|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: NCSoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: NCSoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 30, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (MMOG)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Moves include walking, running, jumping, crouching, strafing, and rolling. You can lock-on to targets and change your weapons or skills to inflict the maximum damage. But your enemy can also target you if you're standing still, so it's a good idea to practice using a variety of moves while you run and gun. Most of the commands are relegated to the keys but you will fire with a left click of the mouse and access skills with a right click. It's a good system that feels good and responds naturally. There is a good deal of repetition to these moves, so you'll get a handle on it rather quickly. Fortunately, the different enemies and weapons that you'll use will keep things from getting stale.
Another interesting concept is the ability to clone your character. This time, the concept is exceptionally well executed. When you level your character, you will be forced to make a choice as to what class you wish to aspire to. As many of you can testify, this can have serious drawbacks if you find out that you're not fond of that particular class. After all, there is no way of knowing until you try it. Fortunately when you come to such a crossroad, you can clone your character with all its possessions, points, and attributes. This will then allow you to change your mind and essentially try another path without having to start the process all over again. Great idea.
The further you go in the game, the more refined your class will become. Eventually you'll be able to specialize in a certain area such as ranged or melee combat or weapons or magic. In order to progress through the game, you will have to accomplish specific objectives. Some of these objectives can be performed as a group or solo. It's more fun to be part of a group, and there are certain tasks that will require you to join a party where you will need the use of ranged specialists in addition to healers and so forth. When you have to take over territory defended by the Bane, teamwork is essential. Losing as a group means you'll have to play the mission over. Using the voice chat system, you'll be able to communicate with other players before your next attempt and discuss and adopt new strategies.
There is a moral/reputation element involved in the game, but the consequences are immediate, not far reaching. You'll be given different options at various junctions in the game, mostly to do with your behavior and reaction to other characters situations. You can choose to be less-than-scrupulous or altruistically virtuous. Your choices will have virtually no impact on the outcome of the game, but merely open a few new areas in the immediate quest.
There are some minor glitches such as collision detection issues, points failing to be awarded or distributed properly, and some slowdown. But compared to a lot of online games, that's not much to complain about. Overall the game is solid, fun, and action-packed. The production values are great with excellent graphics, animation, voicework, music, and sound effects. The game itself is almost as impressive as the cutscenes. It incorporates a lot of gameplay variety but the main focus is on combat. The kitchen-sink approach to including various gameplay elements does not make me want to wash my hands of this game.
CCC Senior Writer