Guild Wars Factions Review (PC)

Guild Wars, an epic fantasy or a multiplayer disaster? Can it compare to the other top players in this genre or is it a hopeless task? Well, after some serious testing and playing for hours on end, I think I may have the answer.

We are welcomed into the world with stunningly beautiful scenery, vivid colours and vast areas, a general must for any MMORPG really. As usual there are plenty of options available for you to tune the game to the specifics of what you need or want. Unless you want to suffer some of the worst graphics around, this can be a strain on the technologically challenged systems.

The character models are quite smooth too, there are few faults (except the usual clipping issues with the clothing) so again, it adds another eye pleasing aspect to the game. Not much to say about these really, they are as good as most MMORPG models.

Loading times when you start are abit much, but that is because when you first enter a new area you have to download the data first, so I suggest you don’t run much else on the internet for those with slower connections. However much this might sound a pain, it does make up for the small initial install consisting of two disks (which games like World of Warcraft take five disks to install) and once you have downloaded an area, it’s done, so you can freely load that area without the need to download more. This aspect I did see as a good means to easily add new areas to the game without having to buy a new expansion pack. Whether they do it that way or not is another matter.

Now, in my personal opinion, once all the general graphics, models and textures have been done, the graphical effects can make or break the game. I enjoy good graphical effects (or anything shiny) and so these are the most appealing to me. Fortunately for the game, I approve of the effects, in fact not only that, I am also quite impressed. Okay, they are not in a world of their own (so to speak) but they are none the less an excellent addition to keep everything flowing visually.

The game sounds very good, it has a nice collection of ambient sounds for those long journeys and it also does not skimp on the voice over (which is very good for any game). The quality of these is good enough to be immersed in the virtual world for hours on end…

Though for once, music is not the biggest issue. Normally music is a key part to not losing interest, sitting there in complete silence. Thing is that once you get into the game you tune out everything else and while the game does have some excellent musical tracks most the time you are not even aware it is playing because you are concentrating too much on playing.

Guild Wars: Factions is yet another Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) with a difference, the monthly costs don’t exist unlike other MMORPG which cost x amount each month. Guild Wars has the benefit of not costing more then the initial cost of the game. Which I found to be an instant upside to the game, especially for those who do not want to pay the extra money. Unfortunately you are made aware that you don’t pay monthly by the fact that you are limited to 5 characters. Not too bad I suppose, I have not stuck with more then 2 or 3 characters for any game at once, so 5 should be plenty for some. However, if you are someone who likes rushing the characters through to have one for every occasion, you may need to double up their abilities.

Right from the get-go, I was immediately impressed by the opening movie; I mean it what spurred me to continue into the game. I was well-made with lots of flashy effects (which I was easily impressed with). Once that was done, the login screen comes along. Creating an account is easy enough, nothing to it, and best of all they do not ask for any billing details so there is no fear there for the over cautious. Though again, even the login was good, though it does get a little boring watching the sea from different camera angles… but at least it is not 2D!

When it comes to the character creation screen, there is a lot of fun to be had due to the amount of customisation, I mean – you even get to choose your height (though it is limited to the race you choose). Following that, you get to chose plenty of other options too.

Once the game is started the fun beings (no pun intended). It’s a little tricky to get the hang of first off, though it won’t take too long to master, especially with the helpful click-move. Unlike other massively multiplayer online games I have played, this one has a quick tutorial when you start, which is helpful. Better yet, this is a tutorial where you complete goals and follow instructions rather then read a block of text the size of the bible trying to understand what is what…

Now considering that is just in the beginning, the game continues to hold your interest… without spoiling the game for all you fans out there, this is a vast world with plenty of things to keep you all happy and amused for hours on end (it did for me).

There are a few other aspects that make the game that little bit better, such as special events that occur every so often. When I started, I got to enjoy an even that was currently giving out double the amount of item drops then usual. These events are quite interesting and enjoyable to participate in.

Now the only issue I had when playing Guild Wars, was the fact that I had been severely playing World of Warcraft before hand, so after being used to World of Warcraft’s way of things, is was easier to criticize Guild Wars for the differences in comparison. However after playing for a little while I managed to free myself (temporality) from the World of Warcraft mindset and find some unique aspects that only Guild Wars offers.

Overall, I would have to say that Guild Wars: Factions is a good investment for your own entertainment. It’s got everything that any good MMORPG has, without the monthly costs. Obviously there are a few limitations such as only having 5 characters, but that’s not too much of a problem. I was personally impressed all-in-all.

Top Game Moment:
Blasting through rows of enemies with the power of fire and lightning.