Archlord PC DVD-ROM

Published by Codemasters
Developed by NHN Games
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £34.99

Archlord, an introduction.

Online RPG games (commonly known as MMORPG games) have become increasing popular in recent years. There are many reasons for this, not least because most gamers have Internet connection speeds that allow for a comfortable and relatively lag free experience, but suffice to say that if such a game is going to stand out from the crowd it’s going to have to be something special or have something unique about it. Whilst Archlord can essentially be played like any other MMORPG there is a goal, a focus if you will, and that goal is to become Archlord and rule the game world.

What’s the game about?

Archlord is set in the continent of Chantra and you’ll get to play as a Human, Orc or Moon Elf. Each race has several classes to choose from. The Humans have Knight, Mage and Archer classes open to them. The Orcs have Berserker, Hunter and Sorcerer. Finally the Moon Elves have two classes which are Ranger and Elementalist. As we’ve already mentioned the ultimate goal is to become the Archlord although as with any MMORPG, the idea is to develop a well balanced character who can hold their own during quests and combat.

What’s good about the game?

The idea of becoming the Archlord, the overlord of the game world, is certainly an interesting one and I suspect an appealing one for those MMORPG gamers who love to invest many hours in their character. Of course it’s going to be a tough task to become the Archlord and much levelling up is going to be required if you’re going to have the faintest hope of becoming top dog. You can form your own guild at level 20 (if you have a spare 10,000 gold of course) or you could just join an existing one. As part of a guild you’ll become involved in a variety of battles with other guilds in the quest to become the Archlord. Naturally, if you do become Archlord and take all the rewards this brings you’ll instantly become a target for every aspiring megalomaniac out there. If you’re the blood thirsty kind of gamer who simply loves combat by the bucket load then Archlord is certainly going to provide the perfect environment.

What’s bad about the game?

If you’re looking for a rich and satisfying story then Archlord certainly won’t satisfy although to be fair you could say the same for most MMORPG games. Quests in the game are the usual fetch and carry affairs that are initially OK but soon become a chore. You can’t choose to avoid PVP (player versus player) combat once you reach level 6 with the only exception being in certain safe zones where combat cannot be initiated. If you’re the kind of gamer who doesn’t like PVP then Archlord is probably not going to be your cup of tea. To add some sort of balance to this if a player attacks another who is four or more levels lower than they will get villain points, which could earn them a variety of disadvantages. However these villain points can be removed through the collection of pardon scrolls so whilst penalties such as not being able to trade with certain NPC’s and being attacked by guards etc. are issued they can be removed and past misdemeanours eventually forgiven. Personally I would have preferred a system where PVP wasn’t allowed without consent. It’s also worth pointing out that Archlord probably won’t make a great introduction to the genre or be suitable for those who don’t like to play the game in every spare moment they have. Those hoping to become Archlord will be levelling up like crazy and with there being very few restrictions on PVP, it’s a fair bet you’re going to get slaughtered unless you play the game religiously. Sadly we found the game to be unstable at times and experienced a number of freezes at the login screen with a reset being the only way to get back to the desktop.

How does it look?

Archlord has that familiar medieval/fantasy look that quite a few MMORPG games have adopted over the years. In terms of visual quality Archlord isn’t the best looking MMORPG out there although it certainly looks good enough. Characters models are good, but nothing special and the various textures in the game are not as impressive as you might expect. The game does appear to be more accommodating to lower specification PC’s than most recent MMORPG titles, which is certainly a plus point. The presentation of the game as a whole seems quite good although the HUD layout is nothing you won’t have seen before if you’ve played other titles in the genre.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

MMORPG games are not known for being problematic for deaf gamers and Archlord is no exception. Communications are done via text chat. Tutorial tips are shown in text. Quests and other such details are also delivered in text and can easily be recalled at any time. Messages are sent and received in text too. In fact the only omission we noticed was the greeting you receive from traders and such like, which wasn’t shown in text and whilst this is unfortunate it’s hardly a problem. The game makes a good use of icons to relay information and highlight quest importance. The game manual weighs in at around 30 pages and is fairly useful in explaining how to get started. A list of hotkey commands and emote commands is shown on the back of the manual.

Final thoughts.

It’s been a while since we last played a MMORPG, as we missed out on the World of Warcraft craze (that still appears to be going strong by all accounts) and quite a few games before that unfortunately.  Having experienced such a large gap in reviewing these games it’s rather disappointing that Archlord doesn’t really do anything we haven’t seen before. Yes becoming Archlord is certainly a novel twist but how many of us will become Archlord? We were never in with a chance during our time with the game and I suspect this will be the case for most players. The game is rather problematic at this point (25/11/06) and we have been experiencing quite a few lock-ups causing us to have to reboot. Having to suffer PVP attacks when you don’t want to is certainly no fun and most of the quests just aren’t that exciting. That said though it’s not a bad game and when the bugs have been sorted out, it will certainly be worthwhile for those who want to power level their way to the top and become Archlord, for however brief a time it lasts.

Overall Game Rating: 6.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

(Click the letter or here for details)

Archlord may be an interesting concept but essentially it’s a pretty standard MMORPG that won’t get your pulse rating unless you’re up for some power levelling, a lot of PVP action and a hell of a lot of opposition as you bid to become the absolute ruler.