Enter the world EverQuest Online Adventures (EQOA) for PlayStation 2 and take on a journey to explore the land of Norrath. Complete various quests, communicate with other online players, and kill monsters in the pursuit of experience points and money for your character. Use the money to buy new items and equipment and the experience points to increase your characters level so that you can fight larger and more powerful creatures.On your journey you will encounter such creatures as bats, rats, spiders, skeletons, mummies, fish, giants, ogres, orcs, dragons, and more that you will have to defeat on your own or by teaming up with other players you meet online. Explore the huge continent of Tunaria that is more than 320 square miles and includes 12 different cities with many other things to explorer as you travel to and from each city.
Meeting people in EverQuest Online Adventures is half of the fun. If you don’t like to chat with people or play a game that requires you to team up and communicate with other players then you probably won’t like EverQuest Online Adventures for PlayStation 2. If the thought of joining thousands of other players in a virtual online world to fight against the forces of evil in search of experience points and loot interests you, then EQOA might be just the ticket for you as long as you can get past some of the less appealing parts of the game.
One of the less than stellar areas of EverQuest Online Adventures is the graphics. Being a port of the PC game that was originally developed back in 1999 really shows in EQOA’s graphics, animation, and texture quality. Don’t expect to see groundbreaking graphics while playing EverQuest Online Adventures. Actually, EQOA’s graphics may be some of the worst on the PlayStation 2 but the game isn’t about graphics and there might be a reason for them being below average. The only reason I can see for having low quality character models and textures is because there will be times in the game where a lot of characters and creatures will be on the screen at once. If this happened with more details the game might slow down so bad it would be unplayable. The graphics are not horrible but they are not even close to some of the newer games that are on the market today.
Related to the graphics is your character’s appearance. When creating your character you get to choose from 10 races, 14 classes, and male and female versions of each. You also get to choose your character’s face, hairstyle, and hair length, from a selection of 4 each and hair color from a selection of 8. This doesn’t allow much customization of your character after you choose a race, class, and gender. I wish it at least allowed you to define their height, weight, and skin color like Phantasy Star Online does. Once you start playing the game you will be able to buy clothing and armor but that is also limited by your character’s experience level and cash flow. So, you will still be confined to only certain things you can use and your character will still end up looking like most of the other people of the same race, class, gender and level.
The next thing that could use some work in EQOA is the sound effects and music. The sound effects are few and far between and only okay when you do hear them. EverQuest Online Adventures has some ambient sounds to make you feel like you are in the virtual world of Norrath, like birds chirping and water flowing but most of the time you will only hear your footsteps while walking around. There is no music while you are adventuring at all by default and there are only two looping songs that you can turn on under the options menu that play during battle sequences. These songs are okay and provide a sense of urgency, but they are nothing special that you will remember. I noticed myself turning the volume down on my surround sound system so I didn’t have to hear my character walking around since it started to irritate me. The fight sequences have limited sound effects also and the ones you hear are not spectacular. I can see why the graphics are not up to the standards of today but the music and sound effects should have been upgraded in my opinion.
The other part of EQOA that I thought wasn’t going to be good was the controls but Sony Online Entertainment did a decent job of converting the PC control scheme to the PlayStation 2’s controller even though it is not perfect. For the most enjoyable EQOA experience, I would definitely recommend buying a USB keyboard for communicating and playing. The basic walking around, targeting, and communicating with non-playing characters works well with the Dual Shock 2 controller but other parts of the controls can get confusing. Trying to communicate with controller is pretty much impossible since you have to either type one letter at a time on the virtual keyboard or choose from a menu of predefined general messages that are not that detailed and hard to get to during battle.
Speaking of the battles, targeting can get confusing with the controller since you have to target yourself for healing and defensive spells and then switch back to the monster to attack them again. More than once, I targeted the wrong creature after targeting myself for healing and attacked them causing them to start attacking me also on top of the first creature I attacked. This usually led to my death and frustration. Though dying isn’t as big of a deal in Everquest Online Adventure compared to Everquest for the PC, since you don’t lose all your experience points you gained since your last save. Instead, you accrue a debt that you have to pay off before you will gain full experience for the creatures you kill. In other words, half of your experience points you earn by killing monsters after you die goes towards your debt and the other half goes to your experience level as usual until you pay your debt off. This is a pretty nice and a fair penalty for dying.
So, is EverQuest Online Adventures a game that everyone will enjoy? Probably not, but if you want to play a massively multiplayer online role-playing game on PlayStation 2 you have no other choice as of this writing until Final Fantasy XI comes out. The game plays well via 56K modem and broadband so you should not experience any major lag via either connection which is a good thing. EQOA’s graphics and sound are lacking but if you can get by that and meet some nice people to play with online you should enjoy it. I definitely would not recommend EQOA to anyone that doesn’t like medieval style games, online chatting, and games that require a lot of time to get anywhere. But, if those things sound interesting to you then EverQuest Online Adventure might be right up your alley and I recommend checking it out.
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