Thursday, May 17, 2012

Vanguard - Saga of Heroes

WOW Killer it is not, but it's still a lot of fun.
Review By Heklear

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is the offering from Sigil, who as you may or may not know, is comprised of EQ1 alumni, including the famous (or infamous) Brad McQuaid. It is a game that has a sense of being epic, but at the moment doesn't really convey that epic feeling to many of the players. I get to tell you why.

First off, it is an absolutely gorgeous game. If you have the machine to run it you'll see visuals that absolutely destroy any MMO out there at the moment, technically speaking. Some may prefer the cartoon, higher fantasy look of WOW, but everyone has to appreciate what Vanguard is capable of. Highly realistic figures that do not have the plastic feel of those in Everquest 2. 

Huge varied landscapes that really separate one land from the next, and vicious looking baddies all over the place. Unfortunately, high end looks like this come at the price of performance. In order to truly appreciate what this game has to offer you need to have 2GB of RAM and a high 7-series Nvidia card (or the ATI equivalent) in order to be able to really appreciate it all.

The sound is something that I also appreciate because there is so much of it. There are many different ambient and combat tracks that play depending on the part of the world you are in, enough that you won't feel the need or desire to turn down the music unless you are one of the types of gamers that absolutely must have their own soundtrack to go with a game. 

Sweeping scores with lovely voices in the High Elf homes, to appropriate Oriental sounding tracks on the Asian themed continent of Kojan. The sound effects themselves do their part to draw you into the land around you. Ambient birds and buzzing of bugs, bone-crunching hits in combat too. The only real drawback to the sound is that while it sounds nice, I wish the combat sound effects were a little more varied.

The game plays very well compared to most MMOs that have come out recently. It's very easy to get into, the beginning quests help each player get into the world around them, showing them all of the options at hand. From Crafting to Adventure to the CCG-like game of Diplomacy, you won't be too lost for very long as long as you aren't afraid to talk to a guard.

The pacing of the game, meanwhile, is a step backward in the eyes of many. The current trendsetter, WoW, makes it very easy to gain levels and get the best gear you can for your current level. Vanguard takes a page from older games like Everquest, Ultima Online and the early days of Dark Age of Camelot. 

You're really going to work at it to hit 50, get your flying mounts, and get your uber gear. Sigil makes no apologies for this, thats what they have said Vanguard was going to be about all along. So if you aren't in it to win it over a long while, steer clear.

This game was released early by SOE, who pushed Sigil to make the game ready for shelves. So in this early phase of the game, there are a lot of annoying bugs that will turn many people away. If SOE had been patient enough to let Sigil decide when they were ready, this game may have been what the MMO community needed to unseat WOW. As it stands now, many people are going to be turned away early from a good game that is going to become a GREAT game long after they are gone. But that's just the way it goes sometimes.

In conclusion, Vanguard is a beautiful experience to the eyes and ears if you have what it takes to run it, that will really take a lot of commitment to see the best of what it has to offer. Some people just aren't willing to do that though, or wait out the patches to fix the problems that keep Vanguard: Saga of Heroes from being the best MMO on the market.




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