A couple of weeks ago I gave readers an exclusive preview of Age of Conan, and now I have the absolute pleasure to bring you the WarCry Network's official review of the game!
Yes, Age of Conan has been out [officially] for 10 days now, but if you were one of the organised ones (or rather, one of the eager players that put their copy of the game on pre-order the same time man first landed on the moon) like me, you would have begun your adventures in Hyboria a few days earlier thanks to Funcom's early-access program.
For those of you familiar with my work around here on the WarCry Network, you would know that I have been a supporter and fan of this production for quite a while, and very rarely have I ever had anything negative to say about the game or Funcom, its developer. I've written countless editorials on issues pertaining to Age of Conan or MMORPG gaming in general, written beta journals, given the gaming community insights into the development of the game. So what about this review? Well, unlike other reviewers that would have only gone as far as playing this game since the press were given beta access, I am actually basing my opinions and review on the two weeks that I have personally invested in Age of Conan, and now speaking not only as a critic, but as a paying customer. Yes, a customer: one individual among thousands and thousands that actually matter in this equation. The one thing important to keep in mind is that in this review I'm playing the exact same version of the game as you.
This review will head itself under five main criteria: Graphics (the look, mood, complexity vs. simplicity, and performance); Sound (music, sound effects, quality, etc.); Gameplay (learning curve, risk vs. reward, variety of gameplay experiences, player control, combat, soloing vs. group play, etc.); Design (GUI, world design, game mechanics); and Story (quest design, variety of quest types, plot, and player/character immersion). All of these criteria will be assessed and given a score out of 20 (the higher the better, obviously). After each of the five criteria have been assessed, a cumulative score will be given out of 100, and obviously the closer to 100 the cumulative/overall score is, the better. So without further ado, the review: