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Champions Return to Arms - PlayStation 2
- The original Champions of Norrath game is not needed to play Champions - Return to Arms
- Seven fully customizable Playable Characters. Select from Barbarian Warrior, Wood Elf Ranger, Dark Elf Shadowknight, High Elf Cleric, Erudite Wizard, and two new race/class combinations - the Vah Shir Berserker and Iksar Shaman.
- New skills, abilities, weapons and armor for every character type
- More than 10,000 items and the ability to create your own item
- Dynamic story with alternate good and evil paths featuring many of your favorite characters from the original game.
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Champions: Return to Arms brings all the action packed hack n' slash fun from Champions of Norrath(tm) back to the PlayStation(r)2 computer entertainment system. The sequel offers more than 100 hours of gameplay per character unlimited battles deadly missions and the ability to import characters from the original game. Champions: Return to Arms enhances all the groundbreaking features that made the original the must-have action RPG of 2004 and brings in a host of advancements to take multiplayer gaming to the next level.Features: All-new multiplayer and online gameplay options A continuation of the engrossing fantasy storyline of Champions of Norrath with exciting twists and turns that require the player to choose his or her fate Two new playable races Thousands of new items and magical artifacts to acquire All-new and beautifully detailed environments A host of new monsters to battle and non-player characters to encounter Innovative medal system which unlocks secret gameplay modes The ability to import characters from the original game More than 50 levels along with a mission menu containing non-linear side quests Four-player multiplayer on a single PlayStation 2 with a Multitap (sold separately) Superior online multiplayer options for up to 4 players with a Network Adaptor (Online play requires internet connection Network Adaptor (for PlayStation2) and Memory Card (8MB) (for PlayStation 2) (each sold separately) - no additional subscription fees required(players must provide their own internet connection for online gameplay modes)Format: PS2 Genre: RPG (VG)/ Rating: T - Teen UPC: 814582405821 Manufacturer No: 40582
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Top international reviews
If a player can get around these two major hurdles, however, the game offers hours of fun, especially with some nearby friends and possibly a Playstation multitap. It offers one of the best couch-multiplayer experiences I've had. Minion enemies in Return to Arms generally tend to be a little tougher than those found in the first game, so some may prefer the help. Character level max is 80, so don't fret much about builds or limited skill choices- by that pinnacle, you can master a wide range of each character's skill list, leaving only a few skills below rank 20.
Couch multiplayer has been downplayed heavily by recent tech trends, but if you still enjoy that sensation, then this is a game for you.
I wanted to give my opinion that this is NOT the same game as Champions of Norrath. Yes, you see some of the same types of places, and some with the same name, but the maps are different, some of the characters are different. Some of the characters from the original game make a re-appearance, but they say and do different things. You do not have to play the original to get the most out of this one, but if you are a fan of the original, then you will find some of the new roles for the orignal characters quite humorous). Some of the NPCs even have very different personalities.
Champions Return to Arms has many new features. You have the opportunty to play as a "good" or "evil" character, allowing you access to different areas of the game (it is fun to play both ways to see everything).
Yes, there are some minor technical glitches that make the screen jump a bit when you are in the inventory, etc. but these are minor in my opinion. I play it on a PS3 in PS2 mode and have no problems. There are PS3 games that are graphically superior, but for basically "mindless" running around killing things and collecting loot and abilities, then it is hard to find anything better. Champions Return to Arms is better thought out than the original, has more areas, is more challenging in many ways, has four difficulty levels (instead of the three in the original), has two additional races, and allows for more re-play value. I recommend this for anyone who loves Champions of Norrath, or even anyone who has not played any of the games in this series.
Watch out, there's a lot of them. Most can be fixed by reloading an area, but some are tricky (the ones where you need to collect all 11 of something, etc.).
Some side challenges will make you want to rip your hair out, while others will be laughably easy. All of them leading up to a sword that really isn't all that exciting.
I miss being able to import characters into the middle of a game. This game auto-saves your progress through the levels, so that when you start a new game at the same level(legendary, champion, etc) you have trouble remembering where you've been and it messes up the story-line.
The arena and survival mode really aren't that fun unless you're online and taking bets. If you kept the exp and loot, that'd be another story.
There are issues though that keep the game from being great. First is the gear obtaining. Being a level 35 running around in level 21 gear is not cool. I find myself almost always reverting to using my level 80 to cheat gear my characters every ten or so levels because the gear randomly dropped inside the planes is so pathetic. As example, I'm working through a zone that anyone under the level 15 barrier would have no shot at and the gear dropping is still stuff I could have worn or used at level 3 or 5.
Second, the game is almost completely linear. Within the first two minutes of the first level a woman stops you and invites you to join the evil side. That is your only option through the whole game. Either be a hero or be the resurector of the personification of hate. It wouldn't be so bad if they actually had different levels for those choices, but the differences are simply limited to one new minizone and then killing the other group in a skirmish or big battle situation. At one point you stand before this Marr guy who happens to be the endgame boss if you choose evil, and you stand before him before you're halfway done with the game. He knows you're the bad guy, so why doesn't he just kill you then?
Another problem is the massive variation between the levels of difficulty in the different zones. If you choose to be a berserker who likes to throw axes or a elf ranger who likes to shoot arrows, you'll be in your element in the first plane. Spend all your points on dexterity, summoning axes/arrows and archery/throwing damage increases. Then find out how much of a mistake that was the moment you step into the next plane. You are pitted against clockworks (big robots who are apparently determined to kill you) who will be almost unaffected by your axes and arrows. Rough estimate here, but I would venture to say that 4 out of 5 times, they will just bounce off, leaving you no option but to run in there and chop away at them. Make sure you bring a lot of healing potions here, as you'll need them.
