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Lineage II
game: Lineage II
two star
posted by: Jason Frank
publisher: NCsoft
developer: NCsoft
ESRB rating: T (Teen)
date posted: 12:00 AM Mon Dec 27th, 2004
last revision: 12:00 AM Mon Dec 27th, 2004

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Let me begin by admitting that I am not a MMORPG gamer.  I have never played one.  Ever.  Then again, I believe that means I have few preconceptions of what my gaming experience should be like, and I had no idea what to expect as I installed Lineage II.


That said; let me begin this review with an observation after playing Lineage II for about 3-4 days:  I would rather go to the dentist and have multiple root canals performed without Novocain.   Perhaps that gives you a sense of where this review is going to go.


Fresh out of the box, I was amused to find my Collector's DVD Edition? came with a 3d paper cutout of an anime looking female elf.  It wasn't an auspicious beginning.  Any computer game that offers me something that reads Needs wood glue? (unfortunately not to sniff) strikes me as a bit weird.


Undaunted, I put aside my wood art offering and installed Lineage II; and the fun? began.  First, I had to fiddle about 20 minutes at the online account creation site.  Second, the Quickstart? guide recommended I do a full file check when given the chance -- this lasted over an hour and a half on a cable connection as it updated? file after file after file after file after file (sorry I slipped into Lineage II play mode).  Insanity. 


Just so you are following:  you shell out $40 (okay, okay I got it for free to review, but others will not be so (un)lucky) then get home and pay your $15/month to play the game and then have over a two hour install time.  I don't know about you; but this isn't the gaming goodness I expect from a product that I've shelled out over $50 to play.


The graphics are, hands down, gorgeous.  Remember, I haven't played other online games, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I found Lineage II to have excellent graphics and eye candy in the time I played it. 


Unfortunately, that is the one good thing I can say about my experience with Lineage II.


After creating a character; choosing from human, dark elves, orcs, dwarves and elves; I chose to be a fighter over a mystic, assuming I was going to be doing lots of melee in order to move my character up in level.  I found this to be flat compared to, say, Arcanum or Fallout or Vampire the Masquerade's many character decisions.  Lineage II felt like making a paper doll with just as much personality.  I realize, in a MMORPG, I get to actually *be* the personality, but I play these games to escape,  not to have Jason Hickman run around quoting thee and thy and trying to act Orcish to people ?. It felt like being in a Lord of the Ring's live drama chat room, a bad one.


I have read, because I do not have the patience to play this long, that things get interesting around level 20 and level 40... but getting to level 20 must take years of killing critters that become bland after a few hours.  The point seems to be to kill things to then go and buy the right weapons, armor etc.  Sort of like Chuckie Cheese's where they want you to believe that the pizza you are eating is actually worth $3.50 a slice and those little tickets you won after buying $30 of tokens really *are* worth trading in for the plastic alien whistle with glowing eyes.  If you are a power gamer, someone who lives to level up their character and his/her items without any personality or storyline, then this game is for you.


I am still, even after playing for a while, baffled by why people elect to play these games.  I was completely unprepared by the boring repetition that followed.  Go kill creature, rinse, repeat.  I also did not enjoy the character interactions.  Maybe I'm anti-social or maybe I have a LIFE outside of gaming already and don't need social interaction in my games beyond scripted NPCs.  I enjoy a good story; I don't enjoy chat-room level interaction that is (supposedly?) enhanced by having graphics added.


I have a friend who enjoys being part of a virtual community that literally has houses, block? parties, and elects block leaders?.  I find it pathetic.  I sincerely hope no one's social life is so dismayingly gray as to require playing Lineage II for social interaction.


When I play a game, I want to have FUN.  This was lacking in abundance in Lineage II; unless you count the cute anime elf women in armor designed by someone not very concerned with protection.


My confession is that I never got past the grind.  I am sure there are parts that are more intriguing.  I simply don't care.  I have high standards for games and Lineage II doesn't meet any of them.  It feels like a swindle.


I have never understood people who are willing to pay hard earned cash on a regular basis (remember in 3 months of playing Lineage II you have spent enough additional money to have bought another full game) in order to simply gain another level, another item, another statistic.  I realize, if you love Diablo, that that is often the appeal of other RPGs, but I often look for things like:  story, atmosphere, adventure, romance, unexpected plot twists?. And for a game to grip me hard from the moment I begin.  I want a game to make me want to keep playing it.  I enjoy having a hard time making myself go to bed at night,  that is a good game.  Lineage II made me want to stand in a puddle of water and stick a fork in the electrical socket.


Maybe it's just me.  I am well aware it could be.  But I think it fair to state that I have played other games that I don't care for? and still understood the appeal they have for other gamers, even if they aren't my particular cup of tea.  Unfortunately, I still do not get MMORPGs?.


Other online games might offer more (I hope?) in terms of avatars, character creation, quests, and story, but I think this computer player will stick with single player games.  With all the games I've played, even the bad ones, something more has happened in the first hour than trying to finish the damn install and then following it with a slug-fest for *hours* in order to advance a measly little bit while my Visa bill adds up.


Perhaps others will suggest MMORPGs worth playing, but I have a hard time wanting to play a game that keeps on taking (my cash) instead of giving.  No thanks.