Asheron’s Call 2 Fallen Kings – PC – Preview 2

The old adage is that the world is what
you make of it. That can be amended. The world is what you, and every other
massively multiplayer online role-playing gamer makes of it.

Asheron’s Call 2 Fallen Kings is being
touted as the next generation in online role-playing games. However, this
game is far removed from its predecessor, not only from the standpoint
of a new world to explore and conquer, but in the dynamic graphics that
are sure to please any discriminating game player.

Of course, there is a price to pay for
the graphical quality of this game. We’re not just talking about that monthly
fee charged to be part of the world, but in system requirements. In order
to participate, you will need at least a 733 MHz CPU, 256MB RAM and a video
card that supports hardware T&L

GameZone was invited along to preview the
game, and, having seen a demo of the game at May’s E3 in Los Angeles, entered
the world with a great deal of anticipation. The game is everything it
is billed to be. Not only is the graphical quality simply amazing, but
the gameplay is seamless. Yes, there is a minor hesitation as you move
from one mapboard to the next, but that is negligible when compared to
what you will be allowed to see, and may be due to a slower modem speed
than the actual game itself.

This is a game that is full of quests,
fellowships, and battle all combined in a mesmerizing world that is finely
detailed and huge. Fortunately the world is littered with lifestones (save
or regeneration points where you will come back to the world should you
die in-game or have to quit the game session) and portals to help you move
quicker throughout it.

Here is the set up::

The game takes place hundreds of years
after the original Asheron’s Call, in the wake of “The Devastation.” The
event was a great magical disaster that reshaped continents, razed the
land and mutated the creatures left in its wake.

Those that seek to populate the realm are
emerging from underground shelters (and yes, you have to pass a test in
order to leave the underground and head up to the surface). There are old
towns reduced to burned-out shells that can be rebuilt. And if you don’t
have a hankering for combat, you can become a craftsman. The opportunity
is there to begin as a humble forger of mundane weapons and articles to
rise to master craftsman status.

You can rebuild cities or align with one
of the great kingdoms. Or, you can simply wander the wilderness, far from
the socialized elements of the game.

There are three races to choose from in
the game: The reptilian Tumeroks, the giant Lugians and Humans. As expected,
each has strengths and weaknesses. Also certain weapons and armament are
race specific.

I addition to the towns which can be rebuilt,
there are specific player-versus-player regions in the game where you can
take on others to test your mettle against a human-controlled avatar.

Though basically played from a third-person
perspective, you can zoom in so you are looking over the shoulder of your
avatar. You can also rotate the camera (using the number pad) to get different
looks at the world and your character.

As with most games, you need a certain
amount of points to level up your characters, but experience points matter
in another area as well. As you level up you receive skill points which
can be expended to purchase new skills. You can then use accrued experience
points to level up that particular skill. As a Tumerok, the skill of lightning
attack (bolts of lightning hit the target if you use the skill and actually
make contact during battle) is not nearly as effective at level 1 as it
is at level 14.

The game utilizes the Turbine Engine G2
to render real-time three-dimensional shadows and lighting, as well as
the incredibly rich environments. Finding a forgotten city with a tower
purchased on a hill overlooking it, and climbing to the top of the tower
and sitting to watch the sun rise over the world is amazing.

Go for a swim in the waters that course
throughout the lands, and bubbles trail out behind your character.

Chat is handled through a box which displays
actions and typed conversations. Characters can emote, and hearing a Tumerok
laugh is rather silly but fun.

Asheron’s Call 2 Fallen Kings is a MMORPG
that will surely set the standard higher for this genre. The game play
is excellent, and the effects and graphics are a wonder. If you enjoy playing
online RPGs, then this is one game you won’t want to miss.