Guild Wars 2 is almost here, and from what I've been able to play it seems like something special. The game feels very different, not only compared to the original Guild Wars, but in relation to pretty much every MMO out there. What sets it apart?
- All text appears in the popular font Wingdings. Some advanced users will undoubtedly want more options for their text, so the game graciously allows you to switch from Wingdings to Wingdings Bold or Wingdings Large Print. Future client updates will enable Wingdings Extra Bold and Wingdings Flashing.
- It features a fantasy world with fantasy enemies such as harpies, and you can use swords.
- You can actually evade attacks by physically getting out of the way, either by running or doing a rolling dodge. This "movement" concept is sort of like standing still, but with action.
- There is no kill stealing, as XP and loot are granted to everyone that lends a hand in taking down an enemy. It is always in your best interest to help another player. Unless their name is something like Stark Lannister or Killr Dethdealr.
- The small, cute race is actually a collection of evil little pricks with nothing but disdain for everyone else. Other races take their cooperation for granted as they rely upon the Asura's technology. Meanwhile, the Asura bide their time, letting everyone else underestimate them. That's pretty cool.
- Traditional quests are gone, replaced by dynamic events with branching stages which move across each zone. Good news for people who love happening upon interesting situations and experiencing new content in previously visited areas. Bad news for people who have been addicted to video game characters with exclamation points over their heads since Metal Gear Solid.
- Skills are directly related to equipped weapons, and objects in the environment grant even more skills for short durations. I'm pretty sure you can pick up another player and have access to all of their skills too. If another player picks both of them up, the available skills increase dramatically. In team-based PVP, the sight of a mantrain cresting a hill is truly a frightening thing to behold.
- There are actual rewards for exploration, which is the most appealing part of the entire game for me. Poke around and you'll find vistas which grant XP, hidden areas, challenges, and a sweet pixellated bmp of John Romero.
- The game adjusts your effective stats when you enter lower level areas and makes the rewards equally meaningful. It also bumps you up to the max level for PVP. The goal of these decisions - and a lot of the game - is to make the entire game fun from the moment you start, rather than padding out a leveling experience that's completely different from the endgame. What does this mean? A lot of people will probably rush through the levels and ignore all the content, then complain about a lack of dungeon raids.
- You know how MMOs usually have elves as a playable race, and they're snooty jerks that are too self-centered to realize that their race is on the brink of extinction? That's what the humans are in Guild Wars 2. They are so full of themselves that they make the Sylvari (a race of thin green plant people with pointy ears and mushroom heads) seem like the sort of people you'd want to go bowling with.
- From any location in the game, you can push a button and have all the collectibles in your inventory show up in your bank. How does this work? It's a video game, asshole. They can make a button that turns your character into a table or enables big head mode.
A seemingly uninteresting dribble of True Crime runoff turned out to be the most surprising game of the year, a detailed open world game packed with tons of character and a focus on melee. 9/10
Orcs Must Die! 2
I want to keep killing orcs just as badly as I want to put the exclamation point after the 2 in this game's title. 8/10
It has better puzzles and more content, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I like it more than the first game simply because it has loot. 8/10
Persona 4 Arena
Not quite a fully fledged fighter, not very interactive with its storytelling, but packed with enough detail to make it worthwhile for anyone that enjoys the Persona characters. 7/10
The Expendables 2 Video Game
As exciting and rewarding as the first movie. 3/10
New Super Mario Bros. 2
A new Mario game doesn't have to be groundbreaking, but if it's not innovative it should at least have impeccable level design and an actual sense of adventure. 6/10