Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Byte: Grind

The downside of being a semi-pro games journalist is that not every game you get to review is going to be ground-breakingly good. Sometimes you have to review the average, and even the utter dreck. Last night I finished reviewing the expansion pack to Asheron's Call 2. I was lucky enough to be given a couple of relatively high level test characters to play the game with, because the prospect of grinding my way up the level tree to be in a position to review the expansion pack content would have been too hideous to contemplate.

Yet even with a mid-to-high level character, AC2 is miserable game. The game world feels just so dull and empty - a feeling only reinforced by the lack of other people to party up and play the game with. The interface is bland and clunky, and the character animation is so bad it makes your skin crawl. The jumping animation in particular is laughable. Add to this ropy textures, poor sound and substandard graphical effects for spells, and things aren't looking or sounding good - literally. The game has no atmosphere or charm, with huge vistas filled with nothing but repetitively textured wilderness, and the few lavishly designed cities there are otherwise have no character, and in some cases, no characters - barely a single NPC in sight - just a vendor or two if you're lucky.

It's got absolutely nothing to recommend it over newer MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, Guild Wars or City Of Heroes - not even price. It's a waste of hard drive space I literally can't wait to uninstall. My full review should be up on Pro-G in the next day or so, but if you were thinking of picking AC2: Legions up from the GAME bargain bin, just remember that there's a reason why it's there... the reason being that it's RUBBISH - dull and ugly rubbish to boot. Avoid.
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