I was a bit nervous before playing Lineage II. After all, MMORPGs have never really been my cup of tea: you have to pay monthly to play them, which I feel is sacrilegious; and you can never really FINISH them. I love games with high replay value, but I also want to know that eventually reach an end. But Lineage II proved to be different. Good or bad? Well, you’ll have to continue reading to find out.
First, before I get into the normal subjects such as graphics, game play and the like, I’d like to talk about the installation, upkeep, and account registration. Since this is a MMORPG, I feel these are things prospective players would like to know.
The installation of the game is fairly straight forward. It’s a two-disc set, and installs just like any other product. The nicest feature of the installation program is that after everything is installed, the game runs an auto-update feature to make sure you have all current updates. I’ll warn you, this part takes a bit of time (at least 5 or 10 minutes), but at least you don’t have to worry about manually updating the game. The auto-update feature can be ran every time you launch the game. The game is rather hefty, though: nearly 3 gigs of space is required. Overall, the installation procedure is very easy to use (as easy as any game/application with an installation wizard), and the game’s upkeep is very easy as well, with the auto-update feature.
Registration of Lineage II is very straightforward. After installation and updating is complete, you go to the game’s website (a shortcut is provided in the program folder) and create an account with the company. Yes, the company, not the game. To do this, you provide the standard info – name, credit card info, address for billing, etc. – and then you enter your product registration key? in this case, the key provided with Lineage II. You are then presented with a few billing options: you can pay $14.95 monthly, and the highest option is a yearly fee. I went with the monthly fee, because the first month of play is actually free. This is a nice incentive to play the game: try it, and if you like it, great! If not, just uninstall and deactivate your account.
Overall, I found the setup procedure of the game very easy and straightforward. Now moving on to core issues: graphics, sound, game play: those features which make a game!
The graphics in this game are very impressive. I chose to play as an elf warrior named “misshotpants,” (who says creation is dead in video games?) and the tree land you begin in is quite breathtaking. Lineage II actually uses the Unreal engine, so it’s no surprise that the game looks like a million bucks. The right mouse button, when held in, allows the player to rotate the camera, and you can also zoom in and out. This is lots of fun to do, and each of the characters and environments within the game shows off the engine and the talent of the art team. If anything is lacking in the graphics department, (and what I’m about to say is lacking in the game as a whole) is the selection of characters. You can choose between 5 class types (more on these later), with a warrior/mage choice for each, as well as male/female. That’s it. Also, the only options available with which to edit your character is hair color, one body type for male/female (though your male/female character will look a bit different if you’re a warrior or mage type, but that means only 2 body types, which isn’t much better), a few face styles? and that’s it. The diversity is lacking quite a bit.
Overall: 8.5 / 10
The characters in the game are fun to play as, but there just aren’t that many. The available choices are human, elf, dark elf, (drow) dwarf, and orc. While you’ll have fun picking your class and gender type, there just aren’t enough choices. If any genre has a multitude of creature types to choose from, it’s fantasy. The choices are endless, and Lineage II just doesn’t represent that. However, once you hit level 40 you can branch off into different types so this ups the diversity of the characters a bit, which is the only thing that saved me from scoring this aspect of the game really low.
Overall: 6 / 10
Music / SFX
The BGM in this game is very well done. The music is different depending on your class type, which is a nice touch. (Example: light and melodious for elves, dark and brooding for drow.) The game really draws you in with its score as you play, and never becomes a burden in the least. The SFX are also done very well, with nice THUNK sounds for landing a hit on a enemy, and the ambiance is great as well.
Overall: 10 / 10
Lineage II is very fun to play, but it suffers from the same problems as any MMORPG. When you first start off, there’s the typical “go outside the nice, safe fortress and kill some big scary SQUIRRELS!” to get you started. So I go out, kill the wolves, bring back the items they drop, and wow, I have completed my first quest. It’s this kind of thing that doesn’t reek of awesomeness and originality, but hey, it’s still fun. Playing the game is very easy, and makes the experience enjoyable. You click on the ground to move, you double-click on an object to interact with it, (i.e., double-click on an NPC to talk/trade/whatever, double-click on an enemy to engage it in combat). PVP play is also very encouraged: if someone decides to walk up to you and kill you? well, it’s that simple. They just can. You have to be on your guard, as there are some nasty players out there. Of course the PKers will eventually get their come-upance. If you go around killing innocent characters too often, you’ll turn red, which basically means you’re a murderer. This will affect your karma points, which you have to work off in order to become “white” again. When you’re red, anyone can attack you? and they will, because being red = being a jerk, and hey? nobody likes a jerk, right? Lvling up (I just love RPG abbreviations, don’t you?) is very well done: levels 2 ? 10 = very easy, 11 ? 25 = rather quick, and 25+ = long and strenuous. The game makes you work for your higher levels.
Overall: 8 / 10
Overall score: 8 / 10
In summary, this is a very good game, and will hold your attention for quite a while. I do recommend you join a good clan to fully enjoy the game, as this is a MMORPG and teamwork/comraderie are definitely encouraged. Therefore, it is through a clan that you’ll most enjoy the game. Just remember that PKers are out there, and this game isn’t for softies! Other than that, I fully recommend picking the game up? until World of WarCraft, that is. =)