This can become a very addicting game. How so? It's just plain fun! Find out more inside the review!
The story of the game is quite simple, hack and slash your way through a number of lands to defeat the great evil and save the world. Seems similar to many games doesn't it? While it may seem like Champions of Norrath is just like another Super Mario game... the story is not what makes the game great.
To start off the game has immense amount of variety. While the character customization may not be as vivid and detailed as Everquest II's, the game still allows players to choose from a number of different classes such as warrior, cleric, wizard, ranger, and others. With a decent variety of classes that match with a specific race, the game already starts out on the right foot. Despite the variety of classes, the game also features an abundance amount of equipment letting players equip their characters to many different colored clothing and many different styles of clothing. The different areas in the game are also very detailed for the PlayStation 2 and each area has a different them, for example the desert, forest, underwater, ice lands, etc. So overall the visual aspects of the game are quite pleasing with minor glitches in the graphics.
Apart from the good graphics and great starting point for the game, the gameplay is also quite good. You will basically be leveling your characters up and receiving points to upgrade your character's stats, spells, earn new spells, gain new abilities and so forth, much like a talent tree from World of Warcraft or Everquest II. Much of the gameplay however is button mashing, and hacking and slashing your way through armies of enemies while using your super powerful spells and abilities. Most of the time this can be very fun and enjoyable but when your on a side quest, it can get annoying sometimes. Other than completing quests and slashing your way through monsters and leveling up, there is not much else to the game.
The story of the game is decent, it isn't the best, but with voice overs for all characters and all scenes, it is quite impressive and does bring a very interesting story to players.
What probably makes Champions of Norrath so fun is the co-op play. The game lets you play with a max of 4 players, and if you have 4 players playing together all with the same class, or different classes, this makes the game truly fun as you will have to work together as a team to defeat enemies. If you don't have 4 other players, then there is still hope with Online Play. Luckily, online play is quite smooth and works pretty well with the occasional errors and lags, but all in all, online play is pretty good in the technical perspective.
Unfortunately, one of the worst parts about this game is the fact that the game does let you go through different stages of the game. To unlock the different stages of the game, you have to beat the game on the first difficulty level first. After beating the first difficulty level you may advance to the next difficulty level. The positive side to this is that you can keep your character that you had for playing through the game for the first part and continue to level him or her up as merchants will sell higher higher level equipment and monsters will be much harder to defeat assuming that you have already gained a large amount of levels through the first play through. The negative side of this though is that you will have to replay the entire story over again from beginning to end, and the story does not change. So if you really want to see your character ever reach level 30 or 40, you will have to play through the game at least 2 times. To get to level 50 that will require you to play through it 3 times. Hence, if you only play through it once and reach level 20, you will never see your full character develop with its more powerful equipment, abilities and spells. This does make it a burden to go through the whole story again just to see your character gain levels, but if you enjoy hacking and slashing, it should not be too much of a problem especially if your not doing it alone.
The difficulty of the game solemnly depends on how many people you have playing with you. If your playing alone, it could prove to be a challenge as you will be the only character playing and there will not be any computer controlled characters other than the occasional CPU's. If you have friends playing with you, it can prove to be much more enjoyable and easier.
If you would want to compare this game to anything, I'd compare it a lot to the X-Men games or the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games, only that here you will not have computer controlled characters. Overall, Champions of Norrath is a great game for anyone, but an excellent game for a group of people. With its minor flaws that really keep it from being a perfect game and its fun gameplay and visual aspects, this game is definitively worth a play and is rated as a 9.0 (Superb).
Senior Gamespot Member