. Many times you'll upgrade more easily, and they give you a chance to try out different battle tactics. Consider them mini-training-games. And in some cases you have to clear out these mini-dungeons or you can't move forward in the game.

Multi-player is fun, but restrictive: You can Import any character from any memory card (even the same card), but gameplay is limited to both of your characters being in the same general area. With no split-screen capability, there's no "I'll go left, you go right" in this game. I was instantly reminded of Diablo 1 for PlayStation, and Gauntlet Dark Legacy. Your characters must progress in tandem. And if one of you teleports to the in-town shop to sell or buy stuff, the other character goes with you immediately.

Which brings me to an interesting thing you can do with this game...
It's possible to take more with you than your character can carry, from one Act to the next. I'll explain in a moment.
For the item collectors out there - take note: Proceeding to the next Act in the game will lock you out of the previous Act forever. Pack your character full of the items you can't live without BEFORE you SAVE at the beginning of the next Act.

Example: In the first Act there's the GIANT Spider the Uber Orc leaves for you to fight, and she will give you one HELL of a battle ! After you kill her - and you'll die more than once trying - if you proceed down the stairs you will enter Act II. Don't. Instead, teleport to town and gather your gear beforehand. Sell off or leave behind what you don't really need (money drops increase in amount in Act II) then go down the stairs, and prepare to leave new item drops on the ground until you reach the new in-town area. Once you can save, you can go back and retrieve, if you wish.

If you have more than you can carry, there's a "back door" of sorts:
You can "transfer" items from the previous area, but you need to have it backed up on a different memory card or it's lost forever. Transfers involve 2 controllers and Importing a character from a previous save. That import must be wearing or carrying what you want to transfer, then drop it to the ground in front of your main character in the new area. It's time consuming, but sometimes worth it. There are Rune-like items that can enhance standard gear, and multiples of these are worth the effort.

At the end of Act IV your Boss Battle is Innoruk himself. Once he's defeated it's Game Over. So load up what you worked your tail off to keep before you battle him. He'll drop a couple of items you'll want, and you can choose to swap out part of your pack. Once you exit the area after he's defeated the game AUTO Saves as a Completed Game save. Bear that in mind.

And that's my review. This game Rocks, and it's well worth the money. If you're a casual gamer looking for a quick run-through, you'll need to find a different game. This one is time consuming.




Fun, but...Just read my review

8.5

Superb
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
40 to 100 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Almost, but not quite"

Summary

This game is good, but not something you should go out of your way for. I've haven't played Return To Arms, but I'd recommend that one because this one is irrittating as far as the choices go. This drove me crazy for days. If your picky about your class when you play RPG's then this game will drive you insane. All of the classes are perfectly balanced but amazingly far apart from each other. The only one that even tries to be a warrior mage is the dark elf shadowknight and his moves aren't very good and he can't use all the weapons off the warrior he claims to be. All the classes will only let you be exactly what that class is, so just pick the mage. He can use some pretty strong weapons and has variety of great moves. Anyway, although the game is very fun to run around and plunder things, it gets very irritating when you find out that you don't like your class. You start a new one and don't like that one either. It keeps going like this until you realize that they are all this way so you must choose between warrior, mage, knight(crappy mage, decent fighter), cleric, and archer.

Asside from what drove me crazy, (I'm am very nitpicky. I'll spend days trying to get it perfect for me) the game has a crap ton of replay value. You can play as the different class for a COMPLETETLY different feel of the game. Or, even on one class, you can rise up through the 3 hugely different diffuculties. This doesn't happen very often, but this games diffuculties are so far apart, that once you get to a massive level and beat the game, when you load your persion onto the next diffuculty, it will actually still give you a good experience. You don't just decimate everything you see.

Anyway, the game is pretty fun and very long and a blast if you have ethernet, but if you don't, it's still decently fun. You can have more players onscreen on the console. It's a good game, but not something you should go out of your way for. Get it if you have the extra cash.




This probably has close to the most spins out of any ps2 game I have; it's a rare co-op RPG gem with a great story.

9.5

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
100 or More Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Amazing"

Summary

This probably has close to the most spins out of any ps2 gave I have; it's a rare co-op RPG gem with a great story.

You start the game by being able to play online or with a friend, or by yourself...and its an over the head RPG.

That alone should get you excited.

Once you name your character you get started whoopin' some butt.

The game is both challenging and rewarding with a decent enough leveling system and the classes are different enough to make you want to play them all; and if you do the game will feel much different.

Easily, the best part of the game is co-op. Taking the hordes on with a friend (or your wife) is lots of fun. It's an accessible enough leveling system where wives and girlfriends can jump in without much of a learning curve even if they are not big RPG dorks.

Because of this the replay value is absoltuley through the roof - think Diablo for two players on your console.

