This just in (Or not) – LucasArts is put on the bus

Good-bye-LucasArts

 

First THQ, then Junction Point, now LucasArts, what the heck man, what the heck… See a few days ago Game Informer broke the story on how, the now Disney owned, LucasFilm made the decision to close down their game studio LucasArts and focus on licencing due to:

 

“minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games”

 

Now I’ll be honest people I do not recall the last time LucasArts made a game that wasn’t Star Wars centered and/or really got people excited to play. That being said when they do a game that works, it works (Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, Sam & Max, Monkey Island, 48% of their Star Wars games, etc); so having this interactive entertainment company being shut down really sucks. I also find it interesting that it’s Disney once again killing these companies. Look Disney – I’ve nothing against you, I like your movies, watch some of your TV shows, and generally don’t listen to the rumors about you. But stop messing up my video games would you please, because if there’s one IP out there who has way fewer title hits than LucasArts, is yours.

 

 

Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction. It was like GTA with awesome and LucasArts made this… Sometimes life’s just not fair.

Game Review – Guild Wars 2

 

The original Guild Wars is a massively multiplayer online role playing game that had, at the time, did something no other online RPG has done before: be free to play. Sure you had to buy a copy of the game, but after that you could play and go on adventures with thousands of other player online til Doomsday – no subscription needed. Many people looked upon this with skepticism, even ridicule, but you know what? It succeeded far better than anyone could predict, well maybe not ArenaNet & NCsoft. Thanks to them more and more in the game industry are turning towards the f2p model; better profits for companies and more enjoyment for the games – a la carte gaming is on the rise. As for the creators of Guild Wars; they released a sequel to the series weeks ago, after years of equally successful DLCs and expansion packs. They’re trying to catch lightening in a bottle again, this time however by making this MMORPG break the static nature of its genre, making it more dynamic and realistic (well as realistic as a fantasy based reality can be). Does it succeed, let’s find out.

 

 

 

To be honest people I’ve played very little of the original game and know less of the mythology, but fortunately what happened in the first game doesn’t really apply towards this one. Here’s the real quick skinny: Dragons, the once great caretakers of the land of Tyria and who were in hibernation, are now awake and are threating all great races on the world. The great races were hurt by the dragons in the past individually so now they have to work together in order to survive. Those races are the Norn, Charr, Asura, Sylvari, and of course those loveable Humans; all with different ideologies, priorities, and experiences. They must put aside past (or even present) prejudges and work towards defeating the dragons or all will suffer; no matter who they are.

 

In order to change the face of MMOs Guild Wars 2 has done radial things to the standard formula, many of which I can’t list because I would be here all day. However here’s a few of the more important features. Any quest can be done cooperatively if you’re in a group or not; meaning as long as a player contributes in one way, shape or form they’ll get credit, gold, and experience points. Which is good, because another thing Guild Wars 2 does differently is that their whole world is one big random event. Almost as soon as you leave the your starting instance and enter into the world you’re greeted by an event, not a quest you get from a NPC (although they are still there too), but an event – that how well you and other players do will dictate what happens next. If you’re victorious in a phase of the event then you might go on the offensive and take it to the enemy where they live or fight the Boss or go collect mystical ‘whatevers’ from ‘someplace’. However if you lose a phase then you’ll spend the rest of the time trying to regain ground. Whether you win or lose at the end of it all, you still get unique interesting experience not often found in MMO’s. These are merely two examples on how the game really pushes the envelope to the good; and there are many, many more. However…

 

 

Ranking

 

 

The question was then, as it is now, do all these crackerjack changes work in practice as it sounds in theory? On the whole, yes. They have created one of the most impressive MMO’s I’ve played to date. The amount detail the creators put in their character models, individual effects, and the events and quests of their living world is down right staggering. Even the simplest things like resource gathering has been made convenient for all by letting every player mine the a node, chop a tree, or collect a herb without interfering or pouching from another player collecting from the same source – brilliant. But with such novel ideas, some come with a cost: the difficulty level for one. The game is relentless: pick a fight with the wrong enemy, turn down the wrong alley, or tempt fate by joining the wrong event too soon and its over. Their class system is equally tricky because they were specially made to eliminate the famed role playing trinity and thus be able to survive on their own. However thanks to the combined difficulty of crafting good equipment, finding good equipment, and the high end abilities not available til other abilities are unlocked, makes what there’s trying to do is stagnated a bit. Even the stories of player characters themselves, as diverse as they are, did nothing to make me care about them, their world, or why I should even fight to rid the world of the dragon threat.  It is these reasons (and a few more I chose to admit for fear of being a nitpicker) that this game didn’t get a perfect pass from me. The game is still incredibly good and a paradise to hardcore MMO gamers out there, but I can’t ignore what the game lacks either. It is worth $60.00? Yes. It is worth plowing through to level 80? I can’t say… It really depends on what kind of gamer you are: in my opinion Guild Wars 2 is for gamers who like challenge over emersion – who like to play the game rather than live in the world. And if that’s you then welcome home, your game has finally arrived.