Age of Conan UPDATE: Revisiting Tortage

In Gaming, MMO, RPG on July 31, 2009 at 3:59 pm

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Many of you may have read my previous review of Age of Conan. I found that a majority of users who play the game did agree with my review, while about 50% of the rest felt I did not do the game justice and the remaining 50% felt I had been too lenient. Perhaps. There are valued points on both sides of the argument, and it finally comes down to personal taste, experiences, and opinion. However, I feel that anyone who takes the time to actually play the game, and ponder the various points I raised may find that most of my impressions were quite accurate.

The Gates of Tortage at Night

The Gates of Tortage at Night

One of the points I raised about the game that realy peeved me was the instanced game world. Despite that, I must say that the graphics and design of the world are really good and will often leave you awed at its beauty. So I decided to take a second excursion through tortage. I created a new character (whom I had to delete recreate a few times on the beach, as I kept getting the race, the server or some other detail wrong), and decided to play through the first 20 levels. I must say, I am impressed. I could not have played the game on the settings I used this time. In fact, I’m on HIGH and then some. Which is to say, I’ve used the default ‘High’ preset and turned on a lot of other enhancements on top of that. I still get 30-50fps from the game at these settings, and so I was furiously spamming the F11 key, once again.

While I really wanted to hold these back for the Part II of my AoC review, I succumbed to the temptation to post them early. So this is going to be a relatively short article, with a short introduction followed by a larger gallery of screenshots.  For those players wondering whether to get back into the game, these screenshots (taken on a mere 8600M GT laptop card) should give you some indication as to what the game looks and feels like. Now just imagine what you could do with even an 8800 GTX or a Radeon 4870 which are very average desktop cards these days.

As I mentioned in my last article, the overall gameplay in Tortage is fantastic. You don’t even feel the levels go by. I was so immersed in the story  and the excellent voice acting that before I knew it I was level 14. Only 6 levels to go to finish up there, but I have a feeling I’m going to stick around and finish every single quest in Tortage (even the ‘grey’ ones) as I did with my first character. This is my fifth or sixth time around Tortage, but BY CROM! it’s good.

The Screenshots

I’ve included screenshots of both daytime and nighttime play. It lead me to clamour even more, at Funcom’s tightly bolted door, for this kind of experience through the rest of the game. I just love how the town turns all spooky at night, with all the vendors missing, guards roaming about ready to kill you if they spot you (curfews, FTW). It would be brilliant if these changes were coded into dynamic day-night transitions in the major cities through the rest of the world, plus the addition of towns, similar to the ‘Tortage experience’, scattered through the lands… Ah well.

After all this, I may try out Warhammer again. I know I said I wouldn’t, but I think after this excursion into AoC I owe Warhammer at least two more weeks of hell… er, fun. Perhaps when I’m done with Part II of my AoC review I’ll give that a shot. For now, I have an NVidia GT300 article in the works, and that should be out in a matter of hours so I will need to work on that. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t plan to go into Warhammer with a negative bias, hell-bent on proving I am right. I really REALLY wanted to like that game. I had HUGE hopes for it. But I slowly started to see that it sucked and if it now convinces me otherwise I am more than willing to begin worshipping at the Altar of EA Mythic. For now, forgive my unbelief — it is indeed well deserved.

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