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Platform: Windows® 95/98/00/ME/XP
Publisher: Vivendi Universal Games
Developer: Mythic Entertainment
Genre: Multiplayer Online RPG
Format: CD-ROM
Released: US 12/03/02



Scorecard
Graphics: 85%
Sound: 75%
Gameplay: 70%
Control: 85%
Story: 70%
Overall: 75%
Reviews Grading Scale
 
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Stunning water effects.
 
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Talk about a wooden smile.
 
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The bowels of Trollheim.
 
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I never leave home without my back-scratcher.
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Timothy Duong
Dark Age of Camelot: Shrouded Isles
09/11/03
Timothy Duong

In the world of Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, very few people are oblivious to the miraculous achievements of Mythic Entertainment with Dark Age of Camelot. Rumoured to be the very reason Verant no longer posted server population in late 2001, Dark Age of Camelot took many people by surprise. It was originally defined as a watered down version of Everquest by many, but that may very well be the key to its success.

After enjoying a year of prosperity, Mythic Entertainment has expanded the kingdoms of Camelot with the latest expansion: Shrouded Isles.

What Changes?

At first glance, nothing of the gameplay has really been given a full upgrade. But this isn't the first time an expansion fails to "improve" the game.

The one thing that truly makes playing Shrouded Isles more appealing is the ability to play in windowed mode. This allows gamers to endure those long solitary downtimes or just be able to talk to friends who do not frequent Camelot. This also eases the pains of searching for quest information.

They've modified the GUI slightly, adding two additional slots to the quickbar. This helps characters with many skills be more efficient during critical times. They've also increased the number of inventory space players have in order to lengthen their hunting time before running to the nearest merchant to unload.

Shrouded Isles also introduces three new races into the world. With these new races, an epic struggle is given new life, and players have new evils to conquer. Each isle is also being invaded by a new threat, and no longer is the war against the other realms, but now struggle is within their very own lands.

New Faces, New Foes

A Troll Father has made his way to Jordheim, in Midgard, seeking out brave souls who would have the courage to face the most dangerous of foes. A savage, prehistoric race known as the Morvalts has besieged Aegir. The Troll Fathers have fought valiantly, but the tides of war are shifting, and it is not in their favor. Converting some of the savages over the years, they lend their enlightened warriors, who call themselves the Valkyn, to the fight.

In Hibernia, things are no better off with the ancient Sylvan's land being threatened by the ruthless Fomorians. These foul beasts seem bent on destroying all that is beautiful and pure. The Sylvans now turn to Hibernia for aid in the fight for HyBrasil.

With the aid of Morgana, the Drakoran forces have taken Avalon. Their lust for conquest unquenched, they now look towards Albion. But all is not lost for Arawn, Morgana's ancient rival, has come to offer a slave race know as the Inconnu to assist. Will this be enough to save Albion?

Ancient Allies Bring Ancient Ways Of Life

Each realm has also received two new classes.

In Midgard, bonedancers and savages join the ranks. The former are strong spell casters who have the ability to reanimate the bones of dead animals for various uses. Most notable is their ability to command these skeletal creatures and to control up to four later in the bonedancer's advancement. The later are exactly what their title suggests; they lust for blood and live for battle. They would rather fight with their hands than spend years mastering the arts of unnecessary weapons.

The realm of Hibernia has been blessed with valewalkers and animists. Animists have a kinship with plant life. They are able to channel nature and use it to craft spells. Unlike the wardens and druids of Hibernia, the animist do not wish to protect nature; instead, they wish to become nature. Though the Sylvans are magical by nature, the valewalkers are their version of a warrior. Wielding a scythe, the valewalkers wear no armor except for a cloth robe. Instead, they wield powerful protection spells.

On the Albion front, necromancers and reavers have appeared. A priest class, necromancers are given the ability to summon the dead to their aid. Though necromancers have little defence against attackers, they have the unique ability to become a shade once a dead creature has been summoned. Reavers are a mix between champions and thanes. They are granted some debuffs as well as lifetap spells to increase their combat proficiency.

Shrouded Isles introduces three new weapon classes: Flexible, Scythe, and Hand-to-Hand. Each of these weapons corresponds to one of the new fighter classes. Reavers use flexible weapons, the scythe is the weapon of choice of the valewalkers, and hand-to-hand is a savage's combat preference.

As Expected

A typical expansion in the genre of MMORPGs, Shrouded Isles makes the Dark Age of Camelot world notably larger, forges new allies, populates the land with new monsters to be discovered, increases the number of quests, and gives a slight facelift to the graphics.

This is probably not going to attract new players to the underdog that is Dark Age of Camelot, but it will keep current subscribers content until their next expansion, Trials of Atlantis.



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© 2001 Mythic Entertainment, Inc.
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