EverQuest Online Adventures: Frontiers
Amongst the plethora of RPG’s that have hit the console arcade, none have surpassed the supremacy of Everquest Online Adventures Frontiers. Although, this game has gone against the grain of most RPG’s, becoming the second release on the PS2 of a MMORPG.
For the purpose of covering everything possible in this game, I’ll start with a chronological review of everything I went through and my impressions. When I put the game inside the CD tray of my PS2, I was skeptical of what it would be able to produce; I was concerned that I would be frustrated with mundane graphics and equally dull sounds.
The initial start-up and log-in process took awhile, simply because you have to download all the updates since its release. I would suggest purchasing the game soon if you are interested, to avoid even longer download times. Possible waiting times rate between 30 to 45 minutes. I was lucky; I only had to wait about 15 minutes. Character creation was very simple and fully customizable. Considering other games where you create a character and they promise “fully customization” and offer very limited features.
The next step takes you through, a server selection screen, offering several very good servers; it even will recommend servers for your area for connection speeds and which server has more players on it. In addition, each server allows you to have multiple characters. I found that I enjoyed every server equally as the other; a lot of players I ran into were extremely friendly and willing to group and offer guild membership. When you start to play, I would suggest joining a guild first off, because then people within the guild are more willing to group with you.
I was also pleased to see that my previous fear of graphics was completely thrown out the window. SOE (Sony Online Entertainment) presented a beautifully graphically enhanced game; considering the size of the maps and the volume of game play. In each area I went into, I found new creatures, new quests, new areas, all colored and mastered to the best performance. I was for the most part impressed with SOE. The sound was a bit sketchy at times, presenting a few glitches during some game play. A few “dangerous” sounds and some triumphant sounds mixed in with some animal sounds and quick clips of adventurous music. In reflection, I prefer the graphics over the sounds.
Leveling your character is easy at first, as is a lot of RPG’s. And like most RPG’s, leveling gets much harder as you pass level 10. But, as I said before, People who are logged-in are very generous to helping others and themselves, so they are more than likely willing to group with you. When in groups, like other RPG’s, you are able to gain experience points for both characters, if either of you kill a foe. And as I said before joining a guild is also very beneficial. Also, be smart about you decision about which guild you join, ask the leader how many members they have, who is the highest level, and what they can offer you.
Another aspect of EQOA Frontiers that is appealing is all of the creating in the game is very nice. You can create weapons, jewelry, armor, and even tailor clothing. If your character becomes adept at any of these skills, it becomes very handy, when you just broke a sword or some of your best armor. It can even come in handy when you want to make some rare jewelry and auction it off to the highest bidder, or perhaps wear it yourself, you can even add attributes to some of your creations to give them magical enchantments.I know this may sound cheesy and possibly even dim, but I really like the fishing in EQOA Frontiers! It offers some really fun past-time when you are trying to regenerate health or just relax down by the river (Chris Farley reference not intended, but it is nice to have!). Each pole can offer different stats and allow you to have greater chances of catching fish with higher levels. All fish you catch you can eat and gain back health points, some fish will continue to heal, like it has a spell quality to it (Very nice to have in battle!!). You can even get bait with higher levels to attract fish of higher levels. The higher level you are, the better fish you can catch. I would advise any who decide to play this game, become a master fisherman, it will pay off! Plus a fact, it is fun!
One of the negative sides I have found to this game is the controls. They work very fluidly and the default settings are excellent, although, it would be much nicer to connect a keyboard to, especially while trying to communicate with other players. Simply typing one letter at a time can get very agitating and tedious. The keyboard would then be yet another cost to add to the purchase of the game and membership (With the purchase of the game, comes a 30 free subscription!).
Being that EQOA Frontiers was published by SOE as was Star Wars Galaxies (PC), EQOA Frontiers has a lot of the same qualities. Creatures and foes are rated on a colored scale of green through red; green being extremely easy and red being extremely difficult. As in Galaxies, you are able to accumulate trade skills to become a better blacksmith, jeweler...etc. You can acquire pets and hold elementals at your command to assist in your leveling struggle, similar to Galaxies; well minus the elementals (wrong time period). Also, each game offers questing missions to obtain respect and faction points among your higher powers and citizens of towns the likewise can happen to the negative side, so be careful with who you mess with.
As for replay value, well, there is always replaying capabilities, considering the game will always be different and changing due to the other players who log in to assist you or hinder; which brings me to the next aspect of negativity to this game. There is absolutely no Player killing on any servers. Every character, even though they may be evil, is considered “friendly” in the gaming world. I personally believe that if SOE was going to produce an MMORPG and label it Everquest, they need to keep to its roots, being that on the PC versions of Everquest P-killing is allowed. Was this some sort of security measure so people who play this game won’t go irate when someone kills their character and loots their corpse? Maybe. But let’s face it, P-killing is fun and would be a great aspect to add to the game. Possibly even a future update?! That would be really nice.
Finally, I need to add in a Surgeon Generals warning for EQOAF. This game is very addicting and may very well eat your days away. I know from experience. I would find myself making excuses not to do things so I could play longer. It would sometimes feel like the controller was a new appendage that just grew out of my body, and getting rid of it would require extensive surgery. So please, be careful with this game and the hours (days) you put in. Enjoy!
Sony Online Entertainment has done it once again. They have taken Everquest to a new level. The current release Everquest Online Adventures Frontiers is a great sequel to the original PS2 release. There is more to do, more to see, more to kill, just an all around great thought out game.
Rating: 8.6 Very Good
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.