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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Sony Online Entertainment
Developed By: Sigil Games Online
Genre: Online RPG
Players: Unlimited
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: January 30, 2007
Written By: Matthew Prunty
Screenshots: LINK
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When looking at the box for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, you can tell that this game is indeed a massive one. Going by the specs, your computer has to be pretty equipped to enjoy this experience without any issues, not to mention almost 20GB worth of space to install the game on your hard drive. Out of all the PC games I have played, this has to be the biggest one to date, maybe even ever! After installing the title and setting up the game to play, you are immediately thrown into an immersive world. And like most MMORG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing) titles, you reap the rewards are several hours worth of gaming. Whether it’s worth your time and patience, depends on the player, but this a clear winner in my book.

Before you can set out to do battle, you must first create your character. This is key element of the overall presentation of Saga of Heroes. Depending on the continent you select, you will choose between 19 playable races and 15 professions (classes) for your character. Once you have made your choice, you get the opportunity to customize characters features from hair, to body type, to clothing. Having this level of customizing within a title, allows for a wide variety of characters to be created, so no two people have the same setup (online mode). Once your character is created, you are placed within a dark and dismal area where you will chat with several different people, which will dole out the many quests you can take part within. From here, your adventures within the fantasy world of Telon begin.

The overall title is broken down into three different spheres (categories). You have Adventure, Crafting, and Diplomacy. For those who want to dive right into the heart of the game, probably would want to enter the Adventure sphere. Within this mode, you would go out on several quests; which follow within the parameters of the plot of the title, kill a variety of monsters, and if deemed worthy, save the world. But for those who aren’t quite ready with taking on that heavy burden, you can always take part within the other modes. Within Crafting, you will be basically creating almost anything the title could possibly come up with. This mode uses a rather difficult system in which you would use ingredients, various recipes, and an actual working station to create a variety of products (a la a real craftsman). Just like the Adventure mode, this mode has its own set of classes and levels, so by spending time playing the game, you can look to perfect your skills and abilities. The possibilities of what you create and start out with armor, and works its way all the way up to building ships.

The Diplomacy sphere is based around an awkward card-based game where you can earn benefits, which can be utilized by yourself and/or by the faction you have aligned yourself with. You can reap various rewards like information or even treasure by involving yourself within a “war of words”. Each card has its own set of costs, attributes and effects and you are required to keep the argument within your favor in order to prevail.

To reap the full benefits of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, you are required to have a high end computer. I’m not saying that if your computer meets the specifications of the title, you won’t be able to play it. The game adoption of immersive worlds full of rich textures and highly detailed graphics causes the title to suffer within the frame-rate department. To combat this problem, you would have to turn off many of the visual effects that make this title a true visual masterpiece, which takes away from the overall experience within the title.

But for those who are willing to deal with the problematic area, are in for a visual masterpiece. Each landscape, whether it be Thestra and its beautiful green meadows and hills, or the rocky desert of Qalia, each landscape provides a rich and immersive experience (both visually and gameplay wise).

Saga of Heroes opts for a setup using controls similar to FPS (First-Person Shooter) titles, which could take some time to get use to. Q and E are sued for strafing, while A and D are used to your character. To select various targets, you would use the mouse. To move the camera, you would click and hold the left mouse button in order to turn the camera to your liking. But because your character moves within the direction they are facing, rather than the direction of the camera, you have to often switch your camera view to make sure your character is moving the right direction.

The musical score is a solid addition to the title, but is also plagued with its own share of problems. For one, the dialogue within the various missions is often repeated over and over, which can get tiresome to hear.

Being build as a MMORG, there are tons of things to do and be involved within. For those who have gotten their fill of the Adventure mode, they could always dive into the Crafting, Diplomacy, or even the Harvesting modes, which also have their share of depth and immersion. Each sphere has its own in-depth complexity, thus providing a challenge for any of the veterans or newcomers out there, something that they are always looking to overcome.

Overall Thoughts
Though Vanguard: Saga of Heroes can be picked up and played by anyone, I can help but get the feeling that this title was geared more to those who would enjoy titles like World of Warcraft or who have an extensive amount of MMO experience under their belt. This title provides a solid and immersive adventure within every aspect of the Role Playing genre, but I feel that Sigil Games Online could of spent a little bit more time to ensure an overall quality performance out of their product. A gamer shouldn’t have to dumb down the specs of the game in order to have an experience that isn’t plagued by graphical an frame-rate issues. I still would recommend this title to anyone who wants to give it a go or are looking for a solid MMORG to spend some weeks playing. I just hope in the future that Sigil Games Online ensures that situations like this wont plagued their future productions.


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