previews\ May 23, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Asheron's Call 2 Fallen Kings - PC - Preview

Asheron's Call gets a total facelift for second coming

What do you do when you have a successful and well-populated persistent online world? Why tear it completely apart, and rebuild it into something that looks brand new, that's what.

And that's exactly what Turbine Entertainment Software and Microsoft Game Studios have done for the second edition of Asheron's Call, aptly named Asheron's Call 2.

"We decided let's not just increment what was there before," said Matthew Ford, who was demonstrating the new look of the game at E3 2002 in Los Angeles for Microsoft, "we really just torn it down and built it up again."

"We are the first ones to do a complete next generation game like this."

The game features an unfolding storyline and takes place centuries after the time frame of the original game. A magical equivalent of an atomic bomb has wiped out the world, leaving devastation, and monsters, left alone on the surface. If players emerge into the realm when the game is first launched, they will see ruins, no civilizations, and vast (and richly illustrated) environments beckoning to be explored. Those who join later, will see the development of the world as it is happening.

"Players can have an immediate effect upon the world," said Ford.

The game features an unfolding storyline; monthly updates to the world and its tale, an ongoing stream of world-shaking events such as blizzards, volcanoes and invading forces; three acts, seven episodes and 21 vaults in the campaign mode (vaults have great rewards but can only be visited once by each player for the riches contained therein); and a vast array of quests to keep gamers busy.

The game also features a new, streamlined combat system with real-time decisions that must be made by the player.

Perhaps the most amazing element about this game is the new look. The game features dynamic lighting effects, incredible environments and terrific animation.

Slated for a winter release, Asheron's Call 2 is breathtaking, and players should be able to have a solid gaming experience, because of expanded bandwidth, with a 56k modem.

Asheron's Call 2, for a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, is stunning to look at, and with its game modifications, should be a delight to play.

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