Excerpt: Usually we identify good videogames by the time that we spend with them. After all, if we spend loads of time playing a game, then it follows that the game is quality, right? Right? I'm not so sure. Even if a game compels us to play it, that doesn't necessarily means that the game is compelling. Spending hours reading Harlequin romances or watching old Transformers episodes is hardly an indication that the media involved is noteworthy. The human mind is easily entrapped.
Excerpt: When Snowblind Studios unleashed Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance on PS2 owners back in December of 2001, the results were largely positive. The title, which was a more action-oriented RPG than its PC namesake, allowed console owners to hack and slash their way through the famous Dungeons & Dragons setting. Dark Alliance garnered positive reviews and has since spawned a sequel-but developer Snowblind has moved on.
Excerpt: When a little known studio named Snowblind combined the addictive nature of Diablo -style hack-n-slash gameplay with the mythology from Dungeons and Dragons' Forgotten Realms series (which also spawned the Baldur's Gate games on the PC), the only thing anyone could really comment on was the water. This is in no way a reflection on the game, since it still ranks as one of the best of the PS2s early line-up, but the water just looked that good.
Excerpt: Champions of Norrath ( CoN ) places a player smack dab into the middle of familiar hack and slash RPG territory. CoN looks and feels like the Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance series, but CoN elevates the gameplay to a compelling level in graphically stunning outdoor settings and randomly-generated dungeons. Expect to spend more time to finish this game than normally required for an action RPG, for there are 50 quest oriented levels that need exploring and conquering.
Summary: Combining action and RPG elements, SOE's
EverQuest spin off Champions of Norrath is a solid adventuring title that offers
plenty of depth and exciting gameplay. The single player game is exciting and
challenging but online component is especially impressive allowing for 4 player
simultaneous play, real-time voice communication and more. The solid graphics
engine is impressive with excellent animations and environmental effects making
for a great looking title.
Excerpt: I am not sure if Interplay likes or hates Snowblind Studios. Just as Interplay was releasing their amazing title "Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II" from developer Snowblind, Sony was releasing Champions of Norrath by them as well. And get this, at least as far as the interface is concerned, the games are pretty much identical.
Conclusion: So the gameplay isn't a huge leap over its predecessors in the genre, but where Norrath really shines is in its depth and options. These dungeon crawlers are often called RPG-lites or action-RPGs because, though they share a lot of elements with the traditional RPGs, what they offer in the way of role-playing rarely feels like an actual role-playing game. Norrath changes that, and it does so with a vengeance.