Playing in the world of Guild Wars 2 is a really great feeling. Everything is really laid out well. Like we have come to expect from an MMO, you have your powers at the bottom of the screen, each with a hot key bound to them, so if you press 1 you would attack with a power and so on. Travelling is very well done. As you explore the map you will discover Way Points which show up on the map. Once activated you can warp to them whenever you want from wherever you are in the world, which gets rid of the need for mounts of any description. Also on your map you will find Skill Challenges along with Points of Interest and Vistas. There are a set number in each area, these are there to help you get Skill Points which, as you collect them, lets you get new powers, but as you would expect you will have to do something to earn the skill point and most of them you do, are to fight something else, or just a simple – explore that location. Vistas give you a nice cinematic flyby of the location you have just arrived at. Points of Interest are locations where things are happening. This is a really interesting idea, as it makes you explore more of the map and also adds to the time you’re playing the game.
Along with all this exploring you will be doing the questing system, which is amazingly good. I think this is the future of questing in MMOs. For those who don’t know, here is an overview of how we quest in today’s MMOs. So say I’m playing WoW, and I go into a new area. You will have what has been coined as a Quest Hub section. This is where all the quests will be for your level, this will normally be a town, city, campsite or corner shop. Whatever it is, you will pick them all up in one go, filling your quest log or as close as you can and then you will go out and finish all of them and then bring them back in to get the huge amount of XP, and off you go to the next load of quests. Now Guild Wars 2 has changed all that. You have what they call ‘Your Story’, which will take you through the game giving you your own personal quest-line, and it really gives you the feeling that you matter in this world, and that the actions you take affect it in some small way. This is your main source of XP. Alongside that you have the Event System, this is another great idea, which again I think, will crop up in other MMOs in the future. In locations around the map are golden hearts, in these locations are objectives that you can take part in with other people who are around. These objectives can be as simple as protect an area or escort a group of people across the map. This really gives you feeling and depths to this world, and that anything could happen while you are adventuring.
As with many games most people will look at the graphics before anything else and Guild Wars 2 is a feast for the eyes. As with the first game, ArenaNet they pushed the fold of the current technology. All this eye candy does come at a cost, and you will need a pretty beefy machine to get the most out of it, but it will run and looks amazing on low and medium settings. ArenaNet have really made this world look so nice. The textures, and the lighting effects are simply outstanding, I’ve found myself just simply walking around looking at the different areas and being amazed at how well this all looks. As a side note, there are so many different options in the graphics menu, which i think is great, you can really tweak to get the most out of your machine and graphics card.
To go along with the great graphics you have the great soundtrack. Music is used very well all the way through the game and it never gets old, which it sometimes can do when you spend so much time with one game. The Guild Wars Franchise is well known for its music in the game, and it has spawned so many soundtracks from the original to the point that I forsee that you will be able to buy the Guild Wars 2 soundtrack soon.
Overall Guild Wars 2 is an amazing game which will keep you coming back for more and more. It has been a long time since I got this excited about an MMO, but this feels new. It doesn’t seem to have copied any other MMOs out there, which really makes a change as the PC platform is knee deep in MMOs. So if you’re after something new and don’t want to pay a monthly fee like other MMOs, Guild Wars 2 is the game for you, and as it’s a new game the community is still growing, and new guilds are forming all the time. Now is a good time to play, and with new expansions, hopefully, in the works, this great game is really one to watch.
Reviewed on PC
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