Myth II: Soulblighter is finally out! It took its sweet time getting here, but it has finally gotten to the stores. But was it worth the wait? What about the bug that delayed its release two weeks? Should I get it? These questions will be answered (unless I forget some).
As I said earlier, Myth II took a long time to arrive at the stores. First, the game wasn’t out by the end of November as I had hoped. Then it didn’t arrive in stores before Christmas, hurting sales greatly. And, to top it all off, a bug was discovered in the Windoze uninstaller! Though a few lucky people got it before the aforementioned Windoze uninstaller bug was discovered, most of us had to wait for the 1.1 updated version to hit the shelves.
So, after a prolonged wait, it arrived in stores, and my peecee using friend got it. I had preordered. but it hadn’t arrived. Turns out, they said my Dad hadn’t ordered it. So one night we stopped by Best Buy, not really expecting to see Myth II there, and I ran inside to check. And – you guessed it – I saw it! I grabbed and just about walked out of the store with it, before I realized I needed to pay for it. Fearing that someone would take it while I walked to the car, I hid it behind a Mahjong Parlor box (who ever buys that game anyway?). Now I’m probably gonna get flamed for saying that, but I thought it was a safe place. My Mom came in with me, and I bought it!
I related that little story to show you what I went through to get it. As you probably guessed, my expectations were really high for the game. Was I let down? Nope. The game was everything I thought (hoped) it would be. Though it was a bit slow on my family’s old 120 MHz Performa, it runs well in single-player, and if I turn off some options, multiplayer too. Now that I have an iMac, however, it runs flawlessly and looks really awesome! Now, on with the review.
Myth II is a what I call a real time tactical game, not so much a real time strategy game. What is the difference you ask? Well, in a RTS game you build structures and units and worry about the overall battle, not small battles. In a RTT game, you get your units and worry about how your going to attack and the small battles, not the large battles. This, combined with the 3D camera, make Myth II far different than other real time combat games. This difference is good. Not only does it make the game stand out, it also lends itself to a higher level of thinking while actually giving more action than RTS games. Now, instead of mindlessly clicking to build more units and then just telling them to attack, you must carefully maneuver your troops, get an uphill advantage, and then mount an attack with superior forces, all while fending off enemy attacks and keeping them distracted with hit and run attacks. As you can see, it requires a higher level of thinking.
But Myth II is definitely not just some brainiac game with no flare or style. Graphically, the game is much better looking than many 1st or 3rd person games, and it supports 3D cards to boot! The game runs very smoothly, much more so than its predecessor, on a fast computer – and acceptably on slower machines (believe me, I’ve seen it both ways). It is one of the coolest things to see a group of thrall blown to bloody bits by a dwarf, the body parts flying through the air!
That brings up another thing. When I said bloody, I mean bloody! The game is full of gore, bodies, and body parts. However, for the squeamish, the game (unlike Myth 1) has a no blood option. This replaces the blood with sparkles and body parts with stars. The stars may seem unimportant or unnecessary, but because one unit (ghols) can pick and throw body parts (a fairly important attack), it is very necessary (it is actually the reason the 1st game didn’t have the no blood option).
The game has excellent sound as well. The music is top notch, and you may actually want to get the soundtrack. While there is no in-game music, there are a lot of in-game sounds, all 3D sound if you’ve got the equipment. Bungie claims that, with a good set of speakers, you could play the game by sound!
In single play, the game is fun. It features an excellent story line and many cool and unique things in each level, like destructible walls, raising drawbridges, and powerful cannons and magic. It is also possible to record films for later viewing, an excellent feature. The single player game has 25 single player and two secret levels. Each of these is fun and different. One pits you against exploding deer that you must shoot with shotguns (added as a joke), the other has blowing massive piles of satchel charges (mines) and exploding wights!
While single player is fun, multi-player is where the game really shines. It has many original maps and and a ton of different game types, ranging from steal the bacon to territories to assassin (and about 10 others). These games can be played over TCP/IP, AppleTalk, or Bungie.net (Bungie’s free gaming service). The gaming community is relatively close knit and is generally a nice place. It keeps track of everyone’s stats (once you have played 8 games) and has a ranking system. It also has two newbie-only rooms plus unranked rooms. It is monitored by volunteer admins.
Bungie.net is currently a little unstable, but a 1.2 patch should be out soon. Until then the game remains, in my opinion, very upbeat in multi-player. There isn’t a much more satisfying feeling than blowing up your friend’s army with dwarfs while hacking up his archers.
The final thing the game includes are map and physics/units editors. These are very powerful tools and can edit almost anything. However, they are a little difficult to learn and require a tutorial for proper usage. They can edit anything from terrain type to gravity to unit strength. A Bungie employee was able to make dwarves shoot flaming chickens out of their butts in less than 20 minutes!
As you can tell Myth II: Soulblighter is a top, top notch game. It has excellent everything and only a few minor problems. I would award it 10 out of 10 stars, point, apples, whatever. Get this game!!
Drew plays Myth too much, and he admits it. He can hear a dwarf at twenty paces and tell you if he’s hostile.