Lineage II: The Chaotic Throne - The Kamael Review
|Release Date:||February 1st, 2008 (UK)|
|Reviewer:||Duncan Lawson (Sinna01)|
Camels, as we all know, were born in the Era of Myths. Essentially creatures of darkness, it has been speculated that these noble, mysterious creatures were in fact created in order to battle some greater evil. Traditionally acolytes of a deity known as Mother Nornil, Camels will specialise their class according to their gender.
The image that you now hopefully have in your head is actually significantly more innovative and very likely more fun than the reality of The Kamael - the latest expansion to the popular massively multiplayer online role playing game Lineage 2.
Lineage is an enormously popular franchise of enormously Korean games. There's something about the design of these games that's unmistakable from the first loading screen. Be it Sword of the New World or Gunz: The Duel these games have an unmistakable cultural mash that makes them visually spectacular, but often slightly hollow to western gaming sensibilities.
Lineage is pretty much your standard swords and sorcery line-up, and it is doubtful there's a single character, NPC, monster or location that would not be instantly familiar to anyone even passing familiar with the genre, or computer games in general. The races choices include Ork, Dwarf, Human, Elf, dark Elf and now Kamael - a sort of in-between elf that sports a faintly ridiculous single white wing sprouting from its back.
I have to admit that the servers I've played on were less that packed to the rafters which did make things seem lonely and more users might well lead to a more rewarding experience, but the basic design of Lineage doesn't help this much either. There is a lot of walking to be done in this particular MMORPG. A teleport system exists between the main hubs of population, usable at a significant price, but for the standard fetch-and-go-kill quests of the first dozen levels, you can expect to put some serious foot work in.
The fighting itself isn't actually bad at all. Combat is entered with the one-click system, with buffs, specials and potions to be used at your discretion. The actual blows and spells are traded with vigour and visual panache, with none of the lumbering reloading times that can make other RPG fight systems seem ponderous. However, with missions that will regularly require you to kill a hundred or so of the same type of monster, you'll likely get bored of those few animations before long.
The Buddhist levels of patience required to play Lineage II often betrays its eastern heritage. A decent part of all overall game time will be spent with your character sat on their arse looking at the virtual clouds go by as their health and mana tick back up to full. This is of course in the aftermath of a short battle that required what seemed like an age of schlepping over sparse plains and open wilderness to get to. Dedicated players of Sword of the New World won't blink at a character progression route that will take 100 levels to see fruition, or a go-fetch mission that would take dozens of hours to complete. Comparatively, even the most punishing of western equivalents are positively generous to the new player, giving a spate of new powers, looks, functions and features within the first couple of hours of play. The cynical gamer might observe that this is essentially because the game designers want to wow you (WOW you? get it? See what I did there?) in the first sitting or two to secure your ongoing subscription, whereas the more dedicated eastern gamer is will game more patiently grind onwards to glory.
For our Neanderthal western sensibilities, Lineage II with or without the mono-winged Kamael flouncing about, is strangely and slowly paced, with little that will reward all but the most religious patience. If you must dip your toe into the wonderfully strange world of eastern MMORPG, Sword of the New World would be recommended as a lot more welcoming to the noob.
- Yet more land to play on in the truly enormous Lineage world.
- Long, difficult quests for the higher level players or the psychotic.
- Easy interface system.
Not so good stuff
- Kamael - a race of nonce that are a wing shy of a pair. Why?
- Empty, big plains - and not a winged mount in sight.
- 99 zombies to kill on a grind, 99 zombies to kill. Hack one down, loot it around… 98 zombies to kill on a grind…. C'mon , Everybody sing!