Champions: Return to Arms


posted 4/8/2005 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PS2
While there are some improvements on the graphics, it’s not enough to really say it looks incredible anymore. From Baldur’s Gate to Return to Arms, the graphical improvement has been good, but if Snowblind decides to make a sequel, I hope they start from the ground up with a brand new engine. It’s not to say that the game looks horrible and those that haven’t played the previous Snowblind games will be impressed. But since I’ve played each previous game, the wow factor is not there anymore. There are also some duplicate environments from Champions of Norrath so you'll be traversing some areas that will look the same as the previous game. I didn't mind some of the retread into the same environments though and it wasn't like the levels were carbon copies. The engine is starting to show its age though.

Multiplayer is THE way to play this game and Champions: Return to Arms adds a few twists to the series. For starters, the save game is now on the server which is a great improvement. While Norrath was just a cooperative game, Return to Arms adds player versus player so you can take a character and see how well it pits against other people’s Champions. It’s a nice diversion but I feel the main selling point is the cooperative ability and you can either play on one PS2 in single window mode hindering your movement by the screen size or online where you can use a headset to chat with others and not be limited in where you walk. The built in voice chat really helps coordinate with your party so you can wander off in different areas to clear the level faster. With a group, the Champions series shines as it's a blast to play with a group of friends in these types of games.

It’s really nothing new and some might be disappointed in that aspect. I, for one, welcome the continuation of the series but will be looking for more of a technological leap if they do another one. Champions: Return to Arms is a great fun with multiple people online. It’s my favorite way to play and certainly a lot more fun than going at it alone. The small fixes to some annoying aspects is highly welcomed by experienced players of the series. The two new classes are a nice addition with the medal rounds and PvP aspect also thrown in for some good variety. The content available can be viewed as sort of an expansion pack though and I can see where it will fall short to some of the previous players’ expectations. Because of this expansion pack feel, the price might not be set at what I think the product should be. A little lesser price than the full $49.99 should’ve been set. If you can ignore that and want some more hacking fun with friends, then Champions: Return to Arms is the game for you.

An expansion pack feel but a blast with friends, Champions Return to Arms gives you more dungeon romping fun.

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