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Game Over Online ~ Myth 2: Soulblighter

GameOver Game Reviews - Myth 2: Soulblighter (c) Bungie, Reviewed by - Pred / Trip_In /

Game & Publisher Myth 2: Soulblighter (c) Bungie
System Requirements Pentium 166, 32 MB Ram, DirectX 5.0+
Overall Rating 90%
Date Published Thursday, December 24th, 1998 at 10:48 AM


Divider Left By: Pred Divider Right

Myth II : Soulblighter is the sequel to the incredibly popular Myth : The Fallen Lords, one of '97s standout games. This time around a Direct3D renderer is added to the original's Glide and Software renderers, allowing for a much larger target audience. Having played the original infrequently, and never really getting into it, this review focuses on Myth II as a game in it's own right, as opposed to a comparison between Myth and Myth II.

Gameplay:
The interface designed for Myth II is the epitome of elegance, allowing the novice complete control over his various minions of pillage. Anyone familiar with other RTS games will appreciate its simplicity, as well as the power it offers to the advanced user. Formations, a part of the game whereby the user can control how his troops form up prior to battle, are well implemented and extremely important to successful campaigning. Dividing warriors into various battle groups is also essential to success, and the game handles this easily. All in all, a job well done in the controls department. Pathfinding and AI were good as well, but nothing groundbreaking.

The single player game was fun to play, with much of the credit for that being given to the great cutscenes and the atmospheric storytelling that drives the missions. For most of the missions you can take your time, which is good, since this is a strategy game and planning is essential. Also, in a break from the classical RTS mold, you do not mine anything in this game, no ore, no gold, no nothing. You are a commander in the field of battle, not a bureaucrat. One feature I really loved about this game was the way terrain was handled. Placing archers atop a hill really does give them a huge advantage, as their range and accuracy increases. The opposite of course is true for troops forced to run uphill during an attack, they become much less effective. This is something that I felt was missing from most other games of this genre, and is a welcome feature that really brings the game to another level, especially in multiplayer.

Graphics:
Graphically speaking, Myth II is far and away the best looking pure strategy game available. The scenery looks great, the 3d terrain is awesome, water effects etc., are all there. Units within the game have fairly good animations, a little on the skimpy side though. They don't move quite as fluidly as you'd expect, which brings me to the Achilles' heel of the Myth II rendering engine: chop. I've got a fairly powerful system, and during battles the game would get really, really choppy. During some multiplayer battles it was disgustingly bad. This could be because I chose the normal install (100mb on HD) as opposed to the large install (500mb), but that is still unacceptable. Companies have got to wake up and realize that people don't have 500mb of HD space to devote to one game. Regardless, if you can live with the periodic slowdowns, the graphics are second to none.

Sound:
The sound effects in this game were adequate, but one thing that I felt really stood out was the music. The music plays perfectly to the overall mood of the game, and really added atmosphere. Add great music to very well animated cutscenes and you have a killer vehicle to carry the plot.

Multiplayer:
I didn't get to test this as much as I'd have liked, due to lack of competition, but from what I've seen the multiplayer works very well (granted, I played a cable opponent, and am on cable myself). Players have the option of playing via bungie.net, creating their own TCP/IP games, or playing over LAN. The quality of your multiplayer experience will undoubtedly depend on your connection, as well as the quality of the competition =)

Fun Factor:
Great fun, especially if you are a fan of the RTS genre. This game gives you the opportunity to be the commander you've always wanted to be, without the hassles of micromanaging SCVs and peons.

Overall:
Good game, excellent graphics (if a bit on the slow side), fun multiplayer, great sound, excellent story-driven missions. All in all, a great game.

 

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Rating
87%
 

 

 
 

 

 

Divider Left By: Trip_In Divider Right

Bungie is back; not only to make a lot more money and win a few more awards, but also to prove that they should be a recognized force within the gaming industry. Myth 2: Soulblighter is one of the most highly anticipated titles of 1998. It is the sequel to a game that won many prestigious awards last year and was picked by many as the game of the year. Many gamers around the globe have been eagerly awaiting the release of Myth 2: Soulblighter, and now the wait is finally over. The only question left is whether or not it lives up to the standard set by its predecessor, and can it surpass them. This time around we see the introduction of a choice between Direct3D rendering and the standard Glide and Software rendering. It seems that Bungie is hoping to strike a greater target audience.

The story line of the game is fairly simple; good versus evil. This is a short extract from Bungie to familiarize yourself with the role you will take in the game. "It's been 60 years since the Battle at the Great Devoid put an end to the Fallen in Myth: The Fallen Lords. For the last 10 years, Alric's army has stood down, sure that Soulblighter is gone forever. But some think that Soulblighter still lives, if so, the kingdom is in a position of extreme peril." The storyline slowly unfolds as you progress through the levels. This was my favorite aspect of the game because of the realistic sounding storytelling which really absorbs you into the game and captures your attention.

