Guild Wars (Windows)

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Developed by
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Written by  :  Rambutaan (446)
Written on  :  Jul 05, 2005
Rating  :  3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars

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Solid online role-playing without the subscription fees.

The Good

The graphics are truly astonishing for this game. Perhaps the best seen in an online RPG so far, even after the "bloom effect" (if you don't like this effect, you can turn it off in the options under "Post-processing effects"). Graphics aren't everything but it definitely helps immerse you in this world. The world is rather large and there are several places to visit with different terrain, whether it be the sand dunes of the Crystal Desert, the beautiful tropical beaches of Kryta or the volcanic wastelands of the Ring of Fire - each area is quite breath-taking in its splendour.

In terms of gameplay, Guild Wars is probably more similar to Diablo than World of Warcraft (which many people like to compare it with). Guild Wars isn't strictly an MMORPG. True it has several people playing it online (so that's the MMO part) and true it is basically an action-based role-playing game (so that's the RPG part) but it's more of a CORPG (Competitive Online Role-Playing Game as Arena.Net likes to call it). Unlike traditional MMORPGs, "dungeons" or the wilderness, is "instanced" for a player and his/her party, this is similar to how Diablo creates dungeons (except in Diablo the actual terrain was randomised too). The only places where you get to interact with the entirety of the game's population is either through the in-built messaging system or in towns. This may not appeal to some but since I'm a fan of Diablo it suits me just fine. In fact, the benefit of instancing is that you dramatically reduce the workload on server resources as dungeons can be created on demand, rather than being online 24/7.

Although everyone has different tastes in music, I think the music for Guild Wars is fantastic. Critically-acclaimed composer, Jeremy Soule, responsible for the music in classics like Morrowind and Knights of the Old Republic, continues to create beautiful orchestral music that is a perfect fit for the fantasy world of Tyria. The sound effects and voice acting are on par with other quality RPG titles.

The Bad

There's nothing I have much to complain about in this game, although I have read a number of complaints from players about what they didn't like. For starters, your level is capped at 20, so if you're one of the sorts that likes to thunder on their way to level 99, this isn't the game for you. Also some people have complained about the PvE (Player-versus-Environment) aspects of the game getting in the way of PvP (Player-versus-Player) and vice versa. However, this is already changing with Arena.Net releasing patches every week to attempt to bring about not only game balance changes but features that will help to satisfy both people who prefer pure combat or ones who like a little bit of storyline on the side.

With regards to what I personally don't like though - I think it would've been nice if there was the option like Diablo to play Guild Wars PvE on a LAN, disconnected from the Guild Wars servers, with local characters. If that was the case, Guild Wars would've been slightly more superior to Diablo in my humble opinion, but as it stands, it's probably *as* good :).

The Bottom Line

Guild Wars is like a contemporary, online-only version of Diablo or Diablo II. If you liked Diablo or its clones and aren't bothered with having to connect to a server each time to play, give Guild Wars a go. Also, for the ones that enjoy playing in a clan or team and fighting against other human players with a variety of skills, Guild Wars is definitely right up your alley as well.