Developer: NC Soft
Publisher: NC Soft
Reviewed by: Katalist
MMOs have came a long way since my Ultima Online days as a kid. Now you have so many different styles of games in this genre, ranging from story oriented like SWTOR, atmosphere-centric like The Secret World, and of course the king of them all (as far as popularity goes), World Of Warcraft.
Guild Wars 2 brings a lot of good things to the table and definitely is pushing the MMO genre in the right direction. First off, I would like to talk about the art design, it is incredible and most of the stuff in the game looks just gorgeous. Whether it’s a sunset off in the distance, a high mountain full of snow getting windblown, or a beautiful looking area with lush vegetation and body of water. I often found myself just stopping and soaking in the graphics, Arenasoft has put a ton of effort into this game world and it shows.
Next up is the dynamic group events. They are done to perfection in this game and are loads of fun to play. You might be playing solo and minding your own business when you see an icon show up saying there is a group battle near. You look around and see tons of people working together. One of GW2's best aspects is how fluid and smooth it does everything. It’s a wonderful sight seeing 20-40 people all working together against a big enemy. It can sometimes get hectic with all this magic and fighting going on, but you always feel like you are part of the action and helping to get this mission done.
Another thing I love about GW2 is the fact that you can get experience and level up in anyway you want. A lot of MMOs come down to how much time you have and 'grinding' to level up. That is one thing I really don’t like about the genre and a reason I probably prefer single-player RPGs 90% of the time. But with this game you can get experience in so many ways. Whether its healing and reviving others, exploring new landmarks/areas, or hunting down that last skill challenge. It’s not just, "Hey, fight enemies to level up" anymore, you have a choice as to how you want to play this game and you are rewarded for what ever play style you pick.
Now, to a few issues I have with the game. The story is not very good, even by MMO standards. And there has been some bugs and technical issues from the start (which is nothing new to MMOs). It’s not really bad by MMO launch standards, but it is definitely my main issue with the game. With time, I’m sure a lot of these issues will be worked out but it was a pain-in-the-ass getting thrown into another area randomly and not being able to meet up with my friend to continue our adventures. Also, some quests I have come across have broke either midway through the quest or at the start. Once again, small issues in the grand scheme of things. Last week it seemed to happen a lot less and I’m sure the FPS lag will be worked out in due time with updates or graphics driver improvements from Nvidia or ATI. Another thing which might be a drawback for some folks is the fact that a lot of the game is not explained. But for me this is actually a good thing, as it leaves some room for finding things out on your own, instead of having your hand held. Ultima Online was like that back in the day; I loved the feeling of finding things out on my own.
If you are a gamer who loves the Player vs. Player aspect of MMOs then you will have plenty to sink your teeth into in GW2. The well done World vs. World aspect is a ton of fun and will have PvP fans coming back for more. The good thing about World vs. World is that you don’t have to get your character to level 80 to join the fun. Everyone gets a level 80 character when they join WvW (even if you only have level 5 character in the main world).
Oh yeah, on top of all that, the game has no monthly fee to play, unlike most MMOs. All you have to do to play is buy a copy of the game and jump in.
Final verdict? Guild Wars 2 is one of 2012's best games so far and the most intriguing MMO in quite some time.