By Jeremy Deslinger, June 23, 2012
Object after object, Idea after idea, event after event, structure after structure; Guild Wars 2 is only an amalgamation of other games, sci-fi television shows and old stories. If Guild Wars 2 reminds you of Stargate, it should — it has star gates; if it reminds you of Star Wars — well, it should, between the Emperor’s hand lightning and a ground based death star; Crash Bandicoot? Yep, and many toys, too. Other names I've heard mentioned in comparison are Star Trek, World of Warcraft, Diablo (specifically 3), Rift, Neverwinter Nights, Zelda, Final Fantasy, and even Mario.
It seems the real creativity came, from the developers, in the form of genuine implementation of ideas stole from other games and even other media. Don't get me wrong, it is a very fun game. I wouldn't have stayed up until almost 3 am playing it if it weren't. Over the 60 hours the GW2 BWE was going on, I managed to play about 10 hours. That's not bad, considering the extremely packed schedule I've had. There's no way I was making more time for this game, but then everything else I was doing was slightly more important - by a lot.
All in all, unless I get a full-time, full-pay job with steady hours off, I won't be purchasing this game any time soon. Unless something drastically changes, I probably won't buy it until it goes on sale, or has a Game of The Year edition - which I can honestly believe could happen before the end of 2012, if the industry operates like that.
The characters are interesting breeds - I managed to play a human, Asura, Norn and Charr, and was not able to play as Sylvari (due to time limits). The charr are the main protagonists in Guild Wars 1, and as such I was really surprised to hear it as a playable race. The Sylvari are a non-race in GW1, being created as effect of a quest. The Asura are a new race as well, and without checking, I believe were none at all in Guild Wars 1, as so the Norn. The Humans, of course being the only playable race from Guild Wars, it was no surprise to have it as well.
The Humans, of course reminded me of humans from nearly every walk of life (and many sci-fi universes), and were generally, well, general humans. The Norn is a race which seems to me could have been taken out of the movie "Thor", as the race Thor belongs to. Then there are the Charr, which is a funny race to begin with, as they are horned felines with head and body shapes and colorations of most real cats in the world, with the addition of horns and a second set of ears. Speaking of ears, the Asura are a lovely little cross between Teletubbies, Gremlins and Yoda. Nuff said on that. The Sylvari are still a bit of a mystery to me, due to not playing that race at all, but they are a plant based race, born of a sacred tree that the player helped plant in Guild Wars. There is, in fact, a Japanese cartoon movie with the same principal race as the Sylvari, though a bit creepier.
There seemed to be quite a bit of theming stolen from games like WoW, AO and NWN - for building and landscape. Of course, a lot of that is probably due to limitations of DirectX 9. (No, not really, but saying something makes me feel better inside) Some of the creatures were out of other entertainments as well - I can't place 'em just yet, but there was a giant breed of spider, looked kind of like the Tom Cruise version of HG Wells' War of the Worlds. Then there's the Oak Hearts - these are in GW1, I believe, but something similar in Neverwinter Nights (and also in D&D in general, I believe) There's even a gloopy critter that instantly reminded me of the slimy guys from Minecraft. Oh, yeah, blocks - Asura love them blocks, smooth cubes as their building materials of choice.
Some of the game mechanics seemed to have been borrowed from other games as well, though some are just so damned general that it's like saying "Well, Lowes stole the front door idea from Home Depot" But other things seemed a little less general - like the Vista Points, which I'm told are near rip offs from Assassin’s Creed. The underwater swimming felt a lot like the Blitz Ball mini game in Final Fantasy X, down to the large, muscular, tattooed Hawaiian guy floating underwater - just sitting there. Some of the game felt like Ocarina of Time, and though the Golems are not new to GW2, and are a Guild Wars staple, I was still reminded of Chrono Trigger quite often.
There is another game that is not bashful with not hiding their stolen ideas, that's Anarchy Online. Though, AO is done in a way as to give homage to those things it has borrowed from. Guild Wars 2? Not so much. I find it humorous to now say this as well, it seemed there were unique aspects of AO borrowed into Guild Wars 2 as well. Some of the architecture reminded me of Omni Tek buildings. This too was creepy to me.
It can definitely be said that Guild Wars 2 was designed by gamers for gamers - or they hired a lot of old school developers from a lot of different design houses. The game is not a mish-mosh of games and stories sewn together like those cheap $15 genuine cow leather jackets you can buy at the grocery store - you know the ones, made from small bits of left over leather all sewn together to form large enough pieces to work into jacket shape. The game is done quite well, in this respect. As I started earlier, there was quite a bit of true genius in the design aspect of this game, even with all of the borrowed (or flat out stolen) ideas.
I was quite pleased, indeed, with Guild Wars 2, even with it being a beta test. The game made time fly by, and I was able to go into combat without it aggravating the hell out of me. The controls are a bit new, for me at least, but are quite intuitive. I mean the GUI, slot bar and such. Speaking of the GUI, finally, a game with a default play screen like I prefer. Ok, so some people will see this as a fault, but I see it as the developers finally seeing a bit of sense in placing certain things in certain places. Like placing the map in the bottom right corner of the screen. The one thing the confused me for a bit, though, would be the experience bar, which stretches across the entire screen on the bottom. This is cut into 10 sections, and is quite easy to tell where you are on your road to higher levels.
So, after something like 9 hours of game play, it's time for the GW2 BWE Finale event. I had no idea what to expect. I was thinking maybe it would be like the events on GW, with a "circus" or sorts, with games and prizes to be had. No, this was quite a bit different. Here, everyone was told to go to one part of the world, where there was nothing set up except for a lot of portals to "Hunger Royale" - If you took a guess, you probably did so correctly. The event finale was nothing more than team vs. team Hunger Games. Other than it being, defined, as team vs. team and no 1 vs. all, and the name change to indicate a lightly different mode of operation, Hunger Royale /is/ from the Hunger Games movie.
Oh, yeah, about half of the game was borrowed from Guild Wars, the Guild Wars stories, and Guild Wars future-history lines. It is, after all, taking place some centuries after the events in Guild Wars.
This is still very much a game you would want to own if you're into multiplayer, online games, have some cash now and can't pay for monthly subscriptions. Guild Wars 2 is a "buy once, play forever" online multiplayer game. You can, of course, buy additional things with real US Currency for use in the game, but many of these items can be had with a lot of hard work while playing the game.
So, would I spend $60 on this? No. Would I spend $150 for the mega offer they have, with the desk statue of a Charr? Only if it was truly an extra $150 I didn't need for anything else. But then, I would have been buying that specifically for the statue and the in-game mini pet to go with it. But, that is, of course my opinion. Wait for the trial period, log in and see for yourself what it's like!
**Note from geannie: At the writing of this, the $150 collector’s edition was already sold out at all retailers.