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Atomic Gamer, 10/10.
There are still many annoying or silly things we've seen in the last decade-plus worth of MMOs that Guild Wars 2 didn't fix, but ArenaNet's efforts so far have delivered a huge range of disruptive changes that should pique the interest of any dedicated player. The focus on freedom and convenience is completely refreshing, while the ability to find challenge across the whole game world, not just what's appropriate for your current character's level, means you get to enjoy more exciting adventures and spend more time fighting alongside friends who are lower level than you. The lack of a subscription means the devs have brought in some untested economic systems that hopefully won't break the game's economy, but at the very least, they're monitoring it very closely. (My hope is that real-world prices of everything stay low enough that we very rarely see $100+ transactions.) Anyway, with great graphics, action-oriented combat, and a huge world that's inviting and fun to explore - all without kill-stealing, quest task lists, or so many annoying MMO rules that we've programmed ourselves to follow - I feel that while Guild Wars 2 is not revolutionary in all aspects, it's revolutionary enough that I can still attach that word onto this game without regret. There's some uncertainty in the future of the game's monetization model, and a few frustrating MMO tropes that still haven't changed, but this game still brings in a new era for big-budget MMOs that I think will change a lot about games to come. If you've gotten this far into this admittedly epic-length review and haven't quit reading yet, then clearly you're interested. Just buy this game and start budgeting out your time, because Guild Wars 2 is going to be taking up quite a bit of it.
Truth be told, it was hard to turn off the game to write this review because I just kept finding new features to fall in love with. The crafting-which could use a tutorial or two-turned out to be one of my favorite features in the game. I found myself stopping in the middle of battle to chop down a tree, telling myself "this would make a great axe handle!" More than anything, however, I have to say that Guild Wars 2 is just fresh. It's new, it's innovative and more than anything, it's a welcome change for fans that may want something different. I know I did.
PC Advisor, 4.5/5.
Great-looking, packed with variety and smartly working out how to reinvent rather than simply clone, this is the shot in the arm MMOs have long-needed.
Digital Spy, 5/5.
In closing, Guild Wars 2 is a staggeringly ambitious project that makes a bold statement about the future of the MMORPG. It is living proof that a game of this manner can thrive outside of the subscription business model and the genre's established conventions. ArenaNet's opus is visually breathtaking, crammed with content and a significant improvement on its predecessor - so it might just be time to reconsider renewing that World of Warcraft subscription.
I would be reasonably loathe to consider Guild Wars 2 a “revolution” in MMO mechanics, since at its core there is still a theme park here, albeit an extraordinarily well-designed one. But it’s obvious that its creators took on and smashed existing tropes with an aim to significantly improve on that experience that many millions of players currently fork out money for every month. So on that basis, I will just go ahead and say it; GW2 is the first genuine competitor with any chance of success to compete on the same turf as World of Warcraft since its inception. Blizzard would be wise to take notes.
Speaking as someone who loves the MMOG genre, I am enjoying my time with Guild Wars 2. Visually, it's a feast for your eyes. Gameplay wise, the skill-based action combat system keeps encounters exciting even when fighting creatures below your level. ArenaNet has gone to great lengths to provide a variety of ways for players to occupy themselves as they explore the game world, harvest resources, craft and so on. Yes, Guild Wars 2 does not include some of the features that might be labeled as hallmarks for veteran players (the most glaring being large group raids), albeit one thing that we have learned is that MMOGs are a living and evolving thing. The current apparent lack of end-game content beyond the various flavors of PvP and re-running five-man dungeons might change in future. In the meantime, I plan on playing for a long time to come. The fact that I don't have to worry about the monthly meter running in the background makes that idea all the sweeter.
PC World, 5/5.
With three full-featured game modes and a strong focus on fun, action, and exploration instead of the usual MMO level grind, and no subscription fees, it’s hard not to recommend Guild Wars 2. It’s obvious that developers ArenaNet have put a lot of love into this game - everything from the menus to the combat system and environments are well-designed and full of detail, and all the changes to the status quo come together to make a solid step forward in a genre that has been in need of a good shake up for quite some time. There’s a whole lot of game here, and whether you’re into MMOs or usually hate them, Guild Wars 2 will likely have something to offer you.
PC Gamer, 94/100.
Guild Wars 2 is not a revolution, but it is a call to arms. Tomorrow’s MMORPGs will be held to account against its standards: generosity, variety, and respect for the player’s ability and time. Of course, by that point, it won’t be Guild Wars 2 waving the banner. It’s not a revolution. It just quietly suggests that we start one.
Cheat Code Central, 4.7/5.
Yes, at first blush, Guild Wars 2 seems like World of Warcraft with better graphics. But in countless ways, it's a complete overhaul of the way things are done. I've played a lot of recent MMOs—from Wakfu to SWTOR—and plenty of them were fun and had the potential to grow and improve. But this is the first time I could make the following statement: This MMO, in its current state, poses a serious threat to World of Warcraft.
Ten Ton Hammer, 95/100.
No game is perfect, and no game can hold all players indefinitely, but Guild Wars 2 seems to have a better chance than most. It's difficult to run out of things to do in this game, and there's very little sense of "been there, done that." Above and beyond all of the things there are to do in PvE, there are entire World PvP and structured PvP experiences that, in themselves, could virtually be stand-alone games. All of this rolled into one massive MMOG title makes Guild Wars 2 a standout.
To Guild Wars 2's credit, its issues do little detract from the immensely rewarding experience of the whole. It doesn't overthrow the conventions of the MMORPG, but it presents them in fresher and livelier packaging than its competitors. Its greatest strength lies in the sheer variety of its options: if you're tired of leveling through standard MMO quest grinding (even with the dynamic events), at almost any time you can try your hand at world-versus-world PvP, five-man dungeons, crafting, world bosses, your personal story, or the simple but rewarding experience of uncovering new locations in the world. It still needs some roleplaying "fluff" at this point (such as an option to sit in chairs or even eating and drinking animations or duels), but such minor concerns are usually lost in the joys of playing a game that reminds us that assisting and working with strangers toward a common goal can still be fun. Its arrival heralds an evolution, not a revolution, but it's an uncommon experience that celebrates skill as opposed to gear; community over isolation; and its best parts combine to make it one of the genre's boldest entries of all time.
Which leaves us with the two all-important questions: is it a good MMO, and should you buy it? The answer to both is a simple “yes.” Guild Wars 2 is a very good MMO. It does pretty much everything you’d hope for, and the lack of a monthly surcharge makes it a lot easier to recommend to the more casual playerbase. The combat is excellent; the world is vast; the PvE is well-tuned; the PvP is marvellously designed. I could easily write another 2,000 words on each of the game’s disparate segments, and most of it would be praise. There’s something here for MMO players of every bent, and it’s hard to imagine someone who wouldn’t get their money’s worth from this.
A handful of technical issues — a rarely-functional auction house and glitchy social features among them — and poor tutorials only barely impact the addictive, infinitely explorable world that ArenaNet has crafted in Guild Wars 2. The genre's flaws all still exist here. The never-ending MMO treadmill still gets exhausting, even when you can periodically shift your efforts to other, tinier treadmills. But Guild Wars 2 hides those flaws admirably and magnifies the genre's strengths better than any game since World of Warcraft. It folds in the soloability and storytelling that's become a trend for recent MMOs while creating a world and gameplay systems that naturally urge people toward playing together. It rewards skill and variety rather than mindless grinding. And it does all of this in a massive, persistent world without asking for a subscription fee.
So no, Guild Wars 2 isn't an MMO prophet leading its flock to a glorious future. But that doesn't stop it from being the best MMO in years.