User Rating: 8.4 | Shadowbane PC
Shadowbane has a few strong points and a few weak points. The weak point everyone focuses on is the graphics. Yes, they aren't up the likes of Asheron's Call 2 but they are better than the original Everquest. The spell effects can look very good and the amount of detail on armor and weapons is significant. Another thing constantly overlooked in reviews of shadowbane's graphics is the ambience. This game has tons of ambience. Everything from rolling fog in the bogs to wind swept sand in the desert. This immensely adds to the feel of the game. The level of advancement is refreshing. It's very easy to find a group and the classes are incredibly varied. You can also tell a lot of thought was put into each class's usefulness. They also put a lot of thought into the annoying 'busy work' of other games. Now you can go out and have fun without having to build 100 arrows before you can use your bow. You can also build cities. Different cities will have different looks depending on the government type involved and favored classes. The Mage guild hall is a mage tower, the priest guild hall is a church. Apparently there are 10 different 'looks' and governments that I have located. There might be more. Disciplines are also a nice addition. This will let you round out your character. I have run across a few werebears and wererats. Some seem more popular than others but then the game is but a few weeks old. The PVP aspects seem well thought out considering I never thought I would like a game with pvp as a focal point. While adventuring my group has come across a few thieves. Sometimes they are successful and sometimes they aren't. If you have a scout in your group the thief has a much harder time. This adds a definite new addition to gameplay when forming adventuring parties. It also doesn't seem to suffer from the mass of PK's that Ultima Online had in it's early release. Overall, the game is a little rough around the edges but they are being smoothed out. It doesn't have the graphics of Asheron's Call 2 but it has a lot more diversity in gameplay. It doesn't have the crafting and in game story/questing depth as Everquest but it's much faster paced and has city building. Mix in the city building of Ultima Online. Add the character generation, item randomization, and some of the character generation/advancement of Diablo 2. Add in the class variety of Dark Age of Camelot. Then add in a healthy mix of well thought out pvp. The result is a game that isn't the top of it's class technically but is a whole lot of fun.