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Guild Wars Nightfall Review

Jeremy Star Posted:
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Performance - Like a well-oiled gnome

Nightfall is one of those great games that looks good even when you have to turn the graphics down. That's great news for someone who has to run this on a lower end PC. I tried it out on my laptop and Nightfall runs pretty smooth. Sure, there are hiccups and some stuttering framerates during heavy action, but that's what you deal with when you run any game on a machine close to the minimum specs. For comparison, WoW runs about the same on my laptop, with the graphics sliders halfway down, and Everquest II makes my laptop alternate between laughing at me and coughing up smoke - which is to say that EQII does not run at any sort of playable framerate.

On a decent gaming rig, Nightfall runs like a dream. I can crank up all the options to full and it runs with nary a hitch. Sometimes ultra-crowded cities will cause a brief drop in FPS, but compared to any game with graphics this pretty, Nightfall is the performance champion.

I also want to briefly mention the way Nightfall is "patched". After installing the base game, the first time you visit each area the game decompresses some files for a few seconds. After that, if there is new content added to an area, it downloads and patches when you visit the area it effects, which usually only takes a few seconds. Aside from an occasional delay when you first stat the game due to new material being loaded, that is the only downtime a patch causes. It's quick, it's painless, and - by God - it's the most elegantly simple patching solution I have ever seen.

Customer Service - I'm right!

I can't say anything good or bad about customer service. There are no forums for people to whine, so there are no customer service agents playing peacemaker. CS basically exists so that you can send them a trouble ticket, and they can email you a solution or advise you that the problem is being looked in to. I sent a ticket in to test, and was given an auto-response email almost instantaneously. A live person responded less than 24 hours later. Service was on par with any other MMORPG CS department I have interacted with.

Fun - The Woot! factor

Nightfall scores big marks in the fun department. Even with the immersion-breaking commentary and community, the PVE campaign is a blast. There are plenty of side missions to do, places to see, and items to collect. I wasted many nights away exploring Elona and peeling away layers of the story, and it's fairly rare for an MMORPG to suck me in for as long as Nightfall has. PVP is also fairly amusing, assuming you can find a decent group of players to fight with you.

Value - Better than a blue light special on beer

Nightfall retails for right around 50 dollars US. There are no monthly fees. That means it's pretty much the best value you can get out of a triple-A MMORPG game. Any other game in this league is going to cost you 15 dollars a month, plus the cost of the boxed game or download. Plenty of games have cost me much more and provided me with much less. Let's not forget that Nightfall is a full fledged campaign for the Guild Wars setting, meaning it has more content than any expansion I have ever seen, and you don't need to buy the base game to enjoy it.

Final Say - This is the end, my friend

While Nightfall may not be as deep as some other MMORPGs, it's still a blast to play. The PVE story is engaging and interesting, and that's more than you can say about almost any other MMORPG out there.

You can't really go wrong with a game like Nightfall. If you buy it and lose interest for a few months, you can always come back later without renewing a subscription or feeling guilty for paying for something you haven't been using, and the graphical goodness means you won't be going back to something that looks dated anytime soon.

A note on the overall score: While you may think that 7.3 is a low score for a game I seemed to like quite a bit, keep in mind that community and roleplaying scored low, while the other marks were generally higher than average to excellent. Since this score is an average, those two low marks dragged down the score.


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Jeremy Star