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Champions of Norrath releases on the 11th...


Romier S
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Ok Folks, Champions of Norrath releases on the 11th (ships the 10th) and I want to get a Wednesday game together. We are talking 4 players online at a time here so if more than 4 join up we'll split rooms up accordingly. If your buying the game and want in just post.

 

Start time will be in the 8-9pm range and will last as long as we are able too. ;)

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Its pretty much just a deeper Baldurs Gate:DA with online + a bunch of other cool features. I played the demo and feel like if you enjoyed BG:DA then you cant really go wrong with this one unless there is just not enough of it. I might be getting it but I am not 100% sure yet. I have not read the review but I think they gave it 4 1/2 stars in OPM. I am wondering if there is chat or not..?..?? I would hope so. That might be my desiding factor. But then again we could always use XBOX LIVE chat.. Ill keep my eye on this post for "lobby" or "game names" if I get it.

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Those who played, what do you think so far?

 

Some thoughts for you in a bullet point format:

 

-The online interface is problematic in some instances. It comes down to you having to preplan any outings with your friends since you cannot join a game that is in progress. You all need to be present in the lobby before the host hits the "Start Game" option.

 

-4 players maximum online. You can start public or private games. Anyone joining your private game needs to type in the game name exactly as it was entered when the game was created. Again they must join while other players are in the lobby.

 

-There is no voice chat in the lobby, however in game there is full voice without the need to press a button to speak.

 

-Voice quality ranges from somewhat good to terribly staticy and downright unintelligible at times. The closer the person is to the mic the worse it will sound. The game does include a range of mic options that you can change to improve the sound range and more.

 

-When any one player exits a building or dungeon all players exit. Same goes for entering shops. If any one player enters the shop, everone else does as well. However you can immediately close out of the shop when you wish without affecting other players in the game.

 

Thankfully besides these two limitations players are free to roam on thier own without being restricted to having everyone on screen at the same time. Much easier to cover ground in a dungeon this way.

 

-There is no type of secure trade screen in the game. If you want to trade items you need to drop them on the floor and have the other player pick them up. A bit of a sad omission IMHO since it leaves the possibility of playing in a public game quite disconcerting to say the least. Anyone could just come up and ninja loot what you drop and you have no other alternative but to ask the host to kick the player and eat the fact that you lost the item.

 

-Character creation allows for some nice customization. Moreso than any other recently released game in this genre. You can choose from a male or female variant. You can change skin color, hair color, facial hair etc. You can also name your avatar as well.

 

-The game looks GORGEOUS. Completely blows away Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance II and Fallout Brotherhood of Steel. Textures in game are absolutely razor sharp and the almost bump mapped definition is really just pure eye candy. Character and enemy models have some really nice small detailing such as armor etching and facial tics. Animation is very smooth and only some enemies exhibit any kind of stunted movement and those are few and far between. The framerate can dip a bit when there are multiple enemies on screen but it never once affected gameplay and to be honest the framerate dips are really quite minor.

 

-The soundtrack is excellent featuring some really nice melodies that serve the story well and enhance the atmosphere. The soundtrack is more subdued in the dungeons and caves that your characters will explore. Never is it intrusive or out of place. There is a lengthy cue that plays during your trek through Faydark Forest near the beginning that I personally enjoyed quite a bit. In fact I may actually like this score a bit more than the original Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance.

 

-The game plays similiar to the recently released Baldurs Gate II (and its predecessor). There have been some changes and borrowing in Champions. You can easily switch between different weapon types with a push of the R1 button. The naming conventions for armor and weapons have been changed and are very similiar to Blizzards' own Diablo series. In other words don't be suprised if you find the "Reckless Shoe Lace of Haste" whilst on your journey. The color coding scheme has also been brought over from Diablo. Blue colored weapons can have several magic properties on them and yellow colored items are considered very rare and are even more powerful.

 

-Finally I just wanted to say....ITS FUN! Looking past the online interface problems the game is genuinely fun to play. Scott, Chris and I played for some time last night (Scott and I jumped on at around 11pm or so and hopped off at 2:30am) and we had a great time with it. The games single player content is identical to the multiplayer side so if your getting this for only the single player component and enjoy games like Baldurs Gate or Diablo I don't think you'll be disappointed in the least.

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