Deeper, better than Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. Serious RPG-ers will love it. Average players will like it, too.

User Rating: 9 | Champions of Norrath PS2
Champions of Norrath ROCKS !!
It has beautiful graphics, a very deep story line, and is quite addictive. It's full of great gameplay, as well as a few tedious "will I ever get this area finished" moments, but overall it's an awesome game. In my opinion it ranks right up there with Diablo II for replay. I'll be playing this game for a few years.

That's the short version.

The in-depth review:

I found myself so drawn in by the game that I would forfeit sleep on a regular basis. The last games that demanded this much attention from me were Diablo II - single player, and Final Fantasy IX. And with 3 difficulty settings, there's LOTS of replay value.

The game is a lot of fun, the story is very deep, and even though it plays out the same for each character, the abilities and weapons of each one causes battles to be a little different for each character. There are items that only certain character types can use or wear. The graphics change to suit the type of character chosen, making for some interesting visuals. There are 5 character types, and each has male and female versions, which adds interesting qualities as well. There is no "guys are tougher than girls" in this game. A female Warrior and a male Warrior have the exact same stats and capabilities. Same armour, but the design is appropriate to gender.

The level graphics are quite beautiful. Areas to explore are large, lush, often very detailed. There will be areas you'll want to go to, but the somewhat linear paths will keep you from reaching them. Not everything can be moved or touched, but you'll find breakables and chests in many side areas, and often they'll contain items you may need later on, so take the time to explore.

The boss battles are frequent in Norrath, and they can be rather tough early on. You'll often die twice before killing the early bosses, and there's usually more than one per area. There are many little dungeons to explore, and some gamers may choose to skip them. Don't. They are worth the experience and the items you could get. Many times you'll upgrade more easily, and they give you a chance to try out different battle tactics. Consider them mini-training-games. And in some cases you have to clear out these mini-dungeons or you can't move forward in the game.

Multi-player is fun, but restrictive: You can Import any character from any memory card (even the same card), but gameplay is limited to both of your characters being in the same general area. With no split-screen capability, there's no "I'll go left, you go right" in this game. I was instantly reminded of Diablo 1 for PlayStation, and Gauntlet Dark Legacy. Your characters must progress in tandem. And if one of you teleports to the in-town shop to sell or buy stuff, the other character goes with you immediately.

Which brings me to an interesting thing you can do with this game...
It's possible to take more with you than your character can carry, from one Act to the next. I'll explain in a moment.
For the item collectors out there - take note: Proceeding to the next Act in the game will lock you out of the previous Act forever. Pack your character full of the items you can't live without BEFORE you SAVE at the beginning of the next Act.

Example: In the first Act there's the GIANT Spider the Uber Orc leaves for you to fight, and she will give you one HELL of a battle ! After you kill her - and you'll die more than once trying - if you proceed down the stairs you will enter Act II. Don't. Instead, teleport to town and gather your gear beforehand. Sell off or leave behind what you don't really need (money drops increase in amount in Act II) then go down the stairs, and prepare to leave new item drops on the ground until you reach the new in-town area. Once you can save, you can go back and retrieve, if you wish.

If you have more than you can carry, there's a "back door" of sorts:
You can "transfer" items from the previous area, but you need to have it backed up on a different memory card or it's lost forever. Transfers involve 2 controllers and Importing a character from a previous save. That import must be wearing or carrying what you want to transfer, then drop it to the ground in front of your main character in the new area. It's time consuming, but sometimes worth it. There are Rune-like items that can enhance standard gear, and multiples of these are worth the effort.

At the end of Act IV your Boss Battle is Innoruk himself. Once he's defeated it's Game Over. So load up what you worked your tail off to keep before you battle him. He'll drop a couple of items you'll want, and you can choose to swap out part of your pack. Once you exit the area after he's defeated the game AUTO Saves as a Completed Game save. Bear that in mind.

And that's my review. This game Rocks, and it's well worth the money. If you're a casual gamer looking for a quick run-through, you'll need to find a different game. This one is time consuming.