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GAME REVIEW - June 13, 2006

by Devon Varesko

Everquest II (PC)

My Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Everquest 2

Everquest 2 is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game). As such, it demands hours of play time to get anywhere, as most MMO games do. The problem with Everquest 2, is that there just isn't a whole lot of interesting content until you "level up". At least there wasn't when I played it last almost 6 months ago.

As a newbie to this game, you will find yourself wandering around towns trying to figure out what the hell you need to do to advance, and completing lame quests like killing rats in some kind of sewers. The UI is also quite complex and can take some time to figure out. Some of the default hotkeys make no sense whatsoever. Of course, it isn't all bad.

The plus side to this game is the level of "immersion". In other words, it seems much more real than any RTS (Real Time Strategy) or FPS (First Person Shooter) game. You'll see elves, cat-people, giants, frog-people, and other strange creatures traveling the "world" with you, and a nice part about this game in particular is that the graphics and sounds make it feel more real than any other MMO I've seen. Most objects seem quite close to scale as well.

If you have a capable computer, you can turn up bloom, shadows, water rippling, and water reflection effects fairly high, and you'll see what I mean. As you swim through the water, it will distort around your character and make ripples, and you can dive down to earn swimming skill - the more you do it the better you get at holding your breath! This is one of the neatest features of the game. Not just swimming, mind you, but that you gain skill in the things that you DO, not just arbitrary numbers as you level. (On the negative side, if you forget to work on these mini-skills as you level, you'll be weaker than is expected for your level.)

Back to the graphics, characters even yawn and have many moods, which reflect how they are supposed to be feeling. Some even will talk to you audibly as you pass by or ask for quests. Still, it seems that despite the wonderful graphics work and sound effects, I just can't enjoy the game that well.

It seems that small things that could be way better aren't. For instance, flying on griffins (or whatever they were called in this game) will take you places quickly and keep you safe from being attacked by monsters as you float around in the air. However, you have absolutely no control over the thing until you land. The only thing you can do is jump off. To top that off, each griffin is at identical-looking towers. I wonder why they used the same blueprints for each one...

My next problem was fighting in water. Some quests require you to kill creatures that are swimming in the ocean. So, somehow I manage to attack underwater while swimming. That kind of ruins immersion. Also, while fighting, there are specials that you can only do while facing a certain direction or being behind your target. I don't think these work very well. I'm pretty sure that when you lag, you can line yourself up right but your target will warp and spin around, goofing up your whole attack.

Travel also wasn't very fun. Walking forever seems to be a trademark of MMO's, and EQ2 is no different. After playing a few MMO's, you start to realize that having to play half the game before you can even get a horse kind of sucks. If you have the Pathfinder spell or are in a group with someone with a group speed spell, it's a little bit more tolerable. Yeah, they had "boats" to take you places, but sadly these weren't even animated the majority of the time. They'd just have a dock where you click on a post to get somewhere. Even their map system was a disappointment.

Crafting was okay, but got repetitive fast. Eventually it just becomes boring. I've heard this has changed since I last played, but I haven't played for about half a year.

The next problem, and probably the biggest, is the lack of a well-balanced PvP system. Oh yes, they now apparently have some special arena for fighting, but whatever happened to full-fledged PvP servers? EQ2 apparently doesn't see the value in this. (Again, this may have changed since I last played.)

When I was outside in Antonica fighting NPC's, the number of gnolls sickened me. They plastered the landscape with them as if they lacked enough other NPC's. This is one more thing I don't understand. If you have so much space, why not fill it with something interesting? At least fill it with more of a variety of NPC's.

In summary, Everquest 2 can be a great game for Roleplay and testing out the graphics capabilities for your graphics card. However, if you want a hardcore PvP experience, or awesome crafting system, look elsewhere.

Related Links:

Everquest 2 Official Website