It's really difficult to get people interested in things that they used to be interested in. Perhaps if Lineage 2 were released twenty years from now it might find its niche as a nostalgic novelty. Unfortunately Lineage 2 is a derivative, persistent online RPG that is trying to compete with older and much better games in the genre. Lineage 2 is too little, too late.

You know the drill. Pick a class such as an elf, dwarf or orc and decide whether you would rather cast spells or wield a sword. You'll spend most of your time running into combat and running away from it. Once you accept a particular task you will journey out into the online universe where you will be confronted by various monsters and other predictable situations.

When combat takes its toll you can take it easy and regenerate your health. Hardly exciting. You won't find many interesting quests at the beginning of the game. Many of the non-playable characters are nothing but dead ends as they will inform you that you're not ready for a specific request. Often you'll find yourself collecting items and killing enemies over and over again in an attempt to earn money and points to level-up.

The weapons, outfits and other equipment is expensive. It seems like such an overwhelming task. It's like trying to purchase a Mercedes on a McDonalds salary. You know you're in for the long haul when you see how far you have to go but after a few days of redundant monster killing you'll probably feel like throwing in the towel. This is a big fault of the game. It doesn't seem to give you much incentive to continue. Even at the 12th level I found that my character was virtually indistinguishable from other characters in and around the same level. There's really nothing compelling about the gameplay.

Pathfinding is slightly flawed. Although you can point and click to where you want to go there are just too many obstacles in your character's path for him or her to navigate properly. I would like to think that my character, who can channel the mystical forces of the universe, has enough common sense to go around a fence or a tree. Not so. You have to take baby steps. It may take a dozen points of A and B to get from A to B.

One can't help but be impressed with the graphics of the various environments. Whether it's a city, village or forest, the graphics are richly detailed and realistic looking - or at least as realistic as a fantasy-based game is expected to look. The particle effects of the magic spells are mesmerizing. They dance, shimmer and swirl to let you know that something important is happening. You will also see other animated displays when you or an enemy takes a hit, something that some RPGs tend to overlook.

An interesting feature highlights, in red, any character that has killed another. It marks him or her for imminent death since other characters can now kill him or her with no penalty. The only way you can shake the red is do die over and over. Players that only hit other player will be flagged as purple. This takes the guesswork out of judging some characters' personalities and motives.

Songs are repetitive and tend to force you out of certain areas through the sheer repetitiveness. Theme music and sound effects are too obviously triggered by your character's movement and location and don't feel as though they occur naturally in the fantasy world.

The online community is not very populated and the promised siege campaign is developing very slowly.

Lineage 2 still beats sitting around watching Big Brother 5 - or whatever the hell number it's on now - but just barely.

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System: PC
Dev: NC Soft
Pub: NC Soft
Release: April 2004
Players: Mulit-Online
Review by Stew XX