The game is not all bad though, in fact, most of what it does is rather good. All seven classes are different, and they aren't just your generic choices of melee, archer or spellcaster. Berserkers and barbarians both rely heavily on melee damage, but zerkers can also be deadly ranged axe throwers. They can be set up to actually make a high intelligence useful, and one might be able to get away with using only dexterity, intel and mana regen bonuses. Barbarians have very limited range usage and no skill option to increase their damage using a ranged item, leaving ranging obsolete for a barbarian by the time level 15 hits. At that point, one has to just beat the crap out of his enemies. Mana is only gained by killing enemies, as barbarians do not regenerate mana standing still.
Another plus to this game is that every boss' fighting mechanics are different. For Rallos, simply figure out how to constantly make him smash his sword into the ground, leaving him open to slashing or spell mashing for a good four seconds. The iron guardian's arrows in the next plane are a guaranteed death wish if you don't play the red light green light game with it to get into melee range, and the dragon at the end of the plane of fire will seem unbeatable until you find that perfect sweet spot.
The zones are nice looking and the enemies have a lot of different ways to be killed. A kobold in the very first zone will never stop trying to hit you, so blocking really isn't useful, but against an ogre, using the block then hit then back to block method is the only way to take him down.
Overall, a fun game and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a real time, not final fantasy style rpg.
In particular, and my reason for repurchase, is the Soul Break stage. You've escaped a cell, with only your fists to fight with. You must release other captives while dealing with skeletons, giants, and carnivorous flying fish. Handily, dynamite kegs are plentiful for setting traps and barriers. You can even barricade yourself in a cell while healing up. One of the faq sites has a way to level up weak characters, who really have no chance here.
Strong points: full camera control with 2-level zoom in; nearly unlimited level up ability; various glitches, such as bosses who unexpectedly walk through your barrier. Weak points: hard to say. It would be nice to have the kind of atmospherics in the Dreamcast game Draconus: bird sounds, distant wolves, rain, midnight waterfalls. Also, enemies don't regenerate, so it can get lonely looking for the key to the next level. But that's what faqs are for.
Now for the bad... One thing that didn't improve is story. For those who really like story, cutscenes, characters, etc., that seems to have been cut down to bare bones in this game. Also, though you can choose to be "good" or "evil" in this game, you'll still be fighting the same monsters in the same dungeons, and you probably won't care much that you're talking to different NPCs, since they aren't that interesting to talk to in the first place. It may add replay value to play on the other side, though.
Also, inventory management still SUCKS with more than two people playing. Only two may manage inventory/level up/select spell slots/shop at a time. The other two wait with nothing to do but watch. We play with a rule that inventory screens are not allowed unless we've got two people levelled up, or we're between missions, or at the shop. We also have the policy that if you pick up so much junk that you're overburdened, too bad. This makes the game a bit more tolerable for everyone. But note that having less items dropped from the enemies makes the inventory screen junk easier to deal with than in the first game.
Now there are also bonus missions and etc. to play. Most of the challenges seem to be one-player only, so we play those when not all four of us are on the game. To play the challenge, you pick the character/player, then dive in. Most of the challenges, if not all, are best played with a tank or cleric character. Mages are seriously handicapped in every challenge I've seen so far, especially the one challenge that I thought would be the mage's strongpoint: in a dungeon without any weapons or armor. Guess what? No magic allowed, either. Kinda sucks because my character is a MAGE, so the challenges get twice as hard.
By the time you're strong enough level to beat a challenge, you get a bonus level, which is mostly treasure, peppered with very weak monsters.
Now for the gameplay, it was nice visually and audio wise. I loved watching the spells like fire balls explode on an enemy and with that the sounds are just amazing. Also what was amazing was the water when you walked through it and hearing the water splash around you, which was done very well. The game controls were very easy to learn to and the skill wheel was nice but at times annoying. Boss fights take some time which is a good thing if you are not dying so fast. The save points throughout the levels help a lot and I cannot stress enough to save save save and save often only because you do not want to lose everything you found and have to start all over. The way they handled the camera for single player was done well, but again gets annoying when in small places and you cannot see your character. Fun gameplay though and you won't regret it.
Now for online/multiplayer which I can say is fun to play with friends but very frustrating too. Why frustrating you might ask and that is because of the camera. I will throw this example out there and it was with me and my friend, I was trying to grab a chest while he wanted to move forward and apparently he was being attack but because I was on the other side of the camera angle he could not see the enemy and then cause the camera angle moved again he got stuck until I moved to his location which by time I moved he died. So not having split screen or being stuck on the same screen really does render the game fun if people want to move forward fast or if one players wants to go left and the other go right, just does not work. Don't let this stop you though, it is fun to play online and is very helpful to have the added players.
Overall Sony has done a great job on the series but just has minor flaws. Fun and enjoyable though and should be played.
Score out of 4.5
Concept/Story: 3*, As I said the story could have been better with maybe some cut scenes or just an overall better story outline, it was just plain.
Graphics: 5*, Much improved from the first game. The environments and characters and effects are superb.
Sound: 5*, With great graphics you must have great sound effects and they have pulled it off flawlessly. Voice acting was a +.
Entertainment Value: 4*, Fun with friends and even solo as long as you can deal with the overhead camera movement. Boss fights are great and take strategy so you are not dying foolishly.
Control: 4*, Not really hard to learn, but the skill wheel can get annoying.
Replay Value: 4*, Playing with friends is fun and fighting in the arena to see how many waves you can complete will keep you coming back for more.
Thank you for your time, hope this review helps with your decision to buy the game. Take my word or don't take it, but this is a game you will be happy with purchasing.
Game was "good" or "fine" and was pretty badly scratched when received. It booted normally and worked as promised but only until like 5 hours into the game then the scratches would make the game skip