|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hi-Rez Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Hi-Rez Studios||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 12, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: MMO||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
PvP is still a fun experience, and the large scale battles are still interesting. In Sandstorm, Hi-Rez has seemed to favor PvE, but PvP is still a fun part of the experience. I found myself bouncing around back and forth between the two play options. They both serve as a nice respite from the other. If you're sick of preordained encounters, then switch to the mayhem and chaos on PvP.
The problem with the PvE content is it's extremely cliché. There are a sparse few encounters in Global Agenda's new questing environments that amount to more than the extremely tired questing formula of kill X wombats or bring back X number of wombat claws, ultimately leading up to bring back the head of the wombat king.
It's certainly worth noting, though, that top to bottom, this game is gorgeous. I said earlier it's only on par with some of the new World of Warcraft stuff, but that should be thought of as a compliment to both games. Global Agenda is a graphical powerhouse in the MMO genre and Sandstorm continues that tradition. Even the barren desert location the questing opens in is rather full.
Other games present you with a vast emptiness, filled with randomly generated monsters, but Global Agenda takes a smarter approach. Not only are there lots of good looking landmarks, but the terrain is also varied. There are mini-platforming challenges for those who would rather scale a cliff face than walk around. This sort of thing keeps the action fresh and keeps the player from focusing too much on the combat (thus tiring of it more quickly).
Will Global Agenda: Sandstorm buff the franchise enough to gain a critical mass of players? Probably not, but that's unfortunate because it certainly offers enough of a unique experience that it should attract lots of players. Its principle problem has been it lacks focus. The original game had an identity crisis. Was it an MMO or a multiplayer third-person shooter? Sandstorm clarifies this dilemma and shows Hi-Rez's dedication to making Global Agenda a top-flight MMO. The problem is it's only now feeling like a full-fledged experience. Most of what has been added feels like it should have been there all along.
There's a certain class of people that will enjoy this game. Shooter fans will likely get a thrill out of this convergence of MMO and third-person, class-based action. However, most MMO fans probably wont find enough new ideas to challenge their current MMO of choice.
CCC Freelance Writer