Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire Review

Guild wars 2: Path of Fire: Perspective of a new player Guild Wars 2 is an MMO that is highly praised and respected within the gaming community. It has been out for a few years now and has proven a concept that encourages cooperative gameplay. What can a new player expect beginning from the newest expansion; Path of Fire.

I was not an early adopter. I cannot speak for what Guild Wars 2 was like in its vanilla state. What I have experienced is the expansion. The “Ultimate Edition” of Path of Fire allowed me to jump straight into the action without having to endure the grind of the base game. A level boost to eighty along with some high-level gear gave the means for me to properly experience the expansion after completing the swift tutorial.

What immediately struck me was the guidance system on the minimal. There are no lines or arrows pointing you in the right direction. Instead there are military drawings that point you in the right direction. I found this to make the game much more immersive rather than the traditional unbroken line for you to follow. Exploration is more personal as watching the mini-map is less demanding on attention, something rare in games development.

The overall art style is a masterpiece. There aren’t many games, even outside of the MMO genre that match Guild Wars 2s level of originality. Everything looks like a painting. The map is especially good as it looks like a masterpiece of colour and brush strokes. The UI consists of sketches that make it look like it came straight out of a concept book from early development. Having these visuals create a distraction from the seriousness of similar games.

The story is a good one, it follows a journey to find and fight Balthazar, the God of war. The story, well written, complimented by quality voice acting. Instanced storytelling makes for a more personal experience without dealing with party members. The cut scenes explain the plot well and the flow is consistent and logical. Real-time dialogue also accompanies plot advancements, making the game more immersive.

While travelling through the world, there were many events that tried to push for group play. I’m sure that when the expansion first released this would have made for a more enjoyable experience. It would have allowed the community to interact, aid and compete against each other. Alas the community has moved on and the events are a reminder of what came before. The events now lie dead as they become difficult to complete as a lone wolf. An unfortunate symptom of progression.

One event involved defending a small village from a raiding party. Enemies attacked in waves with a progress bar to keep track of kills. It was a timed event to put on the pressure. Two of us managed to hold back the raid and claimed victory, a large experience gain was our reward. From a more relaxed perspective, another event involved herding lizards back into their pen. A distraction from the usual combat based mechanics by replacing it with humour and a different style of competitiveness. Even if it did mean taking last place.

The world isn’t completely dead. You do come across people within the towns and there was some level of interaction, just not enough to allow the vast majority of the events to be of any real interest. The end game is still populated, but this is common within MMOs and is not something that is easily avoidable. There is the benefit of an experience multiplier while near other people. There is no party system, just a bonus stat that works within a radius around your vicinity.

The combat system within Guild Wars 2 is a mimic similar to World of Warcraft. Abilities are located on a hotbar and activated through number keys. Veterans of the MMO genre may see this as a good mechanic, but competitors have better styles of combat. This is Guild Wars 2s biggest flaw, and it’s a shame. If developed with more intuitive combat, there would be no question of Guild Wars 2s position within its genre. Tab-targeting is a mechanic which has passed its “sell-by-date”. The mechanic is dated and lacklustre in comparison to newer releases such as Elder Scrolls: Online.

There is no question that Guild Wars 2 deserves its place at the height of the MMO genre. Although the expansion may appear empty, the community is very alive. Path of Fire is bursting with content. Large maps allow for exploration and side quests enhance the content given within the main storyline. While there are some bad points, the experience is positive and progressive.

I would recommend this game to people looking for a good story or an introduction to the MMO community. World of Warcraft still holds the crown for the genre but with games like Guild Wars 2 gnashing at its heels. Blizzard should be worried for the future of their pioneering product.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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