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Overall, however, whether you're a newbie or an experienced MMORPGer, Shadowbane has a lot more going for it than against it--especially its safehold scheme and quick level-jumping. Go ahead--grab a copy, go online, and indulge your fantasies.
As usual, if you aren’t a big fan of RPGs, don’t like dealing with hit points and sword attack ratings, than you should stay away. Fans of RPGs in general will enjoy how this game is run, and those with lots of patience will be rewarded when they gain enough levels to start taking part in the in-game politics. Having the major purpose of the game to make player characters interact is a laudable goal, something that has been absent in even some of the most successful pay-to-play games. If the system continues, and players stay interested, the game will go a long way. So don your medieval fantasy caps, buy a copy of Shadowbane, and help support the growing player communities.
Shadowbane, unquestionably, goes where few (if any) games have gone before. The fun factor is definitely there and some truly unique gameplay can be had. Unfortunately, Shadowbane also makes it extremely difficult to get where you're going; from the disorienting newbie experience of becoming familiar with how the game works to the persistent, strange bugs which make what should be straightfoward gaming a real pain to the sluggish performance and peculiar interface design... this isn't a game the player can slip into with any real ease. Yes, there is fun to be had while playing Shadowbane, but you have to really want it in order to turn a blind eye to the irritations along the way.
Shadowbane deserves kudos for its ambitious attempt to build upon the genre of MMORPG pioneered by games such as Everquest or Mythic's Dark Age of Camelot ($20, PC only, www.darkageofcamelot.com). Yet Shadowbane could use a lot more refining and streamlining, thereby affording players a better opportunity to enjoy this epic game.