Game Over Online ~ EverQuest: The Ruins of Kunark

GameOver Game Reviews - EverQuest: The Ruins of Kunark (c) Verant Interactive, Reviewed by - Lou Boyle

Game & Publisher EverQuest: The Ruins of Kunark (c) Verant Interactive
System Requirements Pentium 200, 64MB Ram, 3D Accelerator, Internet Connection
Overall Rating 86%
Date Published Friday, May 5th, 2000 at 03:01 PM

Divider Left By: Lou Boyle Divider Right

Just when you thought you were getting over your EverQuest addiction, along comes The Ruins of Kunark, the eagerly awaited expansion pack for Verant Interactive's gaming drug. It's become a cliché over the years but I'll say it again, there's a fine line between a good expansion pack and a shrink-wrapped patch. More often than not, expansion packs don't live up to standards as we've already seen a few times this year. EverQuest: The Ruins of Kunark is a welcome change to that theory by not only adding on to the previous experience, but by actually improving it.

The Ruins of Kunark expands on the already vast world of Norrath considerably. For starters, it introduces a new continent in the southeastern region of the world, featuring over 20 new and unique zones to explore. Among the new areas are frozen tundras, dense jungles, hobbled temples and other large Greco-Roman like structures. Not only are there a variety of new zones to traverse but many of those zones are considerably larger in mass. One of the complaints many adventurers voiced previously concerned the lack of land mass. Verant has addressed the issue by expanding the territory and creating a much more detailed landscape. Graphically, The Ruins of Kunark features a much higher poly count and more detail in textures, eclipsing the already solid graphics of the original game. Of course, the downside to such an improvement means the system requirements for EverQuest have increased slightly. You'll undoubtedly need at least 128 megs of RAM in order to trot around The Ruins of Kunark comfortably, not to mention a strong video card and CPU speed.

The new zones are populated with an assortment of new creatures. You'll encounter a new breed of Goblin and Giant, larger creatures along the lines of Yetis, Giant Wurms and Dragons, and such creative creatures as a half-human, half-arachnoid monster. No zone is safe and the variety of creatures available will have you battling for hours.

Also included in the expansion is a new playable race, the Iksar. The Iksar are snarling lizardmen with long tails. They have the ability to regenerate their hit points faster than most other races and have such inherent skills as seeing in the dark as well as running and swimming at extremely quick rates. The Iksar are a predominantly evil race and are despised in Norrath, so adventuring too far can get you in a bit of trouble. Being an evil race, you'll be able to choose between Warrior, Shadow Knight, Necromancer, Monk and Shaman classes. The Iksar race will certainly appeal to both rookie and veteran EverQuest players as it gives veterans the chance to start anew with unknown territories to explore.

The Ruins of Kunark also plays well for veterans whose character has been stuck at level 50 due to the cap. The expansion pack allows characters to go up to level 60 and along with the advancement, can gain new abilities, spells and items. Many of the new zones in The Ruins of Kunark cater to such high level characters in its design. The Ruins are far from a walk in the park, although it does feature many areas that will allow lower-experienced adventurers to gain the experience and items necessary to further their quests.

The Ruins of Kunark isn't without a few flaws though. As I pointed out earlier, the system requirements have risen sharply due to the increase in poly count and texture detail. Those looking for an improvement in the sound department will also be disappointed as Verant Interactive has added nothing new to the audio experience. In fact, some of the noises the new creatures make don't quite sound right at all. Why non-human creatures cry out in human voices when struck is beyond me. Obviously the audio wasn't quite ready when the expansion pack shipped.

The Ruins of Kunark does exactly what an expansion pack should do. It expands on the experience known as EverQuest and improves it at the same time. Graphically, the new zones look better. Combine that with the addition of a new race, a new continent, the change from level 50 to level 60 characters, new items, spells and creatures and you've basically got a fantastic addition that is a must for EverQuest adventurers.

Note: Screenshots courtesy of GameSpy.

[ 22/25 ] Volume of Enhancements
[ 22/25 ] Quality of Enhancements
[ 08/10 ] Worthiness
[ 17/20 ] Increased Entertainment Value
[ 09/10 ] Improved Multiplayer
[ 08/10 ] Overall Impression


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