Champions of Norrath Realms of Everquest
|a game by||Snowblind Studios, Inc.|
|Editor Rating:||8.5/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||6.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Know Your Role
Each character class in Champions has its own unique set of abilities and spells. For instance, the wood-elf ranger can shoot flaming arrows, while the shadow knight can befriend the undead and emit a trail of pestilence. Since EverQuest is relatively unknown compared with D&D, itll take you a while to discover which group possesses your favorite tricks. (We could barely stand looking at the gaudily dressed erudite wizards, so they remain an unknown quantity for us.)
We took our pointy wizards hats off to the excellent Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance for bringing Gauntlet-style hack-n-slash thrills back to consoles, and now, Alliances original developers return with a fantastic action-RPG set in Sonys EverQuest universe. (The big difference? Urn...well, the ores look a little different, we guess.) Champions mimicks everything that we loved about Alliance but actually takes it all a step further, with extensive item customization, enhanced graphics, more variety to its straightforward all-monsters-must-die missions, a ton of levels, and up to four-player simultaneous play, both online and off. The best part, though, is that the heart of the game Champions tight fight-or-flight game-play remains utterly engaging either alone or with friends helping you out. And luckily, Champions visuals are up to par with the gameplay. Cavernous dungeons and web-filled tombs have an almost photo-realistic look to them, and visual effects (like the light cast from a flaming sword) will have you geeking out, looking for new weapons to ogle. Great as it is, Champions still isnt perfect. Though its much less pronounced than in Alliance, the constant sword swinging and spellcasting does still get repetitive over time something that more monster variety and additional subquests could have alleviated. So although Champions clearly reigns as current king of the action-RPG hill, theres still room before it reaches the peak.
Enough with the BGDA comparisons this game stands on its own as a totally fun hack-n-slash ride. You dont have to follow the story too closely, but youll still enjoy the rich environments, well-acted dialogue, and cool characters, from sexy undead villains (oh, Lord Vanarhost!) to pus-filled ant queens (eew!). What drew me in most, however, was the deep character customization. Adding an extra critical hit point or upgrading my helmet with a vampire fang to increase mana regeneration kept me playing, even through the repetitive parts...which brings me to the games only significant flaw. It doesnt require enough strategy in single- or multiplayer you can almost always charge in, fire arrows or lightning hammers ablazing, and youll beat your enemies just fine. But I cant complain too much about that, now, can I?
Based on how much I despise the massively dull massively multiplayer EverQuest Online Adventures for PS2,1 fully expected to also hate Champions. But I cant! This game is too great. Champions reminds me of the classic arcade action of Gauntlet, only with infinitely more depth. Fantastic visuals, fun combat, complex and superbly designed dungeons, and even an engaging story line combine to keep players enraptured. To top all that off, while its plenty enjoyable solo, its even better multiplayer or online with friends. I missed the boat on developer Snowblinds previous actioner, Dark Alliance. Maybe you did, too, but dont let this one get away.