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Developer:
NC Soft
Publisher: NC Soft
Platform: PC
Release Date: April 27, 2004

by Jason Ferguson




I have heard the hype and the skepticism for this game. Everyone was worried that it would have the same curse as all of the other games, that the sequel would be worse than the first game and force everything into a downward spiral. However, I have to say that Lineage II is nothing of the sort and is just short of being gaming nirvana.


Having played many MMORPGs before, I have seen the cream of the crop and literally the cream of the crap, but I have to say that I was delightfully surprised when I installed this game and started playing it. While it does not have as many combinations and choices for the character selection, what it does have is very detailed and artistically appealing. The textures and color maps used for every single polygon are breathtaking--you honestly feel like you become part of the game world and get caught up in it. The music, while repeated in infinite loop cycles, gives a nice air of medieval fantasy (the genre for the game) which adds even more to the mood and theme.


The battles are a bit confusing at first, most people are used to right-button on the mouse to initiate the skills/spells which makes them easier to use in a firefight, but Lineage II takes it a step backwards and makes them keyboard hotkeys. This is nice if you are able to use both mouse and keyboard at the same time (first-person shooter enthusiasts are infamous for this), but otherwise it becomes a tedious task for the first 10 levels. The enemies are a bit dumb at first, they wait until you start attacking them before they even decide to hit back, they don't attack in packs on the first training grounds and they just seem easy to kill. But as you move along the ladder of AI and levels, they become smarter and more aggressive, even attacking you from 2-3 screens away if you happen to see them in the scope of your screen. With this, you can have up to 4-5 enemies on top of you pounding at you. Add in the fact that your character will turn to face whoever attacked them last, you have to do a lot of button mashing to get anything killed.


My biggest complaint would have to be the size of this game--the setup file for the BETA edition was a whopping 1.08GB! Yeah, the GB is correct, it is over a gigabyte and I am sure the new chapters will make the files even bigger than before. Along with this comes the updating patches. If you are on dial-up, you might as well forget playing this game, because before you can even connect you have to download a 700-800MB patch file for the textures and updates to the characters/environments. To put it in real-time terms, that would mean you would have to download on a 56k modem for 5 days straight to get them all and who in the world is able to stay connected for that long at a time?


I acknowledge I play a free server, and while there are tons of them out there using java to act as the server code and they found the client code leaked, I do believe that they are a lot better than the pay server. While there is more lag on the free ones and a lot of them do not have all the stuff implemented yet, they will have it given time. The fact is, which would you prefer: $15/month or free? I am going to make a wild statement that anyone who ever plays the game will agree with me that Lineage II will be as revolutionary as EverQuest was for its time, and we are looking at the benchmark that all other MMORPGs (retail and free) will have to hold a candle against.


Final Grade: 93%




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