8.5

Nightfall proves that the best series come in trilogies.

The original guildwars was an ambitious game with plenty to love. Factions proved that lightening may not strike twice, but every earthquake has an aftermath. Nightfall builds on the ambitious gameplay of it's predecessors in a manner that isn't nearly as great as the original, but by all means is a great game whether it's played as a standalone game or in unison with the previous Guildwars titles. If you're a fan of the previous titles than it is a must have to give your characters even more to explore. If you're new to the franchise, I'd recommend playing one of the other two titles first to see if you like it. Nightfall is good, but it is much of the same goodness with some new toys.

Welcome to Elona, a land flowing with sand, giant insects and pirates; just like the continent(s) it's based on (if you don't think the insects are big in the desert, look up camel spider). It is also in the beginning stages of a religious war between two of the nations that make up the continent, Istan and Kourna. It seems the new war leader of Kourna has taken to worshiping the outcast god known as Abaddon, who is ushering in the end for the hapless continent. Whether your a foreigner from one of the other continents or a native member of the peacekeeping organization, the sunspears, it is up to you and the small band of heroes that follow you to save the world from the darkness.

The heroes that follow you this time around are more than just henchmen. you get the joy of making them into whatever roles you want them to be, as you decide their secondary classes, attributes, skills, and even when they can and can't bring into play. The hero system is useful for the most part, but it does suffer from some drawbacks. as with the henchmen, they are never better than real players, but they do a better job than said henchmen in most cases since you dictate their level of aggression and they generally understand their roles. Also, while they are important parts of the plot, they aren't as fun as real players, so guilds still matter. You can only bring three to any level, which helps since managing them all perfectly would be hard, but is a bummer if you want an entire party to be made in your whim. Finally, they only know the skills you've unlocked, which means if you haven't spent a lick of time unlocking abilities for one profession but desperately need to use it (such as a monk), you're stuck with only basics skills to use until you invest time and money into another brand of characters. This isn't punishing, but it can be a setback if you're not an extremely dedicated gamer.

The gameplay is similar to the previous titles, if a bit easier in some aspects and harder in others. There's a lot more backtracking this time around, which means you're going to see plenty of familiar sites, especially if you're skill hunting. Speaking of skills, the game offers plenty of new skills that make for interesting combination and help aid the two newest professions, paragon and dervish. Paragons are team leaders of sorts that are good at damage reduction and moves that affect you're party. Dervishes are the opposite of this, benefiting only themselves with enchantments while using attacks that affect clusters of enemies, making them good tanks if you know what you're doing. Area of effect is more prevalent than ever thanks to the new classes, and the old ones now have skills that tie the new players in. The problem here is that skills are limited for paragons and dervishes, but not so severely that people will disregard them.

The game looks a bit more polished than before, but lacks as much diversity than the other titles. There's about five new settings. You're going to see a lot of sand, but also some more beautiful scenery. More engaging than the natural formations are the artificial ones, such as structures and the final stages. Each nation has it's own appearances and styles, making new settings enjoyable. Characters made in Elona still look wonderful, with African-styled clothing and appearance. The angelic and holy looks of the new classes are impressive.

The sound in nightfall isn't nearly as imaginative and wonderful as before, but it does the job of being robust quite well. When entering battle the music speeds up and goes to a dramatic theme, adding more than the same tunes from before. The music accompanies the feel of the game, and so does the voice acting. Characters still sound great, but there is more story telling than preferred.

Nuightfall isn't as long as the previous titles if you stick to the linear plot, but it does have a lot more to do. Bounties and titles add more reason to go hunting than just for wonderful gear. If you liked the first two you'll enjoy this game, but it is recommended that you're sure you like the previous titles. A newcomer could easily enjoy this game, but as stated before, this MMO isn't for everyone. Nightfall is a good game, whether as a standalone or an add on.

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