The graphics are well enough and the storyline is servicable. The game's voiceovers, etc could be a bit better, and the cutsceens are a bit simplistic but I'm being pretty picky here.

This is easily one of the best games I've ever played, and the amount of hours I've logged on it is scary. I'd reccommend this game to anyone.




This can become a very addicting game. How so? It's just plain fun! Find out more inside the review!

9.0

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
40 to 100 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Just plain fun"

Summary

Champions of Norrath... probably one of the many fun games I have played. There aren't many negative things about this game, the only problem is, that the few negative aspects that the game does have, really keep it from being a game with a score of a 10.

The story of the game is quite simple, hack and slash your way through a number of lands to defeat the great evil and save the world. Seems similar to many games doesn't it? While it may seem like Champions of Norrath is just like another Super Mario game... the story is not what makes the game great.

To start off the game has immense amount of variety. While the character customization may not be as vivid and detailed as Everquest II's, the game still allows players to choose from a number of different classes such as warrior, cleric, wizard, ranger, and others. With a decent variety of classes that match with a specific race, the game already starts out on the right foot. Despite the variety of classes, the game also features an abundance amount of equipment letting players equip their characters to many different colored clothing and many different styles of clothing. The different areas in the game are also very detailed for the PlayStation 2 and each area has a different them, for example the desert, forest, underwater, ice lands, etc. So overall the visual aspects of the game are quite pleasing with minor glitches in the graphics.

Apart from the good graphics and great starting point for the game, the gameplay is also quite good. You will basically be leveling your characters up and receiving points to upgrade your character's stats, spells, earn new spells, gain new abilities and so forth, much like a talent tree from World of Warcraft or Everquest II. Much of the gameplay however is button mashing, and hacking and slashing your way through armies of enemies while using your super powerful spells and abilities. Most of the time this can be very fun and enjoyable but when your on a side quest, it can get annoying sometimes. Other than completing quests and slashing your way through monsters and leveling up, there is not much else to the game.

The story of the game is decent, it isn't the best, but with voice overs for all characters and all scenes, it is quite impressive and does bring a very interesting story to players.

What probably makes Champions of Norrath so fun is the co-op play. The game lets you play with a max of 4 players, and if you have 4 players playing together all with the same class, or different classes, this makes the game truly fun as you will have to work together as a team to defeat enemies. If you don't have 4 other players, then there is still hope with Online Play. Luckily, online play is quite smooth and works pretty well with the occasional errors and lags, but all in all, online play is pretty good in the technical perspective.

Unfortunately, one of the worst parts about this game is the fact that the game does let you go through different stages of the game. To unlock the different stages of the game, you have to beat the game on the first difficulty level first. After beating the first difficulty level you may advance to the next difficulty level. The positive side to this is that you can keep your character that you had for playing through the game for the first part and continue to level him or her up as merchants will sell higher higher level equipment and monsters will be much harder to defeat assuming that you have already gained a large amount of levels through the first play through. The negative side of this though is that you will have to replay the entire story over again from beginning to end, and the story does not change. So if you really want to see your character ever reach level 30 or 40, you will have to play through the game at least 2 times. To get to level 50 that will require you to play through it 3 times. Hence, if you only play through it once and reach level 20, you will never see your full character develop with its more powerful equipment, abilities and spells. This does make it a burden to go through the whole story again just to see your character gain levels, but if you enjoy hacking and slashing, it should not be too much of a problem especially if your not doing it alone.

The difficulty of the game solemnly depends on how many people you have playing with you. If your playing alone, it could prove to be a challenge as you will be the only character playing and there will not be any computer controlled characters other than the occasional CPU's. If you have friends playing with you, it can prove to be much more enjoyable and easier.

If you would want to compare this game to anything, I'd compare it a lot to the X-Men games or the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games, only that here you will not have computer controlled characters. Overall, Champions of Norrath is a great game for anyone, but an excellent game for a group of people. With its minor flaws that really keep it from being a perfect game and its fun gameplay and visual aspects, this game is definitively worth a play and is rated as a 9.0 (Superb).

~maniamsmart
Senior Gamespot Member




A good warcraft game that could use some improvement.

7.5

Great
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
20 to 40 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Been there, done that"

Summary

As I am not into warcraft games this one began to grow on me. Wondering through diverse worlds in the theory to conquer Innoruk and bring piece to Norrath. I such an event where you can collect hundreds of different types of weapons and armor as of helmets, chestplates, gloves, leggings, and boots. You go through four different regions in the story which could use some work, you come across different types of creatures. Some are tough, some are weak. It is fairly good until you get half way through the game and realize that all youve really been doing is the same thing over and over just killing your enemys and picking up the spoils. The bosses are too weak to even consider bosses and the game seems to lack character as everyone makes the same gestures and your spore seems to not say a word the entire game. For those of you who are not much into warcraft like me it is your own decision because I was surprised myself by it.
9.0

Editors' Choice
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