The gameplay in Myth 2 is very strategically and tactically sound. It's not simply a game of brawling, but is something that may require you to think. I found this a bit of a challenge, especially having come from games such as Warcraft 2, where my sheer brutality was unstoppable. There is a lot of attacking and counter-attacking, move and counter-move going on in each level. I found a lot of the earlier levels didn't require you to do this as much, but as you progress through Myth 2, a slight lack of thinking will cut you down to size. A good feature is the ability to set your units into several different formations. However, I found this slow and tedious at times as the units often kept running into each other. A big aspect of Myth 2's gameplay that was either going to make it or break it was it's user control. Being a 3d based world, you must be able to master the control of your units and their surroundings. The biggest problem I had in the original was the rather extreme learning curve to get a full understanding of how to play the game. It seems Bungie heard our cries and have implemented a few new features to help the novice along. They implemented control bars on the screen with easy click icons to help beginning learn the game. I found that I could do nearly everything with the keyboard. Rotating the surroundings is now done with either the use of keys or the mouse. I found this a little confusing at first, but once I mastered the keys it became very useful. It allows you to get better angles for attacking or defending. I only have 2 complaints in terms of the gameplay. The first is the angle at which you begin the game. Even with the zoom function, I found it very frustrating and quite annoying that I could not easily change the angle at which I looked upon the world of Myth 2. The second is the rather annoying fact that Bungie, as far as I can see, have removed one of the most important features of any strategy game: the ability to de-select your units with your right mouse button. There may be the option to bind the right mouse button to this, but I can't see why it was taken out of Myth 2. Everyone who played the original Myth would have got used to this feature, and now they are going to have to learn something new. Ridiculous! Apart from these minor glitches I found Myth 2's gameplay up with the best. The A/I is better this time around and generally every other aspect has been improved.

First of all I just wanted to point out again that Myth 2 now allows for Direct3D rendering while retaining the standard Glide and Software rendering options. The graphics in Myth 2 are simply stunning. I loaded this game up and I was in awe of the beautiful 3D terrain that was presented before me. I found the graphics extremely smooth and the animations perfectly smooth as well. The units are semi-realistic in that they have a cartoony element of puffiness to them. Also when they get butchered, what was left of them sometimes left me wondering what we humans have inside of us. There is the use of 16 different camera perspectives around each character which makes a fairly realistic looking creature; only 8 different camera perspectives were used in the original Myth. A good feature in Myth 2 is the ability to change to a resolution of 1024x768 and the use of 24 bit color. This gives us an overall more detailed view of the world in Myth 2. You can certainly notice a difference with the use of 24 bit coloring. There is also an abundance of life running around, being it pigs, chickens, or even fish jumping in the water area's, that add to the detail of Myth 2.

Total Audio is back again to re-create the wonderful sounds we experienced in the first Myth. Total Audio would have to be up there with the best in the music industry and they do not for a minute let us down. Myth 2 now offers support for 3D sound, which gave an added sense of realism to the game. It allows the player the ability to get a better grasp of their surroundings: you can now hear things approach from the distance, and it actually does sound like they are getting closer and closer. It also allows you to judge things such as the distance you are from an enemy as they are coming in for an attack, without even looking. I loved the sound of the waterfalls: a gentle splash here and there. This kind of realism adds to the enjoyment of the game. Speech within the game is amazing. The narrator brings life each and every level with an intriguing story. The blurbs the units say are also very amusing and in times of hardship the little mirth they do give is welcome. The music of the game is simply stunning. I was a little disappointed that the music only appears between levels but still, it was fantastic.

This game kicks ass; it contains the aspects of a good strategy game as well as the ability to use skill to win, rather than your mouse clicking power. If you love the RTS genre, this is the game for you. You don't have to worry about building or harvesting shit, you simply get to command your troops and make them kick some butt. Net games such as Assassin, Stampede, Hunting, and King of the Hill makes this game a real blast.

I have been waiting a long time for a game that can completely immerse me into its unique atmosphere and keep me there. The sound, graphics, gameplay and the sheer amount of fun that can be extracted from this game make it in my opinion, one of the best games this year, if not the "Game of the Year". Multiplayer was excellent and I found the tutorial very handy. Additionally there are two campaign editors which allow you to create your own 3d maps complete with sounds and units. If you're into this kind of a game, this is a must for your Christmas list.

 

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Rating
87%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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