We have rounded up a few Guild Wars 2 reviews we hadn't posted about so far, and it's safe to say by now that ArenaNet's title received a quite impressive, if not completely unanimous, critical reception.
While I can’t see myself playing this game daily, the buy-to-play model does mean that it’ll stay on my hard drive as an alternative to my regular schedule. Perhaps the end-game will draw me in more than the beginning and middle of the road leveling experiences, but until then, I can only truly recommend this game to those who are unhappy with their current MMORPG line up and who are looking for something else to spend their time and money on.
What I feel as I play Guild Wars 2 is something I have not felt in this kind of game in a very long time. In it, I am not just a player who happens to be moving through a game that other players also enjoy. Instead, I am part of a community and part of a world that constantly reacts to my presence in it—even if some of those reactions are clearly on a loop. My urge to explore just for the sake of finding things is not only tolerated, but encouraged and for once, I am relishing the part of "massively multiplayer" that brings other players to my side.
Guild Wars 2 is not structured as a deeply competitive game, and players who strive only for the best gear, the fastest leveling, and the sharpest end-game technique will likely miss most of what it has to offer. Rather than seeing the absence of an end-game focused quest and gear ladder as a lack, though, I see it as a blessing. It is a journey that gives me great pleasure to explore.
As for the destination? I really have no idea where it all will end. But I will enjoy taking my time—and discovering every single point on every map—on the way there.
Guild Wars 2 does right by fans of the franchise, as well as MMOs in general. It still retains the familiarity of the previous game while bringing in a lot of new features and aspects to keep it fresh. Excellent gameplay, tons of replay value, and some outstanding feature additions such as the crafting, and a more in-depth combat system from Guild Wars make the game full of depth without becoming overly complicated. The best addition by far is the limiting of instanced areas, allowing players to help each other out in the environments while still being able to play solo without feeling pressured to. In the original release, players had an exceptionally difficult time soloing an area by having monsters so powerful as to require you to grab a group. Instead, GW2 matches player and monster skill levels nicely as to be able to play on your own without being overwhelmed.
There are some blemishes in an otherwise fantastic game, however, such as the occasional buggy quest that you’ll have to restart to get it to work correctly, and the diminished creativity available to players when building their own custom skillsets. An easier system for getting your friends in one location would be a welcome addition as well, but overall, if you have a couple thousand hours to kill, then Guild Wars 2 is a game that’s right up your alley.
Guild Wars 2 doesn’t solve all the problems implicit in the genre. Real-world friends who want to play together may find themselves on different servers. A hoop or two jumped (some in effect and some planned) will offer a work around. But when the two do manage to find themselves side-by-side in the game world there’s little else to keep them from having fun together. A clever rubber band workaround adjusts player power to the area they’re in, allowing those who have invested days into building up their character to hook up with newbie friends and not seem like a god amongst ants. This means that no matter where a player goes (and whenever they go there) there will always be a challenging fight to be had. Lands once conquered never go stale.
All these well-thought innovations go a long way towards making Guild Wars 2 feel like a sprawling world with adventure around every corner-a game that gives players the freedom to explore, find trouble and conquer evil without feeling corralled like tourists in a theme park. It is about time a virtual world acknowledged that no-self respecting hero sticks to the path.
And finally, Angry Joe chimes in with his own video review, 10/10.