Champions of Norrath
|a game by||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Editor Rating:||8/10, based on 3 reviews|
|User Rating:||7.7/10 - 30 votes|
|Rate this game:|
|See also:||RPGs, Hack and Slash Games, Games Like Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance|
It has been established that Everquest is a fantastic PC MMORPG, an okay console MMORPG, and a bad RTS game' but how is it as a traditional console dungeon hack? That's the direction Snowblind and Sony Online Entertainment is taking the lucrative franchise with Champions of Norrath, the latest hack-n-slash title set in the EverQuest universe.
Much like the Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance series, Champions of Norrath doesn't deviate much from the traditional hack-n-slash formula of hacking, looting, and leveling. In fact, it's identical to nearly every other dungeon hack out there, from Diablo to Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. Nevertheless, Champions of Norrath still comes out on top by focusing on the little things that have otherwise been avoided on the consoles -- little things such as character creation and customization, randomly made dungeon maps, and cooperative online play. Without these features, Champions of Norrath would be just another standard, if not well made dungeon hack. However, with these features, Champions of Norrath breaks a lot of ground for the genre, even if some of it's a bit shaky. Online play for example is a lot of fun, but its can be frustrating since character data isn't hosted on SoE servers. That means that if the host of the game gets disconnected, then all the data from the last save point is lost. When that's coupled with the fact that newcomers can't join a game in progress and the voice chat can be buggy, it's easy to see that the online portion can provide more frustration than entertainment.
However, at its core the Champions of Norrath's gameplay of hacking and slashing is extremely fun, refined, and even addictive. Much like Diablo II, advancing your character can quickly become a top priority since there's so much to do after the initial game has been beaten. With 50 levels to obtain, five playable classes, thousands upon thousands of different items to collect, randomly made dungeons, online play' well, let's just say that Champions of Norrath has a ton of replay value.
Champions of Norrath is one of the first PS2 games to utilize a double-layered disc to pack more detail into the visuals and it definitely shows in the fantastic texture work, the smooth animation, and the nice lighting effects. Unfortunately, the framerates will tend to stutter and clipping issues will pop up every now and then, but neither is so bad that they interfere with the gameplay. Audio-wise, Champions of Norrath holds up well, though the voice acting will often lag behind the action.
After playing through and reviewing Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II just last week, I thought I was all dungeon hacked out for a while. A guy can only take so many health potions before they start getting to your head, right? Boy, was I wrong because Champions of Norrath glued me to my couch for hours on end with its refined take on the genre. It certainly hasn't revolutionized the genre, but it's pushing the genre in the direction it should be going and in the end, that's almost as good.
Download Champions of Norrath
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Champions of Norrath is an action role-playing game that immerses players in a thrilling quest to save the world. Developed for the PlayStation 2, this game offers both single-player and cooperative multiplayer modes, allowing up to four players to embark on a grand adventure together.
With its engaging gameplay, rich storyline, and customizable characters, Champions of Norrath has become a beloved title among RPG enthusiasts. This review will delve into the game's key features, gameplay mechanics, and overall experience, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses.
An Epic Journey through Norrath
The game's plot unfolds across five acts, introducing players to a traditional role-playing narrative. Initially tasked with aiding the elves in their battle against a formidable orc alliance, players soon find themselves venturing into the depths of the underworld and beyond. The intriguing storyline, accompanied by the enigmatic narration of Vanarhost, a vampire, and encounters with powerful adversaries like Pelys and Innoruuk, the God of Hatred, adds depth and suspense to the gameplay experience. The seamless integration of the Everquest universe provides a familiar backdrop for fans of the franchise, offering a delightful nostalgia trip.
Engaging Gameplay and Character Progression
Champions of Norrath presents a classic hack-and-slash gameplay style, enriched with various additional elements. Players start by selecting their character's race, appearance, and skills. From there, they embark on an immersive journey, battling monsters, exploring diverse environments, and accumulating wealth to purchase weapons and equipment. As players progress, their characters level up, gaining increased statistics and abilities.
One of the standout features of the gameplay is the Ability Tree, which allows players to customize their characters' skills. This flexibility enables players to invest points in multiple choices simultaneously, enhancing damage output and unlocking new spells. The weight system adds a strategic element, as players must manage their inventory and utilize "Gate Scrolls" to sell excess items. Dungeons feature boss encounters, secret passages, and traps, offering a challenging and rewarding experience. The availability of advanced bonus dungeons upon completing the game adds to the replay value, ensuring prolonged enjoyment.
Comparison to Similar Games
In terms of gameplay mechanics and style, Champions of Norrath shares similarities with the highly acclaimed Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. Both games utilize a hack-and-slash combat system, offer character customization, and provide an immersive co-op experience. However, Champions of Norrath distinguishes itself with its well-integrated EverQuest universe, allowing fans of the franchise to further explore and engage with the lore and characters they are familiar with.
Champions of Norrath remains a testament to the enduring appeal of classic action RPGs. With its captivating storyline, engaging gameplay mechanics, and immersive world, the game offers an enjoyable experience for both solo adventurers and cooperative gaming enthusiasts.
The Ability Tree system provides ample opportunities for character progression and customization, allowing players to tailor their playstyle. The inclusion of secret passages, challenging boss encounters, and bonus dungeons enhances the replay value, keeping players engaged long after the initial playthrough.
- Immersive storyline set in the EverQuest universe
- Engaging hack-and-slash gameplay with strategic character progression
- Cooperative multiplayer mode for up to four players
- Ability Tree system offers flexibility in skill customization
- Varied dungeon environments and challenging boss encounters
- Bonus dungeons and secret passages increase replayability
- Limited character customization beyond initial choices
- Lack of significant impact from gender selection
- Outdated graphics compared to modern standards
- Occasional repetitive gameplay in certain areas
- Limited character transfer options in online play
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.