Lords of EverQuest
Never Mind the Dungeon & Dragons fanatics... according to Sony Online, they're expendable. At odds with the wildly popular game that inspired it, you don't have to put up with a single one's whining about tensided die in the real-time strategy game Lords Of EverQuest, the first solo-orientated title in the series. Well, assuming the six multiplayer levels that accommodate upwards of a dozen individuals don't tempt you.
Sidle up then, and let uncle spin you a tale of the Lost Age, 10,000 years back from the current EverQuest timeline. It seems rogue god Rallos Zek couldn't play nice, sending armies of giants, ogres and goblins out to Norrath. However, he forgot something during the careful planning, namely, an entire pantheon of pissed off deities, who soundly defeated the upstart and cursed his armies with stupidity. Now, scant seasons later, 15 lords whose allegiances are split between three factions search for an artifact lost in the ensuing chaos. While searching for this tome, said to possess the ability to grant its bearer divine powers, they'll do battle against each another in spectacularly brutal fashion. Embarking upon a remarkable exercise in real-time strategy as one of these individuals, you'll find a hard road lies ahead.
Unless, of course, you happen to be a Warcraft III fan. We welcome compansons to Blizzard's ten-ton gorilla," suggests producer James Parker. The game sold what, a million copies?" It's obvious to us that Lords Of EverQuest does play like the current champion of strategic desktop conquests, with players encountering numerous NPCs and story-driven sequences throughout a 36-mission campaign. Where the games differ though is in scope. The current title sports not only hundreds of collectible items, units that grow in experience and carry over between scenarios, but truly immense levels as well. Take the largest map in Age Of Mythology, Warcraft III and Command & Conquer: Generals suggests Parker. Add 'em up and you still don't have the size of our biggest corker."
A good point, but one that may be moot; given the intricate rules governing combat, your forces could easily be wiped out long before crossing each landscape. All's fair in a scenario where little details such as killing mounted riders or dispatching of the beasts which carry them separately from one another are taken into utmost consideration. And that's before an armchair general can even consider troop types like the Clockwork Spider or Recruiter, who can convert neutral buildings into fully operational unit production facilities.
Still, the prospect of a solo EverQuest might rub some the wrong way. Not to fear, says Parker. This isn't a game for fans of the original, but rather the 14 million or so RTS fans out there. We couldn't care less if they've ever been online... and why should it matter? Maybe so, but if the company can't make good on its promises, we know several hundred thousand gamers who'd beg to differ. We'll have more on Lords Of EverQuest very soon.
Everquest has acquired the moniker EverCrack' in certain quarters, due to its notorious and sometimes life-destroying addictiveness. Its fantasy-filled perpetual world proves too good to leave behind for some weak-willed gamers, leading to loss of friends, loss of jobs, and in one case, loss of life. So you might approach this real-time strategy spin-off with some trepidation, wary of getting sucked into a world you won't be able to pull yourself out of. But fear not. This strategy-lite franchised brand extension may have its charms, but it won't have you spellbound for long.
The action is set 10,000 years ago in the same over-the-top magical land of the online game. We're talking golden-haired amazons with knockers like space hoppers, and bearded barbarians with impossible musculature. A sort of lurid Lord Of The Rings.
The three single-player campaigns tell the story of three factions; the evil Shadowrealm, the Elddar alliance of Elves, men and halflings, and the barbarians and dwarves that make up the Dawn Brotherhood.
Each campaign kicks off with you choosing a hero to play through with. From Elven rangers, to halfling rogues, all the character classes that veterans of the RPG would expect are present. The choice you make here is a big one, because the hero you select stays with you, gaining experience until the campaign is concluded - as do all the troops you command.
The gameplay is that of any number of RTS titles: platinum mines habitually decorate the maps, and it's from these that your workers extract the game's only resource to fund the construction of buildings and new units. Because these mines are soon depleted, you're constantly searching for new ones to make good your losses in battle. The range of buildings and units available is extremely limited, as are units - in line with Lords Of EverQuest's simplified take on the genre.
Instead, the focus of your strategic husbandry is firmly on the preservation of your troops. This is because not only are numbers usually limited, but keeping them alive long enough to progress up levels, acquiring new abilities and increased statistics as they go, is key.
But it's in this system of experience-gathering troops that the game's strong point and fatal flaw uncomfortably co-exist. Nurturing troops is satisfying, and there is a touch of that simple RPG-like desire to play on for just one more level-up'. But what this system also means is that the one overriding combat tactic is simply to keep your important troops from dying. All units regain health over time, so the simple trick is to constantly withdraw units whose health dips in battle so they live to fight another day, thus advancing through the levels. Remember this and you'll never struggle.
Missions in LOE are designed to give you the feeling that you're part of an epic adventure. Characters you meet may join you, attack you or set you a sub-quest which, if completed will make your main task easier. Unexpected events untold and new objectives are thrown at you, though with scripted regularity. Your Al opponents don't collect resources or construct buildings and resources. You're never up against a strategy or anything approaching a thinking opponent. Groups of enemy troops litter the map waiting to be activated by your approach. So there really is seldom any need for a strategy of your own. Simply producing troops and keeping them alive as long as possible is enough for most of LOE'S challenges.
The engine enables you to tilt the camera and zoom to ground level, or to pull out for an overhead view. The viewpoint cannot be panned or rotated, though, meaning troops are inevitably obscured behind buildings and trees. Scottish-accented clansmen swing their maces with aplomb, archers draw their bows elegantly and magic users conjure flames, lightning, gasses and other enchanted fireworks. But the overall effect is fairly poor. The difficulty in telling who's who in a full-on ruck means most of the time your eyes are on the tab displaying all the troops currently selected, making sure you can pull out each one as his health dips to keep him alive.
Most would agree that franchising in games is the enemy of Innovation. And LOE conforms to the maxim fully. While it can be an amusing, undemanding RTS experience with plenty of fighting for a short
Lords Of Minutiae
The Level Of Detail In The Individual Characters Is Lost In A Game Of This Scale
Every unit is rated for a range of statistics beloved by fantasy gamers, from elemental resistance to mana. Units also have special abilities, some of which they use automatically, others which you have to trigger. Stats increase as units advance through the levels, and when they hit level six, they can be 'knighted' giving them increased powers and an aura that benefits nearby friendlies. But while this level of individual detail is everything when you're leading a party of three in a heroic role-playing adventure, when you're dealing with a small army of grunts, you really couldn't care less who among them has a slightly better resistance to poison.
Processor: PC compatible,
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode