Guild Wars 2 review

Guild Wars 2: one of the most anticipated games of the year

"There's something in the water...!" exclaims a frightened villager. I look out to the shoreline, where some gigantic shadow swirls ominously. The waters churn and moments later, a zombified dragon the size of a 747 airplane bursts forth, roaring and showering us adventurers with chunks of what can only be described as zombie dragon flesh. The ground shakes when the dragon lands and more diabolical shapes rise out of the water, among them a small army of zombie pirates clambering their way towards the helpless village behind us. The only thing that stands in their way are a handful of rag tag adventurers whose last notable activity was figuring out which pair of leather pants matched their boots.

"Tequatl the Sunless is here!" screams a warrior, and charges headlong to meet the horde. Moments later, we join him. More adventurers pour in to face the beast and its minions. Soon, there are fireballs flying, the cracks of rifles, flashing swords and zombie limbs flailing in all directions. One of Tequatl's mighty claws squashes an adventurer flat into the watery ground. All the time I’m thinking – if this is one of the medium-sized dragons in the game, how big are the large ones? 

This is a typical night for Guild Wars 2, a new game from ArenaNet for the PC. Guild Wars 2 is an open-world massively multi-player online (MMO) game that supports hundreds of players at once all adventuring around the fantasy world of Tyria. 

Selling close to half a million copies on the opening week, Guild Wars 2 is a revolutionary game that parents and spouses of gamers have been dreading all summer -- it turns seemingly normal, functioning citizens into half-crazed, sleep-deprived gaming fiends overnight. It's so addictive that one can imagine some poor sod in a net cafe keeling over from dehydration after a 48-hour gaming spree. 

Guild Wars 2 : the features

Guild Wars 2 is an action role playing game where hundreds of players are all trying to defeat the insidious forces of the Elder Dragons: vast elemental beings much akin to the Titans of Greek myth.

The game itself features a vast open world for the players to explore. Players can choose to play characters from various races, including Charr, an aggressive race of horned, bipedal feline creatures, and Sylvari, a race of humanoid plant creatures. 

Guild Wars 2 also boasts a player versus player (PvP) system where teams of eight fight for control over various maps in your traditional king of the hill style of play. There are also epic open world battles where hundreds of players duke it out over a vast battlefield with siege weapons like trebuchets and catapults to take over supply camps, forts and keeps.

 

While visually stunning, the game market is saturated with many other MMO games. So how will the average consumer set this game apart from all the others? 

First steps into high fantasy

Justin: As someone who doesn’t normally play MMOs, what made you stay inside from Vancouver’s glorious weekend weather to play Guild Wars 2?

Steve: I was surprised by how many people were talking about this game. I never got into World of Warcraft or other games of this genre but I heard this game was revolutionary. MMOs don’t usually appeal to me. 

Justin: What don't you like about MMOs and what makes this one so different? 

Steve: The constant pain of paying for a monthly subscription left me with a guilty feeling when I didn't have time to play MMOs. It always ended up turning the feeling of playing the game into a feeling of working to play the game. It felt like a job.

Guild Wars 2, meanwhile, has no subscription fee and it allows me to explore the game at my own pace. I think that's what a lot of gamers need, especially if they're new to this type of genre.

Justin, you're a hardcore MMO player, what do you think Guild Wars 2 does better than all your previous MMO experience?

Justin: The main thing for me is the near elimination of the grind. A lot of MMO games can feel very repetitious: go out, kill ten goblins, come back -- continuing doing the same tasks ad nauseam. That gets really boring, really fast.

GW2’s dynamic event system in really is the selling point for me. When a village is attacked by bandits, you can see a score of bandits charging in over the hill, attacking and killing the villagers. If you don't stop them, they will actually wipe out and take over the village and you won't be able continue in that area until you liberate the village from the bandits. Your quests and events you partake in have a tangible impact on your world.

Steve: I’m also surprised at how much game is available to the player, straight out of the door. It's a massive game that's divided into two main portionSteve: story content and player vs player battles. I was floored by the variety of play style options presented to